Some history of the Crown Inn at Yoxall in the County of Staffordshire
The Crown Inn has a long history as a public-house. Unless I am missing something the pub does not seem to be a listed building, though the village of Yoxall is fairly well represented in the register. True, the breweries and pub operators have meddled with the place over the centuries, including a re-fronting in brick. However, one only has to walk around the side of the building facing the car park to see that a timber-framed structure lurks beneath.
I once read that the Crown Inn dates back to 1830 which, of course is a load of twaddle. I am not sure when the Crown Inn was first licensed but, as can be seen from the above advertisement that appeared in Aris's Birmingham Gazette, the tavern was trading by 1771. The hostelry may be of greater antiquity. Another 18th century reference that I found was for an auction held at the Crown Inn for Bancroft House at Hamstall Ridware, a property forming part of the estate of Marshall Rider.
John Shipton was running the Crown Inn during the early years of the 19th century. However, the publican was listed as a bankrupt in December 1805. I suspect that he was the John Shipton listed as tenant in the Land Tax Redemption registers of the late 1790s. This lists the owner of the premises as the Hon. Miss Leigh. The inn may have formed part of a farm.
The Crown Inn would have benefited from passing trade from those travelling along the old turnpike road from Ashbourne in Derbyshire, a route that crossed the River Trent just over a mile from the hostelry.
The Crown Inn was being run by Thomas Waltho by 1810. During the early 19th century the house was often used for auctions of land, buildings, timber and even church pews at Saint Peter's. This was not for an actual wooden pew but to have a guaranteed seat to hear the vicar drone on. The more affluent got up close and personal to their God. The poor had to huddle in a designated slot for those praying for a better rub of the green in the afterlife.
John and Ann Higgott were hosts of the Crown Inn during the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. In addition to running the pub the couple also farmed 34 acres of land attached to the premises. Born in Rolleston-on-Dove around 1805, John Higgott had previously been in service to the elderly Margaret Arden at Longcroft Hall. He married Ann Salt in 1842. The couple were still running the Crown Inn in the early 1860s. However, Ann Higgott died in January 1863. John re-married and continued in farming at Morrey Trent Bridge.
George and Frances Roobottom were running the Crown Inn during 1871. However, he died at the age of 30 in the same year, the licence passing to his wife. A couple of years later the Crown Inn, along with an adjoin cottage and shop, was offered for sale at auction. The notice for the auction provides a glimpse of the interior during this period.
Thomas and Jane Cooper kept the Crown Inn for a good chunk of the late 19th century. The son of a maltster, Thomas was born at Ticknall in the mid-1840s and grew up in rather straitened circumstances when his father died leaving his mother to bring up four children. As a teenager he went to work for the farmer Thomas Hanson at Winshill. He later moved to a larger farm concern at Wychnor Bridge. He married locally-born Jane Upton at Saint Peter's Church in 1875. After their time at the Crown Inn they operated a farm at Bond End.
Arthur and Elizabeth Newell kept the Crown Inn at the fag end of Queen Victoria's reign. Looking back on their lives, one has to wonder how they found each other. Elizabeth Somers grew up in Alrewas whilst Arthur Newell was born in St. Helen's on the Isle of Wight. Although the couple married in her home village in 1888, they first settled at St. Helen's from where Arthur worked as a yacht steward. A desire to be nearer Alrewas and her family may have been the motive for moving to Yoxall. By the end of the Edwardian period the couple moved to the Foresters' Arms at Woodlane.
Henry Charles Limmer was the landlord during the 1930s and throughout the Second World War. He was another to hail from Hampshire but had moved north earlier in his life where he worked as a coachman at Rangemore Hall. He worked alongside Henry Campain and fell in love with his daughter Frances. The couple were married at Croydon in Surrey in 1912. The couple's children helped managed the Crown Inn. Henry Limmer died in 1948 when the licence was transferred to his wife Frances.
Vera and Norman Giltrap moved into the Crown Inn as tenants during May 1986. Soon after their arrival, or perhaps as part of a mutual agreement between tenants and brewery, Marston's initiated a complete overhaul and refurbishment of the pub. In a post-renovation article it was stated that there was a "newly furnished lounge, dining, bar and games areas had been provided for the customers." The games room formed part of an extension to the premises.
The Giltrap's, along with their dachshund Tigger, had previously kept The Leopard at Burton-on-Trent where they had reportedly gained a reputation for serving very well-kept beer. They were responsible for their former house being included in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. On taking over the Crown Inn, Vera commented "people traditionally come to a country pub expecting a well-kept cellar," a philosophy that some publicans would do well to adopt. At this time the Crown Inn had flourishing pool, darts and crib teams. They also had their own football team that played in the Burton and District Sunday League. Indeed, the team won the League Championship in 1985.
The Crown Inn is well out of my regular circuit or ports-of-call and I have only visited once when cycling in the area. The photographs I took on that day probably show the interior as it would have looked following the 1986 renovations. This has all been changed when Admiral Taverns refurbished the pub in more recent years. Re-opened in the autumn of 2022, it is all pastel paint, mainly in shades of grey. I believe the Crown Inn is, like many rural pubs these days, more of a food-led business. Better than a closed pub I guess.
"On Saturday two men were apprehended on suspicion of being horse-stealers, one of them at Yoxall and the other at King's Bromley,
Staffordshire. The circumstances which led to their apprehension are singular. They were both suspected from their outward appearance, from the fatigued appearance of
their horses, and from the equivocal answers they returned to questions put to them different individuals; and one of them, who stopped at the Crown Inn, Yoxall,
was recognized by the landlord as the person who had been there about two years ago, and who was then suspected of stealing a horse belonging to Mr. Brown, of that
place. Information being given to the constable, this man was immediately secured, and on examination a variety of articles useful to the profession were found
upon him - pistols and gunpowder, picklocks, a soft-padded saddle made to roll up, stirrups and strap without a saddle, to throw over a horse's back,
jointed stirrups, etc. The other man, who put up at the Fighting Cocks, King's Bromley, seeing that he was eyed by his landlord with suspicion, hastily got up
from his repast, and was about to pursue his journey, when he was told he must wait the pleasure of a magistrate. Both the men were accordingly taken before Mr. Lane,
when it appeared that the horses which were in their possession had been stolen the previous night, and belonged to Mr. Fletchere of Tissington. One of the men called
himself William Waddington, the other said his name was Smith, and afterwards Murphy. They were committed to Derby County gaol."
Hereford Journal : April 16th 1823 Page 4
"On Thursday, the 23rd ult., Skynner G. Woodroffe Esq. was invited to a a public dinner, at the Crown Inn, Yoxall, by a large number of
respectable inhabitants of Yoxall, Hamstall Ridware, and the neighhourhood, as a proof of the high estimation in which he is held. William Jaggard, Esq. presided, and
John Brown, Esq. officiated as vice. The dinner was ample and well served, and the harmony of the evening was unbroken any incident, and the party kept up the festivity
till a late hour."
"Dinner to Mr. S. G. Woodroffe"
Staffordshire Advertiser : February 1st 1840 Page 3
"Notwithstanding the frequent occurrence of accidents from the improper use of firearms, and the reiterated cautions on that head which
have been given through the public journals, yet we frequently meet with fatal casualties, resulting from a want of due care in their use. On Saturday last, a youth
named Phillips, the son of a small farmer, residing at Hanbury, on the forest, was directed by his father to fetch from the house a gun, with powder, shot,
and caps, to shoot birds on land on which they were sowing wheat, and was told the gun was not loaded. On his return he had to pass a barn, in which a labourer named
William Coltman was thrashing; and putting a cap on the nipple, he went, unseen, behind the unfortunate man, and struck it off, intending, as he said, to
frighten him. The gun being loaded, went off, and killed the poor fellow on the spot, having dreadfully shattered his head. An inquest was held on Tuesday before Mr.
Cattlow, and a verdict of "homicide by misadventure," returned. The father and the son were severely reprehended. On Monday a man, [whose name, for private
reasons, our correspondent has withheld,] went into the Crown Inn, at Yoxall, about four o'clock in the afternoon, and most incautiously placed a loaded
double-barrelled gun, with the heel resting on a loose form, and the muzzle leaning against the corner of a room which many persons were sitting. Caps were on
each of the nipples, and the hammers were let down on the caps. The gun, by degrees, was displaced by the movements of the persons who sat on the form, and at length
slipping down, the hammers caught the edge the form, and both barrels went off, discharging their contents against a very thickly-plastered wall, the coating of
which, with the shot, was scattered all over the company. The house was shaken by the violence of the concussion, but providentially no person was hurt. Had the wall
been merely whitewashed, or thinly plastered, the rebound of the double charge might have produced a very serious, if not fatal, result."
"Caution To Persons Using Firearms"
Staffordshire Advertiser : October 28th 1848 Page 8
"On Monday evening last, B. H. Allen, Esq. [Longcroft's Hall], and the Rev. Pelham Maitland, were formally initiated as
honorary members of the "Meynell Ingram" lodge of Oddfellows [M.U.,] held at Host Higgott's, Crown Inn, Yoxall. Each of the gentlemen presented a
handsome contribution to the Widows' and Orphans' Fund, as expressive of his approval of the design of the Order, and of the satisfactory manner in which the
working plans of the local institution are carried out. The lodge, which numbers about ninety members, is in a flourishing state, and several influential gentlemen,
resident in the neighbourhood, have expressed their intention of increasing its ranks by the enrolment of their names."
Staffordshire Advertiser : October 2nd 1847 Page 8
"Samuel Finney, alias Wood, was charged with stealing 14lbs. of parsnips and a steel fork, the property of Samuel Reeves,
landlord of the Crown Inn, Yoxall. The Bench thought there not sufficient evidence of theft with regard to the fork, but for stealing the parsnips they sent the
prisoner to gaol for two months."
"Theft of Parsnips"
Derby Mercury : July 23rd 1879 Page 3
"A dinner and concert were held at the Crown, Yoxall, on Saturday, the licence of which has recently been taken over Mr. I. Oliver, late of
the Anglesey Arms, Lichfield. After an excellent dinner an enjoyable "smoker" was held, with Mr. H. Crisp in the chair. Songs were given Mr. F. Foster
[Lichfield], Mr. Blower, Mr. R. Scott, Mr. Oliver, Mr. T. Leadham and Mr. J. Wright, and a pianoforte solo by Mr. H. E. Abbott [Lichfield], who also
accompanied throughout. A vote of thanks was passed to the host and hostess for their generous entertainment."
Lichfield Mercury : January 30th 1903 Page 8