Earliest information: 1780
Date of current building:
Listed: Grade II
The Red Lion coaching inn --> various restaurants
Description of property:
From Listed Building records: House now Public House. C18 and 19 with C20 alterations. Tiled roof hipped to left, gabled cross wing to right, large chimney to rear, dentil course to eaves. Part painted render and part painted brick. L plan with hipped extension in angle. 2 storeys. irregularly spaced glazing bar sashes, C20 casements and blocked openings to left, one glazing bar sash above C20 door under gable to right.
- La Primavera, Nov 2011
- Charnham Street, c1905, showing the Red Lion.
- Charnham Street, c1910
- Charnham Street, c1920
- Floods in Charnham Street, 16 May 1932
- Gordon's, 16 Charnham St, 24.8.2001
- Casanova Restaurant, Jun 2010
The Red Lion was one of the many coaching inns along the Bath Road through Hungerford. The date it started is not yet known. The red lion symbol comes from the arms of John of Gaunt,
Landlords before 1780 (according to the 1816 deed, see below) include:
- Thomas Bell,
- Joseph Coxhead
1780 Land Tax Assessment: 6s 5½d was paid by Mr Thomas Wells "for the Red Lion" - Mrs Pool was the occupier.
It seems that Mrs Pool (or Poole) acquired the Red Lion in her own right, as in 1781 she paid the same Land Tax "for the Red Lyon Alehouse" - herself as occupier.
1794 Universal British Directory: "In Charnham Street is a well accustomed inn, known by the sign of the Black Bear, and two smaller ones, the White Hart and the Red Lion".
1796 Berkshire Directory: Henry Blake
- Mary Blake (widow of Henry Blake) (see 1816 Deed)
- Richard Smith (see 1816 Deed)
1815 Land Tax Assessment: William George for Red Lion Inn, occupied by Thomas Smith, 7s 4½d.
1816 (Deed in BRO D/EM T182) Lease and release 6th/7th March 1816, between Mr George Barnard of Wantage, brewer of the 1st part, and John Francis Spenlove of Abingdon, brewer and Benjamin Morland of Abingdon, gent of the 2nd part, .... All that
1. Messuage, tenement or inn in Wantage known by the sign of the Bear Inn, and brewhouse...
2. Also messuage, now 2 cottages in Wantage
3. Also cottage .. in Goosey, Berks, also orhard and garden in Goosey,
4. Also all that messuage, tenement or inn with the brewhouse, millhouse, new erected building stables, backhouse yard and garden thereunto belonging situate standing lying and being on the north side of Charnham Street in the parish of Hungerford, but in the Co. of Wilts and know by the name and sign of the Red Lion Inn formerly in the occupation of Thomas Bell, after that Joseph Coxhead, since of Mary Poole , then late of Henry Blake, since of Mary Blake his widow, now or late in occupation of Richard Smith, a messuage or tenement formerly of Edward Smith and since of Peter Parker standing on the east and an orchard and yard formerly of Richard Savors next adjoining on the west side thereof.
5. Also ... [several other properties in Longworth and Stanford in the Vale]
1817 Pew Rent Book: includes "No. 22: unto Richard Smith for his house called the Red Lion Inn in his own occupation."
1823-44 Pigot: Francis Caiger
The story of the tame raven, 1833:
The "Red Lion" Inn at Hungerford had once a remarkable tame Raven of which the following curious anecdote is related in Handcock's Essay on Instinct (1833) (reprinted in the Parish magazine of June 1887:
"Coming into the inn yard my chaise ran over and bruised the leg of my Newfoundland dog, and while we were examining the injury the Raven was evidently a concerned spectator, for the minute the dog was tied up under the manger with my horse, the Raven not only visited him, but brought him bones, and attended on him with particular and repeated marks of kindness. I observed it to the ostler, who told me that the bird had been brought up with a dog, and that the affection between them was mutual, and all the neighbourhood had seen instances of their many reciprocal acts of kindness. The dog after a while broke his leg, and during the long time he was confined to his kennel, the Raven waited on him continually, carried him his provisions and scarcely ever left him alone. One night by accident the stable door had been shut, and the Raven had been deprived of the company of his friend the whole night, but the ostler found in the morning the door so pecked away that had it not been opened in another hour, the Raven would have made his own entrance. The Landlady confirmed this account and mentioned several other acts of kindness shewn by the bird to all dogs in general, but particularly to such as were maimed or wounded."
1841 Census: Francis Caiger (50), inn keeper, wife Hannah (60), 2 sons, 1 daughter, 2 servants, 1 lodger.
1844 Snare's Dir: F Caiger, Red Lion, Charnham Street.
1847 Kelly: Mark Palmer - (also fishmonger)
1847 Snare: J. Oram - innkeeper (& fishmonger)
1850 Slater: Charles Dubber - tavern & PH
1851 Census: [Position unclear here - needs further confirmation]:
#54: I think this is Kennett Cottages lodging house.
#55: Cicely Walker (56), laundress, 1 daughter, 1 grand-daughter, 3 lodgers. (I think this is 12 Charnham St)
#56: John Osmond (64), baker, wife Sarah (62), 1 grand-son. (I think this is 13 Chanham St)
#57: William Cruse (40), butcher, wife Anne (35).
#58: John Holdway (51) innkeeper (sic!), wife Sarah (49), 2 sons, 1 niece, 2 lodgers. (I think this is 16 Charnham St). John Holdway was later at 14 Charnham St.
1854 Billing: John Hawkins
1861 Census: William Dyke (44), innkeeper, wife Sarah (46), niece, 1 lodger.
1863 Dutton & Allen: William Dyke (ex The Plough!)
1864 Billing: John Hawkins - victualler
1869 PO Dir: Edward Hedges, Red Lion & carpenter, Charnham Street.
1869 Kelly: Edward Hedges (also carpenter)
1871 Census #88: "Lion Inn": Frederick Hedges (26), carpenter and innkeeper, wife Sarah (26), 2 sons, 2 daughters, 2 servants.
1881 Census: #88: Thomas White (30), inn keeper, wife Ellen (24), 1 son, 1 servant.
1877-91 Kelly: James Withers
1891 Kelly: William James Withers, Red Lion PH.
1891 Census: Mary Withers (34), (Widow), Inn keeper. 1 son, 1 visitor, 2 lodgers.
1894 Charnham Street Floods: Marlborough Times of 17th November 1894 reported "...the inhabitants of the houses between the Bear and Mr. Gibbon's Iron Foundry were, if anything, in a worse plight. Mr Pinchen's house near the Fire Station was flooded, as was also the Engine House. Mr. Skinner's shop and dining room had nearly 2ft. of water in them, and boxes and confectionery bottles were floating about. The whole of Faulkner Square was under water, and had the appearance of a large lake. All the houses in the square were flooded, and the inhabitants had to remove upstairs, provisions, where needed, being drawn up in baskets. Mr. Hidden was a considerable sufferer, as to carpets and furniture. Mr. Edmonds and Mr. Pearce had their underground kitchens invaded, and as their supply of provisions and fuel were in them, they were cut off from food and firing. In the houses of Mr. Wren and Mr. Gibbons, the water rose to a great height, and the fire in the grate at Mr. Gibbons's was put out. Mrs. Withers, too, at the Red Lion Inn, had a terrible time of it, and the houses of Mr. Andrews, Mr. Lamsden, Mr. Buxey, and Mr. Joyce were also flooded."
1895 Kelly Dir: Mrs. Mary Ellen Withers, Red Lion PH, Charnham Street.
1900 Cosburn: Mrs. Withers
1901 Census: "The Red Lion Inn": Mary Ellen Withers (41), Innkeeper, with son, boarders and servants.
1903-20 Kelly: Thomas Frederick Wheeler
1906 Cosburn's Dir: F Wheeler, 'Red Lion' inn.
1911 Census: #103: "The Red Lion": Thomas Wheeler (48), house painter, wife Mary (50), 1 step-son, 3 boarders, 2 servants (both work at public house), 11 rooms.
1916 Cosburn's Dir: T F Wheeler, Red Lion Inn.
1920 Kelly Dir: Thomas Frederick Wheeler, Red Lion PH, Charnham Street.
1928-39 Kelly: Herbert Walter Hunt.
Charnham Street floods, 16 May 1932: The Red Lion, like so many properties in Charnham Street, was frequently flooded until the middle of the 20th century. Families got used to "pumping-out" their premises and homes. One well-recorded flood was on 16 May 1932, when Charnham Street was under several inches of water.
There is a photo from the 1930s of Bert and Cissie Hunt standing at the front (central on Charnham Street) door.
1939 Blacket's Dir: "Red Lion" (H W Hunt).
1940 Blacket's Dir: "Red Lion", H W Hunt
During the 1990s the Red Lion became a number of restaurants, including:-
June 1990 - The Toad and Trout
c1995 - The Damn Yankee
c2000 - Gordon's Restaurant and Bar (closed Jan 2003)
2003 - Casanova Italian Restaurant and Pizza, owned by Alessandro Zompetti, (closed Jan 2011, and re-opened Feb 2011 in The Three Swans Hotel)
Nov 2011 La Primavera Italian Public House and Italian Kitchen (Town and Country Pub Ltd) (opened 25 Nov).
2 Apr 2013 Town and Country Pub Co Ltd in administration. La Primavera operating in receivership.
10 Dec 2013 La Primavera closed.
Dec 2015: Bella Vita, Italian Restaurant opened.
Feb 2020: No. 16 restaurant opened.
- Advert for Gordon's Restaurant, Mar 2001
- Parish Magazine, Jun 1887