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The Kings Head Public House Potton

The Kings Head [also the George III]: 4 Bull Street, Potton

4 Bull Street March 2007
4 Bull Street March 2007

The first reference to this public house is in 1682 when William Woodley, a Potton butcher sold it to Potton maltster John Pedley for £95 [M15/17]. The Pedley family also owned the Cock, Kings Arms, Maidenhead (later Queens Head) and White Lyon in the town. In 1696 the King’s Head formed part of a marriage settlement when John Pedley’s younger son George married Helen Smith of Connington [Cambridgeshire]. George made his will in 1720, dying in the same year, he devised the King’s Head as well as the Maidenhead to his son John [WG88].

John Pedley mortgaged the King’s Head to George Rugeley of Potton in 1756 for £100 [WG89] and four years later the two men conveyed the inn to Frances Stonebridge, the licensee [WG90-91]. This deed describes John Pedley as a surgeon, so evidently he had decided to get out of the brewing business. In 1781 Frances Stonebridge conveyed the King’s Head to Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire] brewer William Fowler for £180 [WG94-95].

Fowler's business was bought by another Saint Neots brewery firm, that of John Day in 1814. In 1840 the brewery sold off fifty public houses, four beer shops and a farm - one of the public houses was the King’s Head, then described as containing a bar, a parlour, a kitchen, a cellar, a front shop, a store room and five bedrooms with a detached slaughter house with lofts over, stabling for sixteen horses with lofts over, a yard, a well and a right of cart way "as at present enjoyed". Annotations on the sale particulars reveal it was purchased by a Mr. W. Smith for £714 [WG2526]. Some early directories list the pub as the George III.

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the public house was owned by Joseph Phillips, a brewer from Royston [Hertfordshire] and the register of 1891 gives the same owner. In 1879 the licensee, George Lunniss, was convicted for opening on Sunday 12th October and was fined £1 with 8/6 costs. He did not lose his licence. In 1889 Alfred Few was fined £2 and 8/6 costs for allowing liquor to be consumed on the premises during prohibited hours on 13th December. He seems to have left the pub soon after.

The countywide register of 1903 gives the owner as Phillips and Company and states that the house was in good repair. It was adjacent to another licensed premises (the Green Man) and had one front and two side doors. It was about this time that the public house closed its doors for the last time. The renewal of the licence was refused on 3rd February 1904 on the grounds that it "had been shut up for some time and was not required"[HF143/6]. The property later became a shop and today [2013] is a private house.


  • M15/17: conveyance: 1682;
  • WG86: marriage settlement: 1696;
  • WG87: recited mortgage: 1698;
  • WG87: assignment of mortgage: 1701;
  • WG88: probate of will of George Pedly: 1720;
  • WG89: mortgage: 1756;
  • WG90-93: conveyance: 1760;
  • WG94-95: conveyance: 1781;
  • LS37: conveyance of William Fowler’s properties and his sons: 1800;
  • WG331-333: conveyance to John Day: 1814;
  • CLP13: register of alehouse licenses: 1822-1828;
  • P64/5/3/323: bill for beer for the ringers: 1839;
  • WG2526: sale particulars of licensed premises of Saint Neots Brewery: 1840;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914.

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

1682: William Woodley;
1696: Amos Walker;
1756-1795: Frances Stonebridge, widow;
1803: Robert Fowler;
1814-1823: William Savage;
1824: Joseph Emery;
1825-1826: John Kidman;
1827: Thomas Frost;
1828: William Taylor;
1839: Thomas Tear;
1840-1847: John Keeling (George III);
1850-1861: William Rose (also cooper and brewer);
1864-1869: Edmund Dear
1872: Edith Shearman;
1872-1884: George Lunniss;
1884: Thomas Warrell;
1884-1889: Charles Meacock;
1889: Alfred Few;
1890: Henry John Wills;
1894: Fred Cudmore;
1898: Robert Barnes;
1900: Frederick Sambrook;
1901-1902: Rebecca Barringer;
1902-1903: George Pearson
Public House closed c.1903.