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The Red Lion Inn Hockliffe

Hockliffe House February 2013
Hockliffe House February 2013

The building which became the Red Lion began life as the Hospital of Saint John Baptist..After the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII ownership of the Hospital devolved to the King, becoming part of the Honour of Ampthill. In 1545 it was sold to George Acworth and Edward Butler, following which it changed hands several times. In 1600 the site of the late Hospital of Saint John the Baptist was settled on Thomas Impey of Hockliffe and Mary Maydwell of Geddington [Northamptonshire] a the time of their marriage, together with land and property pertaining to the property in Hockliffe, Battlesden, Tebworth and Tilsworth.[CH229] In 1635 it was again used for a marriage settlement, this time between Thomas Impey's second son Samuel and Alice Kilpin of North Crawley [Buckinghamshire] [CH231]. In 1652 Samuel Impey leased the premises for 99 years to Godfrey Impey of Battlesden, Robert Frankline of Harrold, and Richard Kilpin of North Crawley; in this deed the property was referred to as a "Capitall Mesuage latelie called St John's Hospitall and nowe called the Red Lion" [CH233].


The premises continued in use as an inn until the early nineteenth century. In 1804 the Red Lion Inn appears as one of three lots on a bill of sale by auction, along with the manor and parish of Tilsworth and the Blackbird Public House at Hockliffe [AD534/4]. It was described as: "The Red Lyon Inn, consisting of a large Brick, and in Part Brick Pannel and Tiled Messuage, containing Three Parlors, Two Kitchens, Brewhouse, Dairy, Malt Chamber, Pantry and Cellars, 12 Bed Chambers and Two Garretts, Two Three-bay Barns (Timber Weather boarded and Thatched), Two Stables with Hay Loft (Brick Pannel and Tiled), Two Ditto (Part Brick Pannel, Part Timber and Weather boarded and Thatched), Coal House, Piggery, etc. Yard, Garden, Orchard, etc. well supplied with water".


The inn, together with 48 acres and 3 perches of land, was sold for £3,517 10s. In 1806 the inn was resold to brewer Edward Burr, who had been the tenant in 1804, before being sold with a total of 58 acres in Hockliffe, Tilsworth and Chalgrave to James Welch. The greater part of the inn was subsequently demolished by Welch and replaced by a red-brick Georgian house bearing the date 1818; this retained some of the original walls and foundations and reused many original materials. The name was changed to Hockliffe House.



  • CH229-234: Deeds relating to former Hospital of St. John at Hockliffe, 1600-1654;
  • AD534/4: Sale particulars for Tilsworth Manor, Red Lion, Bull and Blackbird, 1804;
  • 130 Hoc (Pamphlet): Wellsprings at Hockliffe House: Historic Site of 1000 Years of Hospitality