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The Adam and Eve Inn Potton

Properties on the site of the Adam and Eve February 2013
Properties on the site of the Adam and Eve February 2013

The Adam & Eve Inn: 1-2 Market Place, Potton

Potton History Society compiled a list of old pubs in the town and their modern addresses [CRT130Potton27]. This list equates the Adam and Eve with the site of the later 1 and 2 Market Square (now demolished and replaced by modern houses pictured above).

The first surviving reference to the Adam and Eve is in 1623 when a house divided into two tenements changed ownership; this property was stated to be bounded on the north side by the Adam and Evah Inn of Lawrence Geery on the west by Horslow Street and on the east by the Market Place [X501/21]. This reference is puzzling because a property bounded on one side by the Market Place could not be bounded on the other by Horslow Street as things stand today, the answer, presumably, is that Chapel Street was then simply the southern part of Horslow Street.

The next reference to the Adam and Eve dates from 1735 and we learn that it was a copyhold premises, that is to say, it was part of the Manor of Potton Much Manured. People held copyhold properties from the manor and instead of conveying them to someone else had to surrender them to the Lord of the Manor at a manor court and the new owners then had to seek admission from that manor court or a subsequent one. This allowed the manor to claim a fee (or fine) for the privilege. In 1735 Elyanor, widow of Nicholas Apthorp of Potton surrendered the Adam and Eve to Richard Livett of Potton, woollen draper for a mortgage of £100. The inn was described as occupied by Thomas Underwood, Frances Rugeley and Nathaniel Woodward [AD345/2/2]

In 1849 the property transferred in 1635 was conveyed by Rachel Reynolds of Clifton, widow, John Guildford Reynolds of Clifton, gardener and George Reynolds, gardener to John Hitchcock of Paddington [Middlesex]. John Reynolds had taken out a mortgage for £200 in 1825 [X501/5] and, after several assignments and the death of the final mortgagee that mortgage and the property as security had become vested in Hitchcock. Reynolds had died in 1847 and the mortgage was still outstanding so his descendants had to transfer ownership of the property outright to Hitchcock. The property is described as abutting the former Adam and Eve, now a private house, in the occupation of Susan Livett to the north and the Sun public house to the south indicating that it stood on the site of 2 Sun Street [X501/9]. Thus the Adam and Eve must have closed its doors for the last time between 1735 and 1849.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The properties standing on the site [DV1/C11/90-91] were lock-up shops owned by John Richardson.

The southernmost shop, Number 1, was leased by boot and shoe repairer William Richardson for eight shillings per week, a rent set in August 1924. His shop measured 8 feet 6 inches by 16 feet 6 inches. The property was reckoned to be “very poor”. The other, Number 2, was tenanted by Arthur Theobalds who, Kelly’s Directory for 1928 tells us, was a saddler. His shop measured 16 feet by 17 feet for which he paid £10 per annum. Again, it was a poor property.

References:

  • X501/22: abuttal in a deed: 1623;
  • AD345/2/2: surrender: 1735;
  • X501/9: conveyance: 1849.

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1623: Lawrence Geery;
1735: Thomas Underwood, Frances Rugeley and Nathaniel Woodward