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The Knotting Fox Inn

Knotting Fox Farm in 1922 [Z1246/1]
Knotting Fox Farm in 1922 [Z1246/1]

Knotting Fox farmhouse was listed by English Heritage in August 1987 as Grade II, of special interest. The former inn dates from the 18th century and is constructed of coursed limestone rubble, with a machine tile roof and red brick gable end stacks. It comprises two storeys and attics and has a symmetrical front elevation. There is a 19th century rear wing in red brick making the building into a T-shape. This extension comprises one storey and attics. There is a further modern extension at right angles, parallel to the front block.

The Knotting Fox was part of the Manor of Knotting. The earliest reference to the Inn is the map of Bedfordshire by Thomas Jefferys of 1765 which has it marked. In 1767 the Manors of Knotting and Souldrop were mortgaged and amongst specific manorial properties listed is the Fox Inn [AD1931]. A will of Joseph Hall of Knotting Fox is extant, but does not devise the property.

The Knotting Fox is shown on maps of 1801 [MC2/4], 1804 [MC2/24], 1813 [MC2/25] and 1826 [MC2/17], though the Fox had evidently ceased to be an inn by 1822 as it is not listed in the countywide licensing register [CLP13]. The tithe apportionment map of Knotting of 1838 shows the Fox [MAT28] and the schedule [AT28] states that the owner was the Duke of Bedford (Lord of the Manor of Knotting) and the tenant Richard Thorpe. It was now mostly or solely a farm, with 109 acres and a homestead.

The countywide licensing register of 1876 has an entry for this inn but gives no details, the obvious conclusion being that it was still licensed but was not trading. It may also suggest that the inn led quite a sporadic existence, trading for a few years, then closing. In 1882 the Knotting Estate was conveyed by the Duke of Bedford and his trustees to Charles Magniac of Sharnbrook [X547/24]. Knotting Fox Farm is listed in the conveyance but not the inn.