The Crown Inn at Linton has a lot of history. One of only three surviving venues in the beautiful and historic village of Linton the venue dates back to at least 1600 when it first appeared on a map of the area.
Evidence exists of being present from around 1575 although recently uncovered timber roofing dates back to the 14th or 15th century suggesting that there could have been a venue there for much longer.
Originally named the Griffin Inn, The Crown became known as The Rose & Crown for a short time before becoming The Crown Inn in 1777.
The Crown Inn in its various guises and names was a staging post and coaching inn, and also the magistrates court, so has witnessed some remarkable events in history. In 1648 during the ‘English Civil War’ there was a Royalist rebellion coordinated in and from Linton. The Royalists aimed to takeover East Anglia in the name of the King.
In order to quash this rebellion a truce meeting was held at The Crown with a ceasefire & truce negotiated between the Royalists and the Roundheads. The Royalists then surrendered and left peacefully. Had this truce not been negotiated, the whole course of the civil war could have been very different indeed!
Up until The Crown moved position in 1844 it was also host to the ‘Magistrates Court’ and saw its fair share of miscreants pass through its sessions.
One notorious event happened in 1832 when the Linton riots took place. The 1830’s were a miserable time for the inhabitants of the area and social discontent was rife. In Linton over 75% of households were unable to pay the ‘Poor Rate’ which enabled those on or near the breadline to receive handouts. Respect for the ruling classes was at an all time low. An attempt to enforce Sunday drinking laws was the trigger for the riots as the landlord of The Crown was tried and found guilty of breaching those laws.
A huge crowd were outside and upon hearing of the guilty verdict they became incensed and angry at the decision. The crowd were baying for revenge and tried to seize Constable Mason as he emerged from the court and so rather hastily the magistrates were forced to enlist some immediate ‘special constables’.
As the crowd grew more angry the constables were grabbed and put in fear, as were the magistrates. One magistrate, Lord Godolphin, managed to retreat into the Inn and the door was slammed shut on the crowd. The crowd used mud, gravel, and stones to throw missiles at the court whilst others chased the constables to the residence of the local vicar.
The vicar was able to calm down the worst of the ringleaders and had them retreat. Soon after a £100 reward was offered to bring the ringleaders to justice. The next day 11 of them were caught and they were brought to trial in March 1833 when they were convicted of public order offences.
The riots were probably the last significant event the old Crown Inn witnessed as in 1844 the venue moved to its current location 150 yds up the road at 11 High St – previously a butchers until around 1745 and then a blacksmiths and wheelwrights until 1844. The magistrates court then moved to the Red lion, and then The Swan until in 1855 they took up residence in a purpose built police station and courtroom in Symonds Lane.
There is a ‘Heritage Trail’ through Linton and The Crown is an ideal starting point to venture out on to the heritage trail. You can find out more by collecting a booklet from the bar and by contacting Linton Historical Society.