Thursday, 28 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
This inn seems to have been built by the lord of the manor of Alton Eastbrook, Hyde Abbey, in the early 1500s. It was named the Pelican, probably because the symbol of the then Bishop of Winchester, Bishop Fox, was a pelican.
At the Dissolution, the manor came into the hands of the crown and so the inn, very wisely, changed its name to the Crown.
As the premises were built on a corner, there was not much room and they were always leased together with Crown Close – later the site of the Assembly Rooms, Curtis Museum and hospital.
At the Restoration, the new innholder was Jonathan Sly and he was assessed for 7 hearths - the smallest number for Alton’s inns. When Jonathan died, his wife, Joan, took over. She was a member of the Gates family, many of whom were leading Quakers, and was excommunicated and sent to Winchester Prison for about three weeks.
One benefit of the position of the Crown was that Crown Close was used for the Alton Eastbrook fair which, until the mid-1700s, took place on St Lawrence’s Day (10 August). This must have brought a lot of trade to the inn. The date of the fair was changed to Michaelmas to avoid harvest time.
During the French Wars, an outhouse at the Crown was used for French prisoners who were being escorted through the town. On one occasion, there was a breakout but they were captured and continued on their way.
Like the George and Swan, the Crown was acquired by the Hawkins family and then sold to Henry Hall. Together with the Swan, it was sold in 1903 to Courage & Co. Over the years there have been alterations and improvements but the carved beams put up in the early 1500s can still be seen in one of the main rooms.