THE HISTORY OF THE FOX INN, CHURCH STREET

The Fox Inn before 1910

I believe the first record of the Fox Inn is mentioned in the Cambridge record office under public houses and the licensed victualler. An index card states the place which is then called the King’s Head followed with the names of the landlords. The first landlord is William Travis 1822, then Joseph Hughes 1823, John Elborn 1823, then the name Charles Young appears with dates 1823 to 1828. Charles Young’s name appears again in the Thriplow Church Baptism book with his wife Sarah. His first son Henry was baptised on the 12 of Oct. 1829 and then their daughter Hannah was on the 7 May 1831; both entries quote him as a publican.

The 1841 Census shows Charles Young as a farmer aged 45 yrs and his wife Sarah as 43 yrs old. His son of the same name is listed as an agricultural labourer (aged 20 yrs) with his wife who is called Elizabeth (aged 20 yrs). On the Inclosure map of 1840 Charles Young’s property extends from Norman Gambie’s (No.41 Church Street) to Pauline Hopkin’s (No. 39).as well as several pieces of land in the fields of Thriplow, so it would seem that he was a small farmer as well as publican. By 1847 Charles Young junior is mentioned as a beer retailer in the Cambridgeshire Post Office directory, but there is no mention of the name of the public house. So at this stage did it change from being the King’s Head to the Fox and Brush Inn? His father however is quoted as being a farmer in the same directory. The 1851 census show that Charles Young junior is the publican of the Fox and Brush Inn with his wife Elizabeth and their eldest daughter Sarah (aged 12 yrs) is employed at home .Their eldest son Allan (10 yrs old), and Emily (7 yrs old) are scholars, Frederick is 2 yrs old with the youngest Elliot who is 1 month old.

In 1854 on March 25th the Cambridge Chronicle quotes an inquest that had taken place at the Fox and Brush Inn. Records show that during the 19th Century a number of public houses were used for inquests. The following article appeared in the ‘Cambridge Chronicle’:
Triplow-. An inquest was held on Wednesday last, the 22nd. instant at the Fox and Brush Inn ,by Frederick Barlow, Esq., Coroner for the county, on the body of William Fowler aged about 61 years , who died on the day previous at the house in which the inquest was held, Verdict, “Died by the visitation of God”.

The next time Charles Young junior is mentioned is in a Kelly’s directory of 1858. He is listed as a Beer Retailer and Carrier who went to Cambridge on Saturdays at 7.am. The last entry for Charles Young is in a 1867 Directory of Cambridgeshire which mentions the same information as 1858. After a gap of 6 years Charles Bunn is listed in Kelly’s directory of 1873 as a Beer Retailer. By 1876 Kelly’s directory the public house is called the Fox Inn.

In 1878 there had been a change and Frederick Perrin .was now running the Fox. The following quote from the Herts & Cambs Reporter states a rather amusing incident from the Melbourn Petty Sessions:

Henry Anderson of Thriplow was charged with being found drunk in the Brushing the Fox alehouse in Thriplow on 26th December last (Boxing Day) . The charge was proved by P.C. John Jacobs -convicted and ordered to pay fine and costs,17s.6d., within 14 days; in default ,to be imprisoned for 14 days hard labour.

Frederick Perrin, landlord of the Brushing the Fox alehouse, at Thriplow was charged with permitting drunkenness in his own house on the 26th December last-P.C. John Jacobs, on being sworn, said: “on the 26th December last I was on duty in Thriplow ,and on hearing a noise I visited the defendant’s alehouse, called Brushing the Fox. I there found a very disorderly company and one man (Henry Anderson) drunk. I spoke to the landlord about his company and the way his house was conducted and he said he could not help it. How could he stop it? I told him to stop his tap, but it was not stopped whilst I was there. I was there 5 minutes only. I did not see there drunkenness in the house then, but there would be if more beer was drawn. Anderson was the only man I could swear to be drunk.”-For the defence Arthur Smith was sworn, and said: “I did not see Anderson in the house. I heard P. C. Jacobs come in speak to the landlord about the house and stopping the tap. I was only there about 10 minutes; I went in about quarter past 3. George Perrin was sworn, and said “I am nephew to the defendant. I was in his house on the 26th December last when P. C. Jacobs came in. I saw Anderson there then and he was neither sober nor drunk. I don’t know how much beer he had. He tried to sing, or at least he join in a chorus; he could sing; he could walk. When the police-constable came in he said, “What sort of party have you got here, are they drunk?” The landlord said, “They are not drunk.” The police-constable then said “if they were not drunk then they soon would be and he stopped the tap”. The house was cleared after Jacobs left.- Convicted and ordered, to pay fine and costs, 1 pound 13 shillings & 6 pence.-Paid.

In the next year, 1879, Frederick Perrin is quoted in the Kelly’s directory as the Inn keeper. Also his name appears in the ‘Herts & Cambs Reporter’ dated March 31st 1879 under the Melbourn Petty Sessions again in the following “Drunk & Refusing to Quit” Henry Anderson & Elizabeth Flack, both of Thriplow, were summoned to answer the information of Frederick Perrin, alehouse keeper, of Thriplow, for being drunk in his house and refusing to quit on being requested to do so by complainant on the 23rd March .Flack did not appear, and the service of summons on her having been proved by P.C. Jacobs, the case against the 2 defendants was proceeded with. Frederick Perrin said: “on the 23rd March both defendants came into my house about 8 o’clock at night; they asked me for a pint of beer”. “I saw they were the worse for drink and I would not serve them, and told them why I would not do so”. Anderson said to me, “Am I drunk”, and I told him whether drunk or not they would not have beer in my house that night”. “Both defendants then swore at me and used very foul language”. “I ordered them out of the house but they would not go for half-an-hour”. “Defendants were both drunk”. George Perrin, cousin to the complainant corroborated. Both defendants were convicted and each ordered to pay forthwith fine and costs 5 pounds, and in default to the imprisoned and kept to hard labour for one calendar month. Anderson, not paying, was at once committed accordingly, and a warrant was ordered to be issued at once against Flack who bore a very loose character.

Frederick Perrin’s name is last found mentioned in Kelly’s directory dated 1916 as the publican of the Fox Inn. By 1920 the last person to be the tenant of the Fox Inn was a Mr George Henry Smith. His name appears in the following quote again from the Herts & Cambs Reporter dated the 12th. March 1920 –

FOX INN DESTROYED BY FIRE

A serious fire broke out at 4.30 pm on Saturday at the Fox public house, Church Street, Thriplow, and as a result the house was burned to the ground. It was an old fashioned house built with claybats, and had a thatched roof, and four good bedrooms above. The fire was evidently caused by a defective wood beam crossing over the top of the fireplace in the taproom .As this was the only fireplace used on the previous day and evening until 10 pm., the beam must of caught fire and smouldered during the night, and then spread upwards to the unoccupied bedroom above.

It appears that a horsekeeper named Allan Flack, who resides near by, went to feed the horses at Mr. J. O. Vinter’s farm about 4. 15 a.m, passing by the front of the public-house, and on his return at 4. 45 am, discovered the thatched roof on the back part of the house to be in flames. Owing to the high wind at the time the flames soon spread to the whole of the roof, and before sufficient help could be obtained the whole of the roof fell through into the bedrooms, and soon set the floors,etc, alight. Flack at once called the tenant, Mr. George Henry Smith, who rushed downstairs, finding the place so well alight, returned upstairs, awoke his nephew and two little nieces, and at once got them out of the house for safety. Mrs. Smith happened to be away at the time, visiting some friends in London.

There was no quantity of water in the vicinity of the house, and no brigade nearer than Royston. Word was however sent to the police at Melbourn and Arrington at once, and Inspector Salmon, P.S. Martin and P.C. Housden, were soon on the spot, and, helped by many of the villagers, succeeded in preventing the flames spreading to the outbuildings and other property in the immediate neighbourhood. Mr. W. Quarrie, the manager to the owners, Messrs. J.& J. E. Phillips, Ltd., Royston, was also early on the scene. Fortunately the wind, which was still very high, was blowing right across the house from front to back, otherwise further damage must have occurred. The occupants had a very narrow escape, and could only partly dress before getting away.

The tenant had his furniture and fittings, etc., insured, and the house was insured by the owners in the County Fire Office.

Footnote. On researching the above public house I did find more inquests that had been held there over the years, but I have left them out to try and keep the subject as manageable as possible. There are some chronological gaps as to who was the landlord at different periods, but unfortunately the records are not consistent

So if anybody does have any further information, I would then be in a position to complete the jigsaw. So for the moment this is the end of the road for the Fox Inn.

Geoff Axe