Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A street of ill repute

Parsons Street in Banbury was once the rough end of town and well populated with "ladies of the night". Situated here is one of Banbury's oldest and most interesting pubs - Ye Olde Reine Deer Inn.

Now more commonly known as The Reindeer Inn, it is a Hook Norton Pub and John was delighted to find Hooky Dark when we visited on Sunday.

In the mid 16th C, a baker lived there - in what is the nearest end of the pub in the photo above. He then extended his house, buying an adjoining cottage, demolishing it and building a new eastern part (left in photo). It became an inn sometine during this time.

The English Civil War now took over the countryside (including a battle at Cropredy Bridge) and part of the then most significant inn in Banbury became an HQ for Oliver Cromwell. The Globe Room was one of the last additions to the inn - used as a meeting place for important people and so attracted the Parliamentarian.

It was also used as a court room for a number of Royalist trials - an engraving shows Cromwell in front of the great mullioned window, sitting in judgement on a captive. It is thought he used the room to plan his seige on Banbury Castle - this once stood on the site of Castle Quay shopping centre - long before James Brindley was even a sparkle in his father's eye! Little did the towns folk dream of the industrial revolution and the canal age about 100 years later!

The mullioned window (right out of photo) is bordered by oak pillars and carved oak doorways - beautiful and the fireplace is also a remarkable example of carved wood. It was set up for a function when we visited - a lovely room for any celebration I should think.

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