The Swan Inn - Old Stratford

Of all the old coaching inns of Old Stratford, the Swan is the only one which still exists and which is still a working public house. Through wars and depressions, court cases and sales, this pub has continued to serve the community and can be visited still. Read down to understand its history.

1798 The Northampton Mercury July 7th 1798 R. Hillyard Old Swan Inn
1818 The Northampton Mercury September 5th 1818 son of the late Mr. Hillyer Swan Inn
1830 Pigots & Co.’s Directory Mary Hillyer Swan
1840 The Northampton Mercury June 6th 1840 Mary Hillyer Swan Inn
1848 The Northampton Mercury March 11th 1848 Mary Hillyer Swan Inn who is retiring. Died in 1859 aged 92. had the inn upward of 50 years
1854 - 1861 Kelly’s Directory of Northamptonshire Thomas King Swan Inn
1869 Kelly’s Directory of Northamptonshire Thomas King Swan Inn
1871 The Northampton Mercury January 21st 1871 Joseph Partridge Swan Inn
1877 Post Office Directory 1877 Matthew Willison Swan Inn
1877 The Northampton Mercury August 11th 1877 Matthew Willison Swan Inn up for auction
1878 The Northampton Mercury December 28th 1878 Henry Carnell Swan transfer licence to William Judge
1879 The Northampton Mercury December 27th 1879 William Judge Swan transfer licence to David Bonham
1879 The Northampton Mercury December 27th 1879 David Bonham Swan
1882 The Northampton Mercury October 14th 1882 William Morgan Swan
1885 Kelly's Directory 1885 Joshua Mansfield Swan Inn
1890 Kelly's Directory 1890 Percy Mitchell  Swan Inn
1892 The Northampton Mercury October 28th 1892 George Bantam Swan Inn
1894 Kelly’s Directory of Northamptonshire 1894 Dickens William Swan Inn
1898  Kelly's Directory 1898 Mrs. Ellen Ware Swan Inn
1903 Kelly's Directory 1903 Mrs. Ellen Ware Swan Inn
1910 Kelly's Directory 1910 Mrs. Ellen Ware Swan Inn
1914 Kelly's Directory 1914 Mrs. Ellen Ware Swan Inn
1920 Kelly's Directory 1920 Mrs. Ellen Ware Swan Inn
1924 Kelly's Directory 1924 John Allan Giles Swan Inn
1928 Kelly's Directory 1928 John Allan Giles Swan Inn
1931 Kelly's Directory 1931 Roger Stimpson Swan Inn
1936 Kelly's Directory 1936 Thomas Thornton Swan Inn
1940 Kelly's Directory 1940 Thomas Thornton Swan Inn

The Northampton Mercury 31 May 1788

LEFT at the Swan in Old Stratford, on Monday the 6th of May instant.


About fourteen Hands, high, between the Nag and Cart Kind, rather touched in the Wind, has a Blaze in her Face, and the far Heel behind white. Also a SADDLE and BRIDDLE.
Any Person proving the above Mare to be their Property, may, on paying Charges, have her again but if she is not owned in fourteen Days from the Date hereof, she will be sold to defray the Expences.
MAY 31, 1788

The Northampton Mercury May 5th 1798

To be LETT.
 And Entered upon immediately

THAT well-known and good-accustomed INN, called the SWAN, at OLD-STRATFORD, in the County of Northampton ; -consisting of a good House, Brick and Slate Front , a convenient Brewhouse and other Offices adjoining; a roomy Yard, with Stabling for forty Horses, and a CLOSE of about four Acres of rich PASTURE LAND, contiguous thereto; together with a beneficial Charter, particularly useful to any Person in the Dealing Business, as they will be entitled to an Exemption from Tolls in many Parts of the Country.
For further Particulars, enquire of the present Occupier ; or Mr. Pearce, Attorney at Law, in Stony-Stratford.

The Northampton Mercury July 7th 1798


R. HILLYARD having Taken and Entered upon the above Inn, takes this Opportunity of informing his Friends and Public in general, that he has laid in stock of excellent WINES and SPIRITSOUS LIQUORS, and hope by a strict Attention to his Business to merit the Favours of a generous Public, which will ever be acknowledges by.
Their obedient humble Servant,
Good Stabling.

The Northampton Mercury September 5th 1818
Died: Lately, at Olney Mills, Bucks, aged 18, William Hillyer, son of the late Mr. Hillyer, of the Swan inn, Old Stratford, in this county.

The Northampton Mercury June 6th 1829

China, Glass, and Earthenware,
By Jno. Day Jun.

On Wednesday the 10th of June, 1829, at the Swan Inn, Old Stratford, Northamptonshire.
A Quantity of CHINA, GLASS, and EARTHERNWARE, removed there for Convenience of Sale the Property of a Person declining the Business, and will be sold without Reserve.
Sale will commence at Three o’Clock in the Afternoon.

The Northampton Mercury June 6th 1840

DIED: On Saturday last, Mr. Thomas Hillyer, son of Mrs. Mary Hillyer, of the Swan Inn, Old Stratford, aged 35 years, sincerely regretted by his family and friends, and respected by all who knew him.

The Northampton Mercury November 15th 1845

Died: Nov. 3, Mrs. Day, widow of the late Mr. John Day, auctioneer, of Stony Stratford, and daughter of Mrs. Hillyer, Swan Inn, Old Stratford. She was universally respected by all who knew her, and her loss will be deeply felt.

The Northampton Mercury March 11th 1848

At OLD STRATFORD, Northamptonshire.

 On Thursday, 23d March 1848, on the premises, at Four o'clock in the Afternoon, subject to such conditions as will be then read,
ALL that capital old-established and well-accustomed INN, "THE SWAN," most eligibly situate for business at the Junction of the Stony Stratford and Towcester, and the Buckingham and Northampton Turnpike Roads, at Old Stratford ; with the extensive buildings and premises, and Closes of Land, now and for upwards of half a century in the occupation of Mrs. Hillyer, who is retiring, and will give immediate possession of the whole.
The property will be offered in the following Lots, or otherwise, as may be agreed on at the time of Sale.

Lot 1. The respectable and substantially brick-built, tiled, and sashed HOUSE, so long and well known as "The Swan Inn." with neat ornamental iron palisading, and flight of stone steps to the front ; containing entrance passage, two roomy parlours, tap-room and bar, pantry, scullery, &c., two good cellars, four best bed rooms, and three large attics, closets. &c., &c., and open lean-to at the back, with pump of good water. The house occupies the angle of the two high roads, and there is a gateway entrance from each to the spacious gravelled yard, which is surrounded by substantial buildings, the principal part recently brick-built and slated. viz.:--a capital brewhouse, with plant as fixed, and a convenient oven, pump, hog loom, &c., adjoining ; two six-stalled stables and a lock-up coach-house, with lofts and granaries over ; another six-stalled stable, with coach doors for occasional use, and loft over ; and a stable with four loose boxes, and granary with bins; together with the large and very productive Walled Garden, with fruit trees, shrubs, &c. The whole forming a very compact property, exceedingly well adapted for the old business attached to it, of a Brewer and Innkeeper, or for any other business requiring roomy and commodious premises.

Lot 2. All that newly-built stone and slated Stable and Wood House, with capital granary over the same, situate adjoining  Lot 1, on the Northampton road ; large yard, with gateway entrance from the street, barns, pigsties, and other buildings, now in the occupation of Mr. M. Willison; and the adjoining PADDOCK of fine old PASTURE LAND, with a constant supply of water, good fences, and several Timber Trees growing thereon.

Lot 3. The very valuable ancient enclosure of rich PASTURE LAND, situate adjoining Lot 2, and abutting on the Northampton Road, with capital fences, some thriving Timber, and never failing water. The property is in the parish of Potterspury, in the county of Northampton; it is freehold, tithe-free, and the land-tax re-deemed, and each Lot possesses a commanding frontage to the Street: May he viewed on application to Mrs. Hillyer; and further particulars known of Mr. H. Smith, Solicitor, or the Auctioneers  Buckingham.

The Northampton Mercury September 30th 1848

OLD STRATFORD, Northamptonshire.

On Monday the 9th October, 1848, on the premises of Mrs. HILLYER, who is leaving the Swan Inn,
The Sale will commence at Ten o’clock.
Catalogues may be had on the premises, and the Auctioneer, Stony Stratford.

The Northampton Mercury May 28th 1859

DEATHS. At Stony Stratford on 21st instant. Mrs. Mary Hillyer, aged 92 years, late of the Swan Inn, Old Stratford, and landlady of the above Inn upwards of 50 years is sincerely regretted by all who knew her.

The Northampton Mercury August 23rd 1862

Thomas King, of the Swan Inn, Old Stratford was summoned for selling beer and spirits STONY STRATFORD PETTY SESSIONS, August 15th. before half-past twelve on Sunday last. Case adjourned.

The Northampton Mercury January 21st 1871

STONY STRATFORD PETTY SESSIONS, Old Stratford—Joseph Partridge, landlord of the Swan Inn, Old Stratford. was summoned for, on the 10th of December, 1870, permitting drunkenness in his house.—Mr. C. C. Becke, of Northampton, defended.—Thomas Barbey, servant at Wakefield Lodge, deposed : On Saturday evening the 10th of December, I went with Sans Read into the Swan Inn, kept by Mr. Partridge, and remained there about five minutes. Read was sober when he went in. I left and went on to Stratford, and was gone about an hour. As I came back I called in again at the Swan, and stayed a quarter of an hour. Read and a man named Webb and several others left with me. Read and Webb were drunk. I did not see anything brought to either of them. They had a little of a quartern of gin, which I called for, and that was all I saw them drink. I did not tell the policeman I saw them have several quarterns of gin and brandy.—Cross-examined by Mr. Becke: Read went in with me. I did not hear Mr. Partridge say he was drunk, nor did I hear him tell his bar maid not to serve anything to him.—Sans Read was next brought up as a witness for the prosecution, but he refused; to be sworn or to give evidence, because he said he had been fined at the last Sessions for being drunk at the time he was now called to give evidence about; and, as a drunken man's evidence cannot be taken, he refused to be sworn. However, he afterwards took oath that he was drunk, but on being interrogated as whether he got drunk at the Swan Inn, he I replied that he was drunk and did not know.—Mr. Becke said; Mr. Partridge; had kept a public-house for twenty years, and had not been brought up before, and he could produce witnesses to prove that Read was drunk when he came in, and that he had nothing to drink whilst he was there. It being a cold night, the landlord could not turn him out, but as soon as an opportunity offered, he got rid of him sending him with some men who were going his way home. He (Mr. Beerke) could bring respectable witnesses to prove that there were no drunken men in the house on that night, and from what the witness Barbey had Stated, there was not a tittle of evidence showing that Read got drunk in the Swan Inn. The defendant had kept a public-house for twenty year without a complaint and now to be brought up on such frivolous charge appeared to him to be very cruel. He should first prove that Read did not get drunk there and asked to be allowed to call a return, but the Bench told him the case was dismissed.

The Northampton Mercury August 11th 1877

TO SELL BY AUCTION:. August 16, 1877, at Five o'clock in the Afternoon.

LOT 2 consists of all that well-known INN called "The Swan," situate at Old Stratford, on the parish of Potterspury, and in the occupation of the Proprietor, Mr. M. Willison.
The House has large bar, tap-room, parlour, kitchen, brewhouse, good cellars, four bedrooms, w.c., convenient yard, with stabling; coach-hose, with loft over; pump, with good supply of pure water; and a capital walled garden, well stocked with thriving fruit trees; altogether making a most convenient property.

LOT 3 Comprises all these TWO stone-built and slated COTTAGES, situate in the Cosgrove-Road, Old Stratford, in the parish of Potterspury with yards and out-buildings, producing a rental of £10 8s. per annum.

LOT 4. consists of all the excellent CLOSE of old pasture LAND, having a long frontage to the Cosgrove-road, and containing 2A. 3R. 0P., or thereabouts. This is valuable as a building site, or a most convenient close for occupation. It is in the occupation of the Proprietor, Mr. Matthew Willison.
N.B. The purchasers of Lots 1 and 2 will be required to take to at a valuation, in the usual manner, the trade fixtures and fittings; and the purchaser of

Lot 2 will be required to close up the entrance door leading from the garden into the close, and also the gate leading from the back yard into the close. Note: Lot 1 "Royal Oak" situated on The Green, Stony Stratford, in the occupation of Mr. Henry Willison. 

The Northampton Mercury December 28th 1878

TOWCESTER: Petty Sessions. Transfer. Henry Carnall, the Swan, Old Stratford, applied for a transfer of license to William Judge. Granted.

The Northampton Mercury November 1st 1879

SWAN INN, OLD STRATFORD, TO BE LET, with immediate possession. For particulars, apply to the Northampton Brewery Co., Northampton; or to their agent, Mr. Archer, Stony Stratford.

The Northampton Mercury December 27th 1879

TOWCESTER: Petty Sessions. Transfer. License of the Swan Inn, Old Stratford, was transferred  from William Judge to David Bonham.

The Northampton Mercury October 14th 1882

Stony Stratford Petty Sessions. Oct 6. William Morgan, landlord of the Swan, Old Stratford, was fined £1 9s. 6d. For permitting gaming.

The Northampton Mercury October 28th 1892

STONY STRATFORD DIVISIONAL PETTY SESSIONS: Frederick Barley (17) and William Edward Daniels (15), of Stony Stratford, were charged with attempted burglary at Old Stratford, on Oct. 22nd. On the application of the Superintendent, the charge was altered to one under the vagrancy Act. Viz. “intent to commit a felony.” Geo. Bantam said he kept the Swan Inn at Old Stratford, and the two defendants had no business in his house at half-past eleven on Saturday night. Eliza Murby said about half-past eleven on Saturday night she heard a noise in the house and saw a light. The house had been securely locked up that night. P.S. McLeod, of Potterspury, said when he charged the prisoners Barley said they both took part; he opened the window and took the plants out and Daniels struck a light. They then thought better of it, and hearing a noise in the house they ran away. The Chairman warned the lads, and imposed a fine of 5s. and 10s. costs in each case.