There is an in-depth article about the history of the ‘Red Lion’ at this link: Red
Lion.However, it has emerged that the building is older than was once thought (see
link: Antiquity of the ‘Red Lion’).
Also, whilst the first specific reference to a public house being there was in 1832,
when the building was advertised for sale in 1847, it was described as an ‘old established
public house’ which would indicate that it was probably an inn during the eighteenth
1663 - John Ritches taxed for two hearths.
1664 - owned by John Ritches, snr. - ‘one tenement and orchard with three acres of
pasture. Rent 18/-.
1673 - owned by John Ritches, jnr.
? - owned by Leonard King.
1704 - owned by Edward and Mary Swain (a messuage and three acres of pasture).
1714 - ‘Survey of Rents’ - owned by Edward Swain, previously Leonard King: Rent 18/-
1761 - ‘Survey of Rents’ - owned by Edward Swain.
1771 - owned by Stephen Swain
1793 - Stephen Swain adds an acre to the property from house on corner of School
Lane and Preston Green.
1795 - mortgaged to Kimpton farmer, Edward Bruton, for £500
1811 - mortgaged to Hitchin grocer, John Witney for £60.
1811 - sold to Joseph Saunderson for £290. He mortgaged the property to John Witney
1829 - mortgaged to Joseph Margetts Pierson and Henry Crabbe (of Temple Dinsley)
1833 - left to Harriet Saunderson (nee Swain), Joseph’s wife. The cottage now included
a shop - Harriet Saunderson was described as a ‘beer retailer in 1832’.
1844 - known as ‘The Lion’.
1847 - owned by William and Emma Brown.
1871 - owned by Emma Brown on death of husband, William.
1897 - owned by Luton brewers, John Green.
1962 - owned by Whitbreads
1982 - owned by the villagers of Preston.
(Note: The roof line of the Red Lion and the colour of its bricks indicate that there
was a small cottage added to the main building to the left as viewed. As the rent
of the property was constant since 1664, this may indicate that the smaller cottage
was also erected before this time and owned by John Ritches.)
An old established public house substantially built with two sitting rooms, shop,
taproom, kitchen, excellent cellarage and five bed rooms. It had numerous outbuildings,
a plentiful supply of water, a productive garden with fruit tree and two enclosures
of pasture measuring 4 ½ acres.
A brick slated house with cellars, bar, taproom, parlour, kitchen, scullery, three
bedrooms, two attics, and a wood and thatched barn.
Red brick darker with random blue headers in Flemish-bond and light red dressings
and gauged arches to older part. Steep old red tile roof half-hipped at east end.
Slate roof to C18 added rear lean-to. A 2-cells, 2-storeys, cellar and attics house
facing north with later separate one cell east house. Original house has symmetrical
north front with chamfered plinth, plat-band and wooden modillioned eaves cornice.
Moulded brick corbels to ends of cornice. Three windows long with central entrance.
Recessed sash windows with 6/6 panes and flat gauged arches. Four-panels flush beaded
door in heavy frame with small rectangular fanlight, 2 steps, and flat hood. East
part has plat-band, one 1st floor recessed sash window with flat arch. Half-glazed
four-panels flush-beaded door under cambered arch with canted bay window with casements
to left hand. Rear corner fireplace and south-west chimney added to west room: external
rear wall fireplace and chimney to east house. Difficult to determine original method
of heating older house, probably a large internal central chimney with stair to rear,
removed entirely and new stair put in later. First recorded as selling beer in Piggotts
Directory of 1832.
Historical descriptions of the Red Lion
Licensees/Managers of the ‘Red Lion’
Cottages on the south side of Preston Green
Maps of the south side of Preston Green: top, left - 1811; bottom, left - 1844 and
right - 1898
The Club House
Left to right: ‘Kenwood Cottage’, ‘The Club House’ and ‘Laburnum Lodge’
In 1910, it comprised a living room, kitchen, scullery and two bedrooms. It had a
wood and slated barn. It was owned by TG Fenwick of Temple Dinsley and in ‘good repair’.
1871 - 1881 William Jenkins
1891 - Elizabeth Burgess
1910 - W Hare
1911 - 1915c Arthur Wilson White
1951 - William Charles (to 1997) and Elizabeth Evelyn (Betty) Palmer (to
‘Kenwood Cottage’ was built in the middle of the nineteenth century, probably by
It is a two storey cottage constructed in red brickwork with a hipped slate roof.
The Club House and Laburnum Lodge
It is difficult to determine when ‘The Club House’ and the adjacent ‘Laburnum Lodge’
were built. A survey in 1973 recorded that they were both constructed in the seventeenth
century (indeed there is a spine beam in ‘Laburnum Lodge’ with the date 1653 inscribed).
The evidence of the manorial records is somewhat vague, but the ownership of the
two properties appears to rest with the Joyner family for more than a century, until
1794. (It is hard to construct a Joyner family tree as many were Baptists and their
births and burials do not therefore appear in the parish registers of St Mary’s,
The Joyners (somewhat appropriately) were carpenters and wheelwrights and it may
be that a Daniel Joyner - the first person associated with the two properties - was
The two homes are not recorded in the 1664 Survey of Temple Dinsley but are mentioned
in 1713 and in the Survey of 1714, when they had a combined rent of 1/-. By then,
they had been passed from Daniel to his son, John Joyner. Thus, the manorial record
suggests that the two homes were built between 1664 and 1714 - possibly towards the
end of the seventeenth century.
John Joyner, a cordwainer of Hitchin, bequeathed the property as follows in 1732
(summarised): I give my wife, Woolmerdine, my three freehold houses, heretofore but
one cottage and orchard situate and being at Preston in the parish of Hitchin in
the occupation of Anne Serjeant and Elizabeth Heath and now or late of John Cain,
Widow Anscin (sic) and Thomas Barker. After my wife’s death, I give the cottages
to my brother, Daniel Joyner.
The Club House: 1797 - 1911
Daniel Joyner died in 1797 and left ‘The Club House’ to Elizabeth, the wife of John
English, manorial rent 6d. The Preston Survey of around 1811 and the Temple Dinsley
Survey of 1816 show John English as the owner/occupier of ‘The Club House’, but Elizabeth
English died in 1822 and three years later, in 1825, Daniel Wilstead (aka Wilson)
was the occupier though the owner was still, ‘English’ - by the 1830’s the cottage
was owned by Joseph English. In 1844, he was renting it to William Sharpe and then
four years later, to Thomas Sharpe.
In 1871, the miller, Amos Sheppard, and his wife Elizabeth were living in the cottage
- and they continued to live there until the first years of the twentieth century.
During this period, ‘The Club House’ was also home to several Preston school mistresses,
such as Elizabeth Hunt.
I have referred to this cottage as ‘The Club House’ - however, the first ‘Club House’
at Preston was along Church Lane. The meeting venue had been changed to the property
at Preston Green by 1910 when it was owned by H G Fenwick and described as a brick,
slated and tiled cottage, used as a club room.
Laburnum Lodge, aka (from 2014)
In 1797, Daniel Joyner bequeathed Laburnum Lodge to Sarah, the wife of James Andrews.
Like ‘The Club House’, it also had a manorial rent of 6d. The Rates Book of 1806
and the Preston Survey of around 1811 show James Andrews as both the owner and occupier
of Laburnum Lodge but by 1825, the property had been purchased by the Dartons and
its tenant was Thomas Winch, who was still residing there in 1851 (‘past work’ and
depending on the parish).
When the Temple Dinsley Estate was sold in 1873, ‘Laburnum Lodge’ was occupied by
the families of farm labourers, James Jenkins and Joseph Harvey. Eleven years later,
in 1884 a weather-boarded barn had been added to the west end of the cottage (see
below) which was not shown in the Sales Particulars of 1873. ‘The Lodge was now the
village post office which was run by Mrs Louisa Smith, wife then widow of Amos, a
carpenter. However, by 1901, the post office was at ‘Spindle Cottage’ on the Hitchin
Road and the horse keeper, Thomas Peters, was living at ‘Laburnum Lodge’ with his
‘Laburnum Lodge’, Preston’s Post Office with Miss Louisa Smith outside. Note the
barn far right.
By 1910, the tenancy had passed to the gardener, Joseph Peters (69). His daughters,
Bertha and Annie were also living there and this was to be their home until the late
1960’s. RDV Pryor was now the owner. He had built ’The Laburnums’ (aka Pryor House)
in the 1890’s. It is probable that during this decade, ‘Laburnum Cottage’ was so
christened. In 1910, it was described as a ‘brick and tiled cottage with two living
rooms, a kitchen, scullery and three bedrooms’ and as being in ‘fair condition’.
The barn was noted as ‘wood and corrugated’.
Soon after 1910, the barn was demolished and a new cottage added to the west end
of ‘Laburnum Lodge’ - as can be seen from the photograph below.
For at least the last six decades, ‘The Club House’ and ‘Laburnum Lodge’ have existed
as one composite property. Occupiers:
1951 - 1966 - George W and Bertha E (nee Peters) Nash and Annie Christobel Peters.
1971 - George Nash alone
1981 - Anthony C and Anne P Field and Jennifer L Relph
1987 - 1991 - Lindsay R and Carol M Baines
In 1973, ‘The Club House’ was described as: ‘C17 and later; one storey and attics;
red brick gable end to front; band below gable and above ground floor; wood casements
in cambered heads; roof tiled. ‘Laburnum Lodge’: C17 and later; timber-framed and
roughcast plaster; one storey and attics; two gabled dormers; roof tiled; including
C19 cottage adjoining to the west, all now one cottage.
‘Laburnum Lodge’ has recently been described thus: “House. C17 or earlier, east crosswing
c.1700, higher west part C19 (Note: demonstrably not so - see above. Rather post
1910). Timber frame roughcast. Crosswing in plum brick irregular Flemish-bond with
many blue headers and red/blue segmental arches. Steep old red tile roofs. A T-shaped
house of 1½ storeys facing north. Lobby entrance beside chimney at junction with
east crosswing now altered to window and entrance into west extension. Later internal
west gable chimney before west extension which itself has an internal west gable
chimney. Irregular north front with 2 windows to centre and a third narrower window
in blocked doorway on left. Small-panes casement windows throughout. 2 gabled dormer
windows at eaves, the left hand one projecting a little over top of what appears
to have been a projecting bay window. Large T-plan chimney in narrow brick with bold
corbelled cap. Brick east wing has steep front gable with moulded gable parapet on
corbelled kneelers, plat band, and low plinth. Moulded cavetto band over 2-lights
1st floor casement with deep segmental arch. Similar window to ground floor with
similar arch over door on left with plank door and heavy frame. West extension higher
but still 1½ storeys with flat topped 3-lights dormer at eaves. 3-lights casement
below, and plank door to left under gabled tiled hood on curved brackets. East side
of crosswing has plat-band stepping up over segmental arch of window to rear part,
blocked doorway, and blocked window to front part. Large internal south gable chimney
to east wing.”
Recent side and rear views of ‘Laburnum Lodge’
‘Pryor House’ aka ‘The Laburnums’
‘The Laburnums’ was built by Ralston de Vins Pryor in the 1890s. In 1910 it was noted
as a ‘brick and tiled house with a drawing room, dining room, kitchen, scullery,
laundry room and wc on the ground floor and a bathroom and four bedrooms on the first
floor. In 1915, Mr Pryor’s brother, Gerard Pryor, was renting part of the first floor.
After RDV Pryor’s death in 1945, the house was owned by David FG and Elizabeth Sadler
in 1951, while there was evidently a caravan in the grounds which was home to Robert
and Elizabeth Collett. Five years later, its residents were Stewart and Rosemary
E McConville who probably re-christened it, ‘Pryor House’. Richard T and Victoria
A Sowerby owned the house from around 1980 until the early 1990’s and John and Nina
M Derkach were living there in 1996.
Cottages on the North Side of Preston Green
Cottages on the South side of Preston Green
Fig Tree Cottage
For almost a century, Fig Tree Cottage (134, 1576 and 3765 above) and its adjoining
neighbour, Vine Cottage (133,1575 and 3767 above), were bundled together and shared
1664 - owned by Edward King at Preston Green ‘one messuage (and) a cottage and orchard
at Preston Green. Total manorial rent for the two properties: 6/-
1665 - owned by Robert King, from brother Edward, at Preston Green with an orchard
1681 - owned by Matthew Watts at Preston Green with an orchard
1685 - owned by John Heath jnr. at Preston Green with an orchard
1701 - owned by William Joyner at Preston Green with an orchard
1714 - ‘Survey of Rents’ owned by William Joyner
1742 - left to William Joyner’s sons, John and Daniel
From the second half of the eighteenth century, Fig Tree Cottage and Vine Cottage
had different owners.
Fig Tree Cottage:
1773 - owned by James Joyner (died 1804), inherited from father, Daniel.
1798 - 1800. The cottage appears to be known as Merritt’s House (ie John Merritt.
He was the woodwain of
Wain Wood from at least 1739 - 1767. Thus, he probably rented Fig Tree
Cottage during some, if not
all of this time.)
1804 - owned by Thomas Wilstead/Wilson. There is a note in the manorial record that
James Joyner sold
the cottages to Thomas but that this transaction was not surrendered to
the Court . Fig Tree Cottage
was now known as ‘that cottage with the wheelwright and blacksmith’s shop,
barn, yard, garden and orchard lying and being at Preston Green’ with
a rent of 3/6d. (Vine Cottage rent, 2/6 - making a total
of 6/- for the two properties)
1807 - occupied by the wheelwright, John Wilstead
1811 - In the Preston Survey it was noted that John Wilstead was the owner/occupier
1825 - By now, the property had been acquired by the Wilshire family (who were to
own it for almost a
century) and it was occupied by Thomas Wilstead, wheelwright (born 1781c)
1844 - The tithe map and award confirmed that the owner/occupier of Fig Tree Cottage
unchanged since 1825
1835 - owned by Daniel Wilstead/Wilson ‘of Preston’, eldest son of Thomas Wilstead.
He mortgaged this to Elizabeth Darton for £60.
1861 - 1880s occupied by David Smith (father of Amos Smith - see Laburnum Lodge)
who was a
grocer/butcher. The 1884 sketch map shows the building beside the road
(see maps above) as a carpenter’s shed and that the building to the north
of the shed, was a barn.
1880s - 1911 - occupied by Frances Cannon, a master wheelwright and grocer
In 1910, the Inland Revenue Survey noted that Fig Tree Cottage was owned by Miss
E Wilshire of Welwyn and comprised a brick and tiled cottage with living room, kitchen,
scullery, pantry and three bedrooms. It was in poor condition.
1911 - 1960c Fig Tree Cottage continued to be occupied by first Frances Cannon and
then his son, Ernest Cannon.
1971 - occupied by Frank J and Marjorie Pugh (who had moved from ‘Red Roofs’ on Back
Lane). Now, the cottage is known as ‘Fig Tree Cottage’ for the first time.
The Pughs were to move on to nearby ‘Applegarth’ and ‘Pippins’.
1981 - occupied by Leonard C and Winifred J Payne
1987 - occupied by Ronald B and Christine S Cull
1996 - occupied by Malcolm R and Ann E Lowle
It has recently been assessed thus: “C16 former open hall house, floor and chimney
inserted in late C16, south bay with its rear outshut probably C17, C18 brick casing
of walls with wall heightened in framing to 2-storeys in older part of house. Timber
frame roughcast with ground floor front of red brick in Flemish-bond. Steep old red
tile roof, part of rear slope slated. A 2-storeys house facing east, partly overlapped
at north by a low link and Vine Cottage. 2 windows on each floor. 3-lights flush
casement windows with rectangular quarries in the leaded glazing. Canted oriel window
to left of battened front door. Small window to right of door. Internal chimney a
third from north end marking the older part of the house. Internal gable chimney
added to formerly unheated south bay. Interior has studs on former south wall of
hall exposed as a screen with peg hole in post for bench support. Elaborate moulded
axial beam with central roll, and ogee, reserved chamfer and hollow on each side.
Scratch moulding on soffit of joists. Beam carried on post rather than jointed into
horizontal timbers of original frame. A
2-bays hall originally.’
Fig Tree Cottage
For almost a century until 1742, ‘Vine Cottage’ and ‘Fig Tree Cottage’ had common
owners. See Link: Fig Tree Cottage.
? - owned by Thomas Crawley, snr.
1766 - owned by Thomas Crawley, jnr - a house and orchard - evidently including
what was to be ‘Peter’s Cottage’.
1778 - owned by Joseph Pedder, snr - a carpenter. Rent 2/6d
1797 - occupied by Joseph Pedder. Part of the property appears to be occupied by
Widow Geary (died 1804)
1802 - Joesph Pedder snr died and left ‘Vine Cottage’ to son, Joseph Pedder jnr.
1808 - owned and occupied by Joseph Pedder jnr. He mortgaged it to John Witney for
£90 in 1813.
1811c - Preston Survey shows Joseph Pedder jnr as owner/occupier.
1819 - owned by William Sheaf of St Pauls Walden, who purchased the cottage for £144.
1825 - now the holding has been modified. ‘Vine Cottage’ A is occupied by Thomas
The carpenter’s shop B is now a home occupied by Joseph Peters. This cottage
will be referred to
as ‘Peter’s Cottage’. (Note from the map below, there is no connecting
building between the two
properties in around 1811.)
1836 - The whole plot shown as 133 on the map shown above was sold to Thomas Harwood
Darton. It comprised: A ‘Vine Cottage’ (which had been divided into two cottages
occupied by Joseph English and
Henry Swainton/Swinston) and B ‘Peter’s Cottage’ (which had been converted by William
Sheaf from a carpenter’s shop into two cottages and which were occupied by John and
Joseph Peters, shoemaker).
1844 - 1851 - ‘Vine Cottage’ was occupied by Thomas English, grocer.
1861 - occupied by James Swain (ag lab) and William Winch
1871 - occupied James Swain
1873 - occupied by James Swain and Charles Hilton. ‘Vine Cottage’ was sold to the
1870s - 1930c - occupied by Frederick A Robinson, tailor (born 1847)
1910 - The Inland Revenue Survey described ‘Vine Cottage’ as being a wood, thatched
and tiled shop with a kitchen, living room, two storerooms and four bedrooms.
It was owned by RDV Pryor. So, ’Vine Cottage’ once again incorporated
1920s - also occupied by Harry (died 1950) and Margaret (nee Robinson, died 1959)
1950 - occupied by William (Bill, died 1993) and Rose (nee Worthington, died 1997)
(Link: Bill Stanley). Thus, three generations of one family occupied ‘Vine
Cottage’ for almost 120 years.
2001 - Paul D and Helen M Craft
‘Vine Cottage ‘ has been described thus:
1973 - ‘C17-C18. Two storeys, timber-framed, some brick. Roof tiled. Modern shop
and Post Office built on East side’.
‘House. Early C18. Red brick in Flemish-bond, plastered at front, timber frame West
gable triangle now cased in red brick. Steep old red tile roof. A 2-storeys, 2-cells,
end-chimney-plan house facing south, with entrance into larger east room with internal
east gable chimney and winding stair formerly beside chimney on north side. South
front has low stucco plinth, 2 windows to each floor and door between lowest windows.
2-light flush casement windows with small panes. Segmental arch to window on right
of 3/4 glazed door. Interior has exposed chamfered axial beam with joists squared
on both floors and evidence for plaster ceiling to roofslope for attics in loft.
Blocked small west gable window. Lean-to rear outshut and new stair outside rear
wall in tilehung enclosure. Two storeys east crosswing containing shop - not of special
Rear of ‘Vine Cottage’ in 1965
Peters’ Cottage and Village Shop
I have coined the name ‘Peters’ Cottage’ for this property as Joseph Peters ran his
shoemaking business here for the majority of the nineteenth century. The story of
how this was converted from a carpenter’s shop to a home is told above at this link:Peters’ Cottage.
However, it is possible that this property was inhabited before this conversion.
From 1797, the run of entries in rates books indicate that there was a home between
William Swain’s holding on the south side of Blacksmiths Lane and Vine Cottage. It
had an annual rental value of 2/-. The annual rates that applied to ‘Peters’ Cottage’
were also 2/- (other annual rateable values for adjacent properties varied from 1/-
to 3/-) The occupier in 1797 was John Brown (a soldier) and he is mentioned in five
rates books between 1797 and 1814. John Brown was probably the grandson of John Heath
who lived in this immediate area in the early 1700s. He was the ‘kinsman’ of Daniel
Joyner who died in 1794 and his executor.
Joseph and Sarah (nee Joyner) Peters and family lived in this cottage until 1883.
As well as Joseph’s shoemaking business, Sarah ran a Plaiting School from this property.
(Link: Peters) By 1898, ‘Peters’ Cottage’ was Frederick Robinson’s shop and it continued
as the village shop well into the twentieth century. Eventually it was demolished
and a new shop was built in its place. The shop was associated with the Robinson/Worthington/Stanley
dynasty until the late 1990s