The West Side Coaching Inns

For reasons which are not obvious, the major inns in Stony Stratford established on the east side of the High Street. Perhaps the limited land space for pasture was a consideration. See this post.

On the west side, various hostelries grew up over the years. There was one at the very northern entrance to Stony Stratford, more-or-less on or close to the site of the later Barley Mow. It appears in a document dated 1317 as Grik’s Herber (The Greek’s Auberge or hostelry). There is also some documentary evidence which suggests a medieval inn close by St Giles church, most probably where the White Horse now stands. It was called The Key, or perhaps as Sir Frank Markham suggested, St Peter’s Keys. The other obvious medieval establishment is the building which was known as the Cross Keys in the 19th century. It has long since ceased to be an inn but the central entrance to the yard is indicative of its former use.

The site of Grik’s Herber, looking toward the Barley Mow.
The White Horse

In 1577, we know that there were five innkeepers holding licences. Unfortunately we have no inn names to guide us, but the locations may have been (using later known names) The White Horse, The Talbot, The Cross Keys, The Rising Sun and possibly the Barley Mow. These earlier names have been lost to history but there is some evidence to suggest that the 16th and 17th century inn occupying the site that as later called the Rising Sun, was the Golden Lion. The Talbot occupied the buildings now known as 81-83 High Street.

The Cross Key

The George was identified as three cottages in 1609 but it was converted or rebuilt as an inn shortly after that date. It is still there, and although it served as a coffee shop for much of the 2oth century, it is once more a pub with accommodation for travellers. Its age is very apparent from its low foundations which now lie some steps below the level the High Street.

The George, and early 17th century inn

The present White Horse was built in 1775. Up to a few years before that there was a White Horse on the East side, so although there has probably been an inn on that site since medieval times, its former name or names have been lost.

There were smaller inns or more likely alehouses on the wet side in the 18th century. The Angel, at 11 High Street, first appeared in 1770 and curiously the same name was used at the other start up in 1772 at the north end, later known as the Barley Mow.

The Angel at 11 High St.

The Barley Mow, formerly the Angel

The Rising Sun and The Talbot, already mentioned, appear from the middle of the 18th century, but may well have replaced inns with earlier, different names.

The Talbot was an inn here in the 18th century

The Rising Sun built in the 18th century on a site formerly occupied by the Golden Lion

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