Stanstead Abbotts Local History Society
Red Lion [No. 1 High Street]
This Inn occupies a very old building with earliest references dating to 1538 and 1681. It was registered as an Alehouse until gaining a full license in 1943. Present building thought to date from the early 1600’s but license for the Red Lion probably traceable to 1538. Thomas Graves is vaguely mentioned in 1578 and may possibly have been the license holder of the Red Lion at that time. John Giver was shown as the licensee of what was recorded as a wine tavern in 1633, which by inference is thought to have been the Red Lion. The first certain licensee for the Red lion is found with Robert Bewley who was issuing tokens from the Red Lion in 1681. The Victuallers Billeting returns for 1756 records stabling for twenty horses at the Red Lion. Later licensees include: 1882 Thomas Abbott, 1886 Edward Hitchcox, 1890/91/94/95 Charles Newton [gone by 1899], 1912 Charles Harper, 1922 Thomas Bear, 1937 Alfred Thorn and 1949 Mr Waller.
The Red Lion went out of its way to attract the business of those who arrived by train as London tourists in the period 1880 to 1914. Advertisements suggested the Red Lion was at St. Margarets, done to allow those unfamiliar with local geography to relate the Inn to the nearest railway station. A range of facilities including leisure gardens, outside quoits pitch a menagerie and boating on the millstream were all developed on the land to the rear of the premises. These facilities were supplemented by two restaurants in the main building all designed to attract the large number of visitors that came to the village from London on summer weekends. In the late C19th the Red Lion was tied to Hawkes and Co of Bishops Stortford which was sold to Benskins in 1898. The Red Lion was then rebranded as a Benskins house before having Ind Coope livery in about 1972.
Pied Bull [No. 2 High Street]
The Pied Bull in 1926
Once known as the Bull the building was constructed in the first half of the C19th and became along with the Red Lion opposite the most prestigious public houses in the village. It had been built with stabling and a wooden barn which were upgraded in the 1920’s to accommodate the age of the motor vehicle.
Licensees recorded in the years noted : 1855 T Phillips, 1882 through to 1895 Joseph Lyndsell, 1912 H Lyndsell, 1926 Mrs Ada O’Neill, 1933/37 George Kitteringham. And 1949 Mrs Kitteringham.
The Pied Bull closed just before Christmas 1976; the last landlord Mr Boyce closed the doors for the last time for Ind Coope. The Ind Coope company had acquired Benskins in 1957 but did not rebrand its former Benskins houses until 1972. The brewers were very quick off the mark as by January 6th and 7th the property was boarded up and much of the pub related woodwork was being stripped out. It was immediately placed on the market as a non licensed premises sale and was later converted into two residences.
Lord Louis [No. 36 High Street]
Earliest reference as “The Oak” is when first licensed in 1839. It is now a Fullers house having been tied to Ind Coope and Christies brewers in the past. Recorded licensees of The Oak include 1890/91 Frederick Green [beer retailer], 1937 Mrs Irene Griffen and 1949 Mr Baker. The Oak appears to have been very much a village local during its existence
The Oak closed in January 1962 and became the “Coach House Restaurant”. The premises were relicensed as the Lord Louis in honour of Earl Mountbatten who had been killed in 1979 just previous to the reopening. In 2012 the Lord Louis re adjusted its offering emphasising the Thai restaurant aspect of its business. This reflects the growing need for pubs to make their profits from a good food offering as changing social habits restrict the economic viability of public houses.
Rose and Crown [No. 86 High Street]
The Rose and Crown was owned by the Hankin family and associated in its early days with the maltings that were built behind it alongside the river downstream of the river bridge as well as the barge traffic. Between the pub and the river were two cottages associated with the licensed property. Outside of these cottages was the toll booth which collected tolls from those crossing the river bridge until 1886 when the last toll was collected. Its rather limited buildings meant that it could not make the most of the leisure and tourism market that developed in the late Victorian period. It continued to serve as a village pub as its traditional role serving the bargees and malting workers faded away.
About 1900 photographs show it was offering beers brewed by Pryor and Reid and Co. Ltd. of Hatfield. This firm operated from 1880 to March 1920 after which the Rose and Crown with other pubs were bought up later that same year by Benskins of Watford
Known licensees are 1882-
The Rose and Crown was closed in 1964 and the pub buildings were subsequently demolished and replaced by a row of houses.