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The Sun Public House Potton

The Sun Public House [also the Rising Sun]: 4 Sun Street, Potton

The former Sun March 2007
The former Sun March 2007

At the Winter Assizes of 1668 Andrew Rayment was presented for having a common ale house in Potton, contrary to statute [HSA1668W]. This was probably the Sun. In his will of 1685 Rayment left the “messuage or inn wherein I now dwell to my wife Jane” and, after her death, to their son Andrew. The will was proved in 1686 [ABP/W1686/11].

In 1689 Jane leased the inn to her son Andrew for ninety nine years at £5 per annum [PE410]. It was described as being bounded by ground late of Robert Hall to the north, a house and ground of Richard Lee to the south, the King’s Highway leading to the Market Place to the east and ground of Edward Thompson to the west. The position on the west side of a road leading to the Market Place would certainly suit the Sun.

In 1703 John Raymont [i.e. Rayment] of London, tailor, sold a cottage formerly occupied by his mother to Stephen Raymont of Potton, maltster for £20/10/9 [PE413]. This seems to have been the cottage which adjoins the former Sun Inn to the south. In 1704 Stephen Raymont sold the cottage to John Keelinge the younger of Potton, fellmonger. The back of this deed refers to the cottage as “the Hows next Mr. Lees on the South and next the Sun Inn on the North” [PE414]. In 1717 we have the first unequivocal reference to the ownership of the Sun Inn - John Raymont of Potton, fellmonger, conveyed the Sun Inn, in the occupation of Nathaniel Atterton, to Stephen Raymont of Gamlingay [Cambridgeshire], maltster for £160 [PE415].

The Northampton Mercury 12th August 1751 had the following notice:

To be Lett,
And Enter’d on at Michaelmas-Day next
THE SUNN INN in Potton, in Bedfordshire;
With good Stabling, and six Acres of Heath-Field land.
Enquire of William Pedly, of Great Barford, Bedfordshire

In 1783 the Land Tax records that John Dennis paid ten shillings for the Sun [HA14/5/2]. In 1793 the Sun was sold by Dennis to Biggleswade brewer Samuel Wells [CRT130Potton22]. It is confusing to note that Pigot’s Directory of 1839 refers to the Sun as the Rising Sun. A beerhouse called the Rising Sun was first licensed in 1836 and perhaps this occasioned the mistake; the licensee is Joseph Keeling who was licensee of the sun for around half a century.

The Sun remained in Wells and Company ownership from 1793 until the firm’s sale to Kent businessman George Winch for his son Edward Bluett Winch in 1899. The firm was then renamed Wells and Winch. The sale particulars for the company of 1898 [GK1/36] describe the Sun thus: “A large fronted stuccoed and tiled House, containing Bar, Parlour, Tap Room, large Club Room, Sitting Room, Kitchen; large Cellar, eight Bed Rooms; Garden; also spacious Yard, containing Shed, ranges of Outbuildings. In the occupation of Mr. S. Keeling, Rent Free. A Cottage, let to Mrs. Lee at £5 per annum”. The latter must be 6 Sun Street.

The countywide licensing register of 1903 stated that the Sun was in good repair. It was 25 yards from the nearest licensed premises and had one front and one back door. The old pub closed for the last time on 21st December 1907 and became a private house. A contract of 1908 shows that it was sold to Richard Tear, the last licensee [GK52/4]


  • HSA1668W: Andrew Rayment presented: 1668;
  • ABPR1686/11: Will of Andrew Rayment: 1685, proved 1686;
  • PE410: lease: 1689;
  • PE413: conveyance of adjoining cottage: 1703;
  • PE414: conveyance of adjoining cottage: 1704;
  • PE415: conveyance: 1717;
  • Northamptonshire Mercury, notice to let public house: 1751;
  • HA14/5/2: Land Tax return: 1783;
  • X202/147: Bedfordshire Volunteer Corps mess dinner at Sun: c.1800;
  • CLP13: Register of Alehouse Licenses: 1822-1828;
  • GK0/1: conveyance of brewery: 1834;
  • X501/9: conveyance of cottage immediately north of Sun public house: 1849;
  • Z771/9/1: brief account of a small fire at public house: 1868;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • GK164/16: yard noted in deed as adjoining Two Brewers: 1894;
  • GK1/36: Wells & Company sale catalogue: 1898;
  • Z1039/34/2a and GK52/3: conveyance of Wells and Company to Wells & Winch: 1899;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • GK52/3: conveyance from Wells and Company trustees to Wells and Winch: 1907; GK52/4: contract for sale: 1908;
  • X758/1/8/87-92: photographs of former Sun in a derelict state: 1977/8

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

1668-1686; Andrew Rayment
1689; Andrew Rayment and Francis Cotton;
1717: Nathaniel Atterton;
1785: John Dennis;
1822-1830: John Keeling;
1839-1889: Joseph Keeling (also farmer);
1889-1899: Susan Keeling;
1899-1907: Richard Tear
Public house closed 21st December 1907.