The George Inn Potton
George Inn: 9 - 11 Market Square, Potton
As can be seen from the references below, the George was clearly an old building. It is interesting to note that the Inn at Woburn was originally called the George and was also a "hospicium", a hostelry, in that case of the Cistercian foundation of Woburn Abbey. The monastic link does not seem to be present in Potton. The town did not have an abbey or priory and, although a religious house from London, the Friars Minor of Aldgate, held the lordship of a manor, it was the Manor of Potton Rectory, whereas the George was part of the Manor of Potton Much Manured. The only religious link with this latter manor is that the lord in the early 14th century was the Bishop of Lichfield.
The inn was an important part of the life of the town as it is referred to as a great inn in 1703 when it, as part of the Manor, was owned by the Burgoyne family. At some point in the 18th century the inn ceased to exist. Later references to a George seem to be the George & Dragon (q.v.) and the list of licences of alehouses etc. from 1822 to 1828 certainly refer to the George & Dragon. One theory is that the inn was destroyed in the Great Fire of Potton of 14 Aug 1783. In 1784 a book was published (a copy of which is in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service searchroom library) called: The General Account of the Losses and the State of the Collections and Distributions on Account of the Fire Which happened at Potton in the County of Bedford. The account notes the name of each person losing money by the fire, their profession and the amount lost (after insurance money), the following are included: - Hannah Carter, servant to Mr.Smith at the George: £1/2/-; - Elizabeth Rowney, servant to Mr.Smith at the George: £1/4/6; - John Smith, innholder and farmer: £704/13/2.
John Smith's losses are the eighth largest as one might expect if a large proportion of the inn and therefore its stock of alcohol was destroyed, not to mention loss of trade. The inn stood in the Market Place and it is known that a large proportion of dwellings there were damaged or destroyed. Smith would have been the lessee from the Burgoyne family and they would have borne the cost of the loss to the buildings themselves.
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1703: Francis Cotton;
1783: John Smith
- S8: "hospicio" in Potton called the George: 1581;
- W2089: "messuage or great inn" called the George as part of a settlement on the marriage of Roger Burgoyne and Constance Middleton: 1703;
- X439/45: mortgage from Sir Roger Burgoyne to William Kelynge of properties including George: 1735;
- W2103-2107: transfer of mortgage from mortgagees Sir John Evelyn, Jones Raymond and John Garth to new mortgagees Orlando Bridgeman, Ann his wife and Diana, Countess of Mountrath (Sir Roger Burgoyne the mortgagor): 1747, redeemed 1752;
- P64/5/1-4: bills from inn: C19;
Northamptonshire Mercury: advertisement to let inn: 1780