The Old Crown Coaching Inn
HISTORY OF FARINGDON AND THE OLD CROWN COACHING INN
Faringdon has a history as a market town, and its market square has been a focal point for commerce and community activities for many centuries. One of the most iconic landmarks in Faringdon is the Folly Tower. Built in 1935 by Lord Berners, it stands 140 feet tall and offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The eccentric Lord Berners painted the tower in bright colors, making it a distinctive and unique structure. We can arrange exclusive private tours of the tower and organise a champagne reception. Find out more here. Faringdon played a role in the English Civil War (1642–1651). It was a Royalist stronghold, and the town endured a siege in 1646 before surrendering to the Parliamentarians. The Faringdon House, which was the Royalist headquarters, is still standing today. Oliver Cromwell himself stayed at The Old Crown Coaching Inn during the civil war. During the Wars of the Roses, the Crown Bar displayed a Red Rose in the windows, with the original windows still present in the bar. The history of Faringdon is fascinating with The Old Crown Coaching Inn playing a significant role in both civil wars.
Faringdon was situated on an important and ancient five-way road junction receiving traffic from all over the country. Hence the naming for London Street, Gloucester Street, Marlborough Street and Southampton Street. Faringdon’s position led to it becoming a thriving market for the sale of agricultural and animal produce. It was especially known for the sale of cheese and pigs. As a popular layover spot, The Old Crown Hotel became a very popular establishment for the gentry as a place to rest their head and horses on their travels through the country. Las Chicas, on the Market Place, was once part of the Crown Hotel and used by coachmen and stable lads whilst their masters took their refreshments at the Crown.
17th Century - Judge George Jeffreys "Hanging Judge"
Judge George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem, served as Lord Chief Justice of England from 1683 to 1685. He became notorious for his role in the trials following the Monmouth Rebellion (1685), where he presided over the "Bloody Assizes." Jeffreys handed down numerous death sentences, and many of the accused were executed by hanging.
There is a cobbled courtyard from which there is a fine example of an Elizabethan external stairway, called the Judge’s Staircase, one of only two such remaining in England. This gave access to Manorial Courts which sat in the
courtroom on the first floor. It is said that Judge Jeffreys held a court here after the Monmouth Rebellion, in 1685, when he hanged four or five local residents.
17TH CENTURY CIVIL WAR
During the 17th-century civil war between King Charles I and Parliament, Faringdon, near the Vale of the White Horse, held strategic importance at the crossing of main roads from London to Gloucester and a significant highway from south to north. With its inns and weekly market, Faringdon served as a stop for travelers and troops. After the inconclusive battle of Edgehill in 1642, when the King failed to regain London, Oxford became the Royalist headquarters. Faringdon, became an outpost in the defense of the Royalist capital. Faringdon has had many Civil War reenactments take place.
12c THE TALE OF THE MONKS
A stream in Cornmarket divided it into two tithings: Port to the east and Westbrook to the west. Tithes' profits went to Cistercian monks granted Faringdon Manor in 1203 by King John. Beaulieu Abbey-affiliated monk cell thrived until the 16th century. All Saints’ Church, built on a Saxon worship site, was central to their life and tunnel network. The tunnels extended to what is now The Old Crown Coaching Inn, where monks are rumoured to have discreetly entered the bar to enjoy drinks covertly and utilized certain rooms designated for ladies' services. Within Faringdon historical timeline, a sizable tunnel, likely not built by monks but accessible today through 7a Marketplace, features medieval shops and a well. It may connect to Swan Lane, with a suggested link to a 1960s-discovered tunnel behind the Old Police Station on Coach Lane, heading towards the church. The picture here is from within The Old Crown Coaching Inn which you can see in the snug area of our bar. Find out more here.
2021. Where our story began.
Having acquired The Old Crown Coaching Inn in December 2021, we embarked on an extensive project to revive the lost history of The Crown, which had suffered from underinvestment for many years. Each room underwent redevelopment, resulting in significant enhancements to the building's interior and exterior. The Crown has now been transformed into a sought-after venue, offering exceptional food and distinctive, charming hotel rooms. With a rich historical background, The Old Crown Coaching Inn has regained its status as a must-visit destination. Let's continue to make history.