The history of the Crown Inn, Elton

Following our last blog exploring the history of Elton village, click here to read, we are taking a closer look at the history of the Crown Inn and how it became the bed and breakfast it is today.

The first known publican of the Crown Inn was believed to be William Courson in the 17th century, however, little detail of his ownership remains.

In the mid to late 1600s, ownership of Elton Hall and it’s surrounding lands passed from the Sapcote to the Proby Family. In around 1760, John Proby, took the newly formed title of 1st Earl of Carysfort and gained ownership of the inn. In 1780 his farm bailiff, by the name of John Goodwin, became innkeeper. Later records show that the Crown Inn stayed within the Goodwin family for the next few decades. In September 1831 the Huntingdonshire court archives show a conviction against William Goodwin, the innkeeper at the time, for allowing three men to drink on his premises during a Sunday afternoon… thank goodness times have changed!

SEP 1831. Conviction: William Goodwin of the “Crown” public house, Elton, victualler, fined £5 (mitigated to £2.10.0. for first offence) and 10/- costs for allowing Henry Gaskell, Thomas Barr and Daniel Parish to tipple on his premises on Sunday afternoon during Church hours.

The next innkeeper is recorded in 1854 as James Shawcross, although little is known about this time, records suggest that the Crown Inn hosted several local property auctions and criminal inquests.

In 1906, William Morris became the new innkeeper of the Crown. His son Billy Morris recalls the visits from weekend anglers and commercial travellers; “it was my job to pick them up and take them to villages in the area” from Elton or Peterborough station, “with a horse and buggy”.

“My father kept two horses and also pigs. My mother kept fowl, geese and the odd turkey in the field attached to the Crown.” Billy explains, “It was my job to shut them up in the hen house at night, one night I forgot, and on that particular night a fox came and had the lot, leaving them scattered all over the field.”

A major fire broke out at the Crown in 1984, requiring extensive refurbishments throughout the building to repair the damage. Bob Hidderly took over as landlord a year later and ran the inn with his family for the next twenty years until the current owner, Marcus Lamb became the freehold landlord.

In his first few years at the Crown Inn, Marcus transformed an old upstairs restaurant and two rooms at the rear of the pub into five letting bedrooms. Marcus and his family worked hard to modernise the Crown, whilst maintaining its original features. The Inn underwent restorations; exposing the original stonework and fitting a new bar to replicate its original before the fire. In 2013 Marcus converted the previous staff accommodation into three more luxury bedrooms, and today The Crown Inn has eight, five-star rated, bedrooms.

A chef by trade, Marcus places great emphasis on dining and sourcing high quality, local produce. Everything on the menu, which is regularly changed to accommodate Marcus’ genuine passion for cooking, is made fresh to order. From homemade breakfast sausages to the Crown Inn’s home-brewed bitter, there’s something for everyone, to suit any occasion.

Explore our website to browse our current menus, take a 360 tour of our accommodation or discover more about our local attractions.

Thanks to:

Elton Parish Council: A short history of Elton

British History: Parishes | Elton

Royal Oak Elton: Roots Chat Forum

National Archives