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The Cross Keys Inn Humbershoe

The Grange Markyate January 2010
4 to 8a High Street Markyate January 2010

The Cross Keys Inn: 4, 8 and 8a High Street, Markyate

This building, now divided into three, lay in the parish of Studham until 1866 when the new Bedfordshire civil parish of Humbershoe was formed for those properties north of Buckwood Road and west of Markyate High Street from the junction with Buckwood Road north. The Cross Keys Inn is not mentioned on the countywide licensing register for 1822-1828 showing that it must have closed by that date.

Markyate Local History Society in their 1999 copy of Markyate's Past devoted to Humbershoe state: "Miss Morrison bought the Grange and other properties in the late 1840s and died in December 1878. The properties and land were sold by auction in July 1880. The auction catalogue mentions that there is "an old rent charge of £6 per annum, … which represents THE OLD CROSS KEYS". This charge is one of  the Coppin's Charities which was funded by rent of the Cross Keys. Obviously the house was at some time an inn called the Cross Keys. The following Monumental Inscription on the wall of CaddingtonChurch gives further details of the charity".

"Martha Coppin of Markyate Cell, Widow, deceased, gave by her will Oct the 4th 1684 to the Parson, Vicar or Curate & to the Church Wardens of the Parish of Caddington in the county of Hertford and Bedford and to their Successors & assigns for ever to see disposed of, to and for the use of six poor Housekeepers that frequent God's Ordinances and divine Service at the said parish Church of Caddington, one Annuity or Rent Charge of six pounds per Annum to buy them Cloaths [sic], share and share alike, the said Martha Coppin settled a House and Lands belonging lying and being in Market Street in the parish of Studham in the County of Bedford now the Cross Keys, and what Rent or profits shall be made or arise hereafter Yearly and every Year from the said House and Lands belonging more than six pounds per Annum to be preserved and kept by John Coppin and his Heirs for ever to keep the same House and Premises in repair. Done in the year 1763, by the order of William Blow and John Day, Churchwardens". This inscription thus shows us that the Cross Keys was not in existence in 1684 but was in 1763.

The Grange was listed by the former Department of Environment in March 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The department noted that the structure had an early 18th century front to what is probably an older building and thus we can be sure that some, or all of the current house was once an inn. Perhaps the front was changed when the structure became an inn, but it is equally possible that it was changed during the lifetime of the inn, as it was with the Sun Inn at 64 High Street.