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The Mitre Buckingham

A Brief History

John Speed's 1610 map of Buckingham
One of the earliest references to The Mitre is on John Speed's map of Buckingham from 1610, where it is shown next to Mitre Cottage on the corner of Bonehill Lane (renamed Mitre Street, after the pub, only in the late 19th century) and Hunter Street. The cottage dates from much earlier, some time around 1420. The Mitre is also shown on a Rutgers map of 1661. There are records of the pub attracting rents for the Lord of the Manor of Gawcott and Lenborough, including a Quit Rent that was to exempt them from military service of 8d per annum.

There were at least two other public houses in this area of Buckingham, which was known as Prebend End. This signifies that the area had a priest but not a church, the income for the priest coming from the surrounding area's farms and other businesses. The area derived some income from the pilgrimages made to St Rumbold's Well, a holy site with a spring said to have spontaneously generated on the death of the local Saint. This can be found by following the Railway Walk from the pub westwards towards the Tingewick Road.

The pub was originally thatched - fragments of thatch were found in 2012 during renovations to the walls on the top floor. It would have stood as a detached building until it was extended sometime in the late 17th or early 18th century from the centre outwards, with the addition of the stables to the left and the small lounge with fireplace, which butts directly against Mitre Cottage with only a stud wall between them. At the same time the upper floors were also extended, the roof tiled, and the accommodation carried into the loft to make three bedrooms. A new brick frontage was added at the same time. The stables floor was uncovered in 2015, discovered to be of blue brick construction with a central runnel. The hayloft door outline and window are still visible from the ground.

In the Victoria County History of Buckinghamshire, The Mitre is described as 'a half timber and brick house of two stories and attic, dating from the seventeenth century'.

There is an extensive entry in 'Buckingham the Loyal and Ancient Borough' by Douglas J. Elliot, which is available as a PDF.

Interior layout

As would have been common at the time, after renovation in the late 18th century the bar was laid out with multiple rooms with doors between them, and a central off-sales counter. The bar was further forward at this time, with the beer being served using jugs from barrels on stillages in the room immediately behind the bar (which are still present). This means of course that the beer would have been much warmer than we expect today. In the 1970s the cellar was excavated and the barrels moved downstairs, making cooling and engine dispensing possible. At the same time the bar was moved back to its current position. Since then it has changed very little apart from general maintenance and decoration. The fireplace in the lounge came from No 7 Mitre Street, and was installed in 2009. Before then it held a gas fire with a 1960's surround.

Exterior and gardens

The garden and patio areas were laid out in 2007-8, having been previously divided into two as public and private areas. This was to cater for the smoking ban that came into force in July 2007. The windows to the front of the property were extensively renovated and in some cases replaced like-for-like in 2014.

Landlords and Owners

The following are the best lists I can compile of Landlords and Owners of The Mitre. If you have any other information to enhance this list, I would be very grateful to receive it.

John Smith17401747?
Mrs Mitchell17471752
Joseph Fletcher17521761
Mrs Sheen17611764
Robert Carter17641764
Thomas Salisbury17641766
William Burnell and family17671770
William Burnell in partnership with Daniel Gillan17701793
William Burnell17931803
Mary Burnell (Wife of William)18041824
George Burnell (Son of William)18241842
Elizabeth Kelly1842?1876
John Kelly18761887
Thomas Frewins18871897
Mary Ann Frewins18971899
Alfred Nicholds (or Nicholls)18991935
Harry Nicholds19351939
George Alexander19391952
Alec Tart19521959
Frank and Doll Luckett19591973
John and Jean Roberts (Robbo)19731979
Bill and Pat Miller19791982
Andy and Christine Poulton (Christine left)19821985
Tick and Dick19851992
Jayne and Trevor Andrews (Trevor left)19921997
John and Alison Bruce19972007
Keith and Jane Templeman2007Present

Alfred Nicholds

Alfred Nicholds, Landlord of the Mitre 1899-1935

William Drage, Tanner17??1740
Rev. Richard and Mary Carter17401764
William Goode, Grocer17641784
James Goode17841806
Bartholemew Kelly, Butcher18061820
Bartholemew Kelly (son), Butcher18201821?
John, Mary and Elizabeth Kelly1821?1897
Hopcrafts, Brewers of Brackley18971930?
Hopcraft and Norris, Middleton Cheney1930?1946
Chesham and Brackley Breweries Ltd.19461950
Ind Coope / Alsopp19501961
Aylesbury Brewing Company, then Allied Breweries19611972
Pubmaster (Pub company of Allied Breweries)19722003
Punch Taverns20032004
London and Edinburgh / Swallow Group20042005
David Watson and Family, Kidderminster20052007
Keith and Jane Templeman2007Present

Other Prebend End Pubs

The other two public houses in Mitre Street were The Cross Keys and The Britannia. The Cross Keys, opposite on the corner of Hunter Street and Lenborough Road, closed in the early 1930s and parts of it live on as two cottages.

Cross Keys, Buckingham

Outside The Cross Keys, Prebend End, Buckingham

The Britannia, was at the top of Mitre Street as it changes to Gawcott Road. The Britannia was (allegedly!) called The Bag and Dibber, then renamed The Engineer on the coming of the railway. In a fit or royalist enthusiasm it became the Prince of Prussia in around 1858 when Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, married Price Frederick William of Prussia. During the Great War in 1916 this was no longer a suitable name and it became The Britannia. That's how it ended, apart from brief and unofficial changes to 'The George' and 'The Free Man' before it closed in 2010. It is now converted to flats.

Britannia, Buckingham

The Britannia, Prebend End, Buckingham being converted to flats in 2010

Other pubs in Buckingham in 1863 are listed in the Buckingham section of the PubsHistory site.

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