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The Black Bull Inn Hockliffe

There have been three inns known as the Bull in the vicinity of Hockliffe. It is likely that the popularity of the name reflects the importance of Watling Street as a cattle drove road and of stock rearing to the village economy. The most significant of the three was the Bull Inn which belonged to the Hockliffe Manor estate; the second Bull Inn was in Tilsworth parish until boundary changes moved it to Hockliffe in 1984.

This third Bull Inn, also referred to as the Black Bull, was situated in the area on the east side of Watling Street originally part of Chalgrave parish which was transferred to Hockliffe in 1929. It is known to have been in existence in the 18th century and was sold in 1797/8 following the bankruptcy of William Palin, "innholder, dealer and chapman" who had become indebted to a London wine and brandy merchants for over £100 [X268/43]. The Bull appears to be the property shown on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map as Old Farm. The 1797 enclosure map for Chalgrave [MA30/1] shows Old Farm as owned by John Perry, or Perrey, of Banbury, the vendor of the Bull. It seems that Perry had difficulty ejecting William Palin, as a letter from Joseph Pawsey of Silsoe written on 28 January 1798 offers advice on the best way of getting rid of Palin from the Bull Inn. He also writes that Trinity Hall, Cambridge, which had been allotted adjoining land in lieu of tithes under the Chalgrave enclosure award, was prepared to buy the Bull Inn and lands for £800 [X268/26]. Another letter, from David Willis of Leighton Buzzard in November 1798, describes Palin as "the most deceitful and greatest of villains" [X268/42d]. A draft conveyance mentions land on part of which a parlour had been built, part of the Black Bull Inn [X268/43].


  • PL/AC2/25: Hockliffe Parish Survey (Historic Landscape and Archaeology) draft report, Stephen Coleman, 1982;
  • X268/1-44: Correspondence relating to sale of Bull (or Black Bull) Inn, 1797/8