|Like most towns on the major coaching routes of Britain, Old Stratford has more than its share of inns along Watling Street. Of these, The Black Horse is one of those which has now disappeared, but which at the time of writing is still remembered by older residents. We have collected newspaper reports here which appear chronologically to tell the Balck Horse's story, but towards the end of the page there is a piece constructed from personal research by Phil Lamb.|
|Victoria County History Northamptonshire
At the western end of the village, on the Passenham side of Watling Street, a building stood in the early 17th century on the site later occupied by the Black Horse inn, which in 1871 was said to have been licensed for over fifty years. The pub lost its licensed in 1920 and two years later the owners, Phipps of Northampton, sold the building, which was subsequently demolished.
The Northampton Mercury 28 January 1826
An Old-established and good-accustomed
THE above-mentioned PREMISES, with a Paddock, Yard, large Gardens, and Two Tenements adjoining,
To be SOLD by AUCTION,
The Day and Place of Sale, with other Particulars, will appear in next Week’s Paper.
The Northampton Mercury 4 February 1826
ALL Persons having any claim or Demand upon the Estate or Effects of ANN TRUSS, of OLD STRATFORD, in the County of Northampton, Victualler, are requested to transmit the Particulars thereof to Mr. W. Wilkinson, Maltster, of Stony Stratford, in the County of Buckingham, or to Mr. Willison, Victualler, of Old Stratford, in the County of Northampton, within fourteen Days from the Date thereof, in order that the same may be examined and discharged. And all Persons indebted to the said Estate are requested to pay the Amount of their respective Debts to Mr. Wilkinson of Stony Stratford, or Mr. Willison, of Old Stratford, within the aforesaid Time. 2d February, 1826.
The Northampton Mercury August 27th 1836
OLD STRATFORD, Northamptonshire.
On the Premises, on Wednesday, 7th September, 1836, at Four o’clock in the afternoon (subject to such Conditions as will be then produced), with immediate Possession, if required.
By Order of the Proprietor, who is retiring from the Business,
The Northampton Mercury July 2nd 1838
On the Premises, on Wednesday, 13th day of June 1838, at Four o’clock in the afternoon (subject to such Conditions as will be then produced), with immediate Possession, if required, by order of the proprietor, who is retiring from the Business;
The Northampton Mercury August 11th 1838
TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION
At the Old Black Horse Public House, Old Stratford, in the County of Northampton, on Tuesday the 21st day of August, 1838, at Four o’clock in the Afternoon, subject to such conditions as will be then produced.
The Northampton Mercury September 15th 1838
ALL Persons having any Claim or Demand upon or against JONATHAN TRUSS, of Old Stratford, in the County of Northampton, are requested to send an account thereof to me on or before the 29th day of September instant, it being intended, immediately after that time, to apply the Monies arising from the Sale of his real and personal Estate and Effects in discharge of his debts.
The Northampton Mercury April 30th 1853
STONY STRATFORD PETTY SESSIONS
The Northampton Mercury October 27th 1860
TO BE LET
THE OLD BLACK HORSE INN, at OLD STRATFORD, Northamptonshire,
The Northampton Mercury December 21st 1861
PIGEON SHOOTING. TO BE SHOT FOR, at the BLACK HORSE INN, OLD STRATFORD, on Wednesday, January 1st., 1862, at 11 o'clock, by 30 Members, at 5s. Each, a FAT PIG weight 13 score. Single Guns limited 1½oz. shot, 21 yards rise; Double Guns 1¼oz. shot 19 yards rise, 70 yards boundary. The Gun to be held below the elbow till the Bird is on the wing. The Owner of the Pig to spend 10s., and the Winner to spend 10s. No Bye-shooting allowed.
The Northampton Mercury November 28th 1863
PETTY SESSIONS. November 20th. Old Stratford. John Smith, of the Black Horse Inn, Old Stratford, was summoned for having certain unjust measures in his possession. Convicted in penalty and costs, £2 7s. 6d.
The Northampton Mercury November 6th 1869
ACCIDENT. As Mr. Hewitt, representative of Messrs. Phillips Bros. Brewers, of Northampton, at Stony Stratford, was returning home from Towcester market, and when near to Potterspury, one of the wheels of the vehicle came off, which so frightened the horse that immediately started off at full speed, throwing Mr. Sanders, of the Black Horse Inn, Old Stratford, who was riding with Mr. Hewitt, out into the road. Mr. Hewitt succeeded in gaining control over the animal, and was in the act of getting out of the trap, when it started off, and a projecting part of the vehicle caught him in the ribs, and threw him with considerable force to the ground. The horse continued his career, passing several conveyances on the road without damage, through the toll-gate at Old Stratford where it appears to have slackened speed, but gain impetus in coming down the hill, as it came through the street at a tremendous pace, and turned direct into the Bull Inn yard without injuring any one. Both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Hewitt, with the exception of several bruises and a violent shaking, were not hurt. The horse's legs were very much cut, and the vehicle considerably damaged.
The Northampton Mercury October 15th 1870
STONY STRATFORD PETTY SESSIONS, Oct 7th. Joseph Sanders, of the Black Horse Inn, Old Stratford, was charged with having his house open for the sale of beer before half-past twelve o'clock on Sunday afternoon, the 18th September last. Mr. Whitton, of Towcester, appeared for the defendant. Fine £3, costs 11s.
The Northampton Mercury April 12th 1884
STONY STRATFORD PETTY SESSIONS, APRIL 4. Before E. H. Watts, Esq. (in the chair), the Duke of Grafton, and S. R. Harrison, Esq., Thomas Smith, of Potterspury, was charged with assaulting Phoebe Sanders, at Old Stratford, on the 22nd of March. Complainant's husband keeps the Black Horse Inn, Old Stratford. On the 22nd ult., defendant entered the house, and wanted to toss for a quart of beer. She remonstrated with him, whereupon he beat her with the poker. Fined £1 11s 6d.
The Northampton Mercury August 3rd 1900
QUOITS MATCH Mr. Bull's team (Black Horse) Old Stratford v. Mr. Tilley's team (Prince of Wales) Stony Stratford.
The Northampton Mercury September 9th 1900
QUOITS. On Saturday last, match was played the Black Horse Inn, Old Stratford, between Mr. G. Beard's team (Locomotive Inn, Old Wolverton) and Mr. F. Bull’s team, resulting in a win for the latter by 107 points to 88. After the match, which proved a most exciting one, a most convivial evening was spent on the premises, and most excellent songs were given by the members and friends of both teams.
The Northampton Mercury March 12th 1920
TOWCESTER LICENSING SESSIONS
OLD BLACK HORSE, OLD STRATFORD.
The Northampton Mercury May 14th 1920
OLD BLACK HORSE, OLD STRATFORD.
The Northampton Mercury July 16th 1920
OLD BLACK HORSE, OLD STRATFORD.
The Northampton Mercury February 11th 1921
“the Old Black Horse full licence at Old Stratford not having been renewed.”
The Wolverton Express December 8th 1961
When Old Stratford had three pubs.
Mr George Edward Brown of 52 High Street Potterspury, who recalls the time when Old Stratford had three public houses, retires on Friday from the Wolverton Carriage and Wagon Works after 36 years’ service. The Public Houses at Old Stratford were The Falcon; The Black Horse, of which his father was licensee until its closure, and the remaining house The Swan. Mr Brown’s father was the licensee at The Black Horse, and lived in the house after it was closed. It was demolished when the A5 road was reconstructed. A fitter driver in the road vehicle shop, Mr Brown served with the 1st Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment as a regular soldier beginning in 1912. From then until the end of the 1914-1918 war, he saw service in France, Italy, Egypt, Syria and Palestine. During the 1945-1948 he was head warden in ARP for the Potterspury district. For 17 ½ years, Mr Brown was the secretary of the Potterspury and district branch of the British Legion and in 1951 was presented with a clock for 13 years service in that position.
About the Black Horse
by Phil Lamb
In about 1990 I became interested in family history and one name that intrigued me. Truss, led me to the southern corner of Northamptonshire. At that time I had never heard of either Deanshanger. Passenham or Old Stratford.
My grandmother’s father was Joseph Truss who came from Deanshanger to Wolverhampton in about 1856 About this same time his brother Henry moved there also. The father of these two and four other siblings, was Edward Spiers Truss who had lived in the area all his life. Twenty or so years earlier, in the late 1830's Edward Truss onto be found in a cottage in Deanshanger, in Little London with Stillage Riding backing onto the property he occupied. As a child he had lived in Old Stratford with his family, his father Robed Truss was licensee of the Back Horse.
As now, in those days whoever wanted to sell alcohol would be required to obtain a license For this area the Quarter Sessions at Towcester would meet in early September to issue licences Applicants would make personal visits to see the Justices of the Peace and enter into a recognizance with them: that they would "keep Good Order and Rules”. This would have to be backed up by a surety from someone who knew them and frequently a surety from themselves also Sums of £10 were the norm, could sums of £20 mentioned mean that someone had previously breeched the terms of his licence ? Victuallers acting as surety for each other was common. Inspection of these Alehouse Recognizances will show they must have known each other well. Unfortunately the names of the Inns do not appear in the earlier licencing records. My research notes show that the names of the inns are not listed in 1815 but are by 1827 Robed Truss appears many times in these records.
Being at the top of the hill a little way away from the centre of Old Stratford, could the Black Horse have been regarded as a retreat? Or was it the important coaching in that it is thought to have been ? Positioned on the man route between London and Chester could have made it so. At the rear of the Black Horse was a yard and out houses and probably stabling. Perhaps it became a watering hole for prominent local people where business deals were struck. Or was it merely a doss house, an unofficial extension to the Potterspury Union Workhouse.
Robert Truss provided board and lodging at the Black Horse for which he was reimbursed by the Overseers of the Poor. In 1783 it was recorded that he was paid “a bill for the expenses of Janet Urquehart a vagrant who lay in at Old Stratford £1-17-7½, in 1791 he received 1/6d. Laying in does not Just mean that Ms Urquehart outstayed her welcome, but that she gave birth here. There are other mentions also in the Overseers Accounts for Robert Truss providing services of one sort or another. In 1815 upon his death the Black Horse passed to Robert Truss’s widow Ann. She held the licence here until her demise in June 1827. Jonathon Truss then appears in the Quarter Sessions records until his death in 1838. So for something like fifty plus years, the Black Horse was under the ownership of this one family.
By 1838 sureties at the Quarter Sessions had increased to £30. Rates have also been recorded for the Black Horse. In 1798, the Parish of Passenham was assessed at 6d in the pound. The Black Horse being rated at a rent of £3-0-0, meant a levy of £0.1-6. By 1837, the rateable value was £ 127 and Jonathon Truss paid £6-7-0 upon it. This same rateing system continued until the mid 1980's when it was replaced by the contentious and short lived Poll Tax. On occasion, the local Surveyors of the Highways would likewise want some income. In 1798 they assessed the inhabitants of Deanshanger at three pence in the pound. For the Black Hors,. 9d was paid.
Other occupants of the Back Horse have included
William Atterbury who appears in Kellys Directory in 1854. He is also mentioned in the 1841 census but not specifically at the Black Horse although it is likely that he was there. Licensed premises were not listed by name for the area in this census. Also appearing in Kellys, John Smith in 1861, John Brown in 1906 and 1910. John Thomas Brown in 1920 is very likely the same man. In 1881, the census shows Joseph and Phebe Sanders being resident. He was from Potterspury with his wife from Wicken. Living across Black Horse Yard at the back of the building were Thomas and Mary Holman, and Richard and Mary East. In his will of 1796, William Bason mentions his son, also William as being 'known by the sign of the Black Horse”. He very likely lived across the yard.
All sources. Northants Record Office
Quarter Sessions Records, Towcester Division, Alehouse Recognizances. various years. Surveyors of the Highways. Receipts and Payments book 252P/257; Overseers Accounts Books 252P/156, /245, /246; Overseers of the Poor. Levy Rate Book 252P/261. Kellys Directories various years: Census Meade 1841. 1681, Wills