The Fox Inn circa 1640 - High Street History

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This old timber building along with No.8 was known as “The Fox Inn” for the whole of the 19th century up until 1914 when it ceased as a public house. At that time it formed part of an endowment of the Newport Charity and Newport Free School (now known as Alcester Grammar School), having previously belonged to the Reynolds Charity. The latter charity was founded in 1670 by John Reynolds, a mercer, to help poor boys gain apprenticeships. The similarity between the French for Fox “Renard” {raynar} and Reynolds is striking and tokens of the 17th century, some in Warwick Record Office show the Reynolds tokens with a fox as a symbol. Papers concerning the Reynolds Charity and supposedly referring to the building charts its history up until 1784. It was said, in 1670 that the building was found to be “very ancient” and in bad repair, “the greatest part needing to be taken down and rebuilt”.

Detailed records of some of the previous tenants who at one time lived and traded from The Fox Inn survive to this day and give a fascinating insight to a long and colourful past.

  • 1670 – 1747 – Richard Jennings a Glover by trade
  • 1747 – 1755 – William Gibbs followed by Joseph Nicholls, both Bakers by trade
  • 1755 - 1785 – Thomas Millward, also a Baker by trade. The original conveyances for the building always mentions a bakehouse within the boundaries.
  • 1811 - 1829 – “The Fox Inn” hosted by W. Edwards, previous occupation unknown
  • 1829 – 1841 – W. Penn a Baker by trade
  • 1841 – 1845 – Charles Brotherton, previous occupation unknown
  • 1845 – 1851 – F.E. Bonham, a Colt Breaker by trade
  • 1851 – 1861 – Thomas Hutton, previous occupation unknown
  • 1861 – 1884 – Richard Fourt. The Fourt family were a well known family of victuallers and bakers who also owned “The Bakers Arms” in Henley Street. Reference is made in the “Alcester Local Times” of 1864 to the setting up of a Mechanics Institute and Reading Room within “The Fox”, providing scientific lectures for working men. Whether this actually came to fruition or was simply a good excuse for local men folk to justify a visit to the premises it is unsure. Unfortunately for Richard, despite his good intentions and family credentials, in 1884 he was evicted due to “pecuniary difficulties”.   (pecuniary = financial)
  • 1884 – 1891 – Elizabeth Freeman held the victuallers license until she was also given notice to quit for “conducting herself in an improper and immoral manner”.
  • 1891 -1914  - Henry Dowdeswell & Mr Fourt. Henry was a leading light of the Alcester Cricket Club and related to the Dowdeswells who hosted the “Rose and Crown” on Evesham Street (now a private house) and owned the needle works in Bleachfield Street. The last recorded licensee, Mr Fourt kept pigs in a pigsty adjoining the Gas Works at the rear, for which he received a number of complaints about “the leakage of liquid manure”.
  • 1914 - After the Inn ceased trading it became predominately a private house with retail area to the front although between the First and Second World Wars a Ms Patricia Currier ran a school on the premises.

Despite its numerous occupants and the ravages of time, “The Fox Inn” at No.10 has retained many of its original features from the Restoration period and earlier and remains one of the many historic gems to be found in and around the charming market town of Alcester.

Please look at the attached Light Box Gallery to see some photo's of our Floorboard finds which include amongst numerous others George II and George III coins, Tudor/Elizabethan lead drinking tokens, Jacobean brass fretwork button and glass button and pristine copies of a boys magazine from 1901. During our time as custodians of this charming and interesting property we have unearthed a plethora of treasures, from Georgian supping tea cups, to Tudor/Elizabethan potware, to delicate character clay smoking pipes with the thinnest of stems. The most poignant find to date has been a childs hobnail shoe.

March 2017


    If you contact The Fox Inn circa 1640 - High Street History please tell them you found them using alcester.co.uk.

    Contact Name:Ms C. Gray / Mr Darren Gough
    Address:10, High Street Alcester
    B49 5AD

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    Last edited at 14/03/2017 21:58:29
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