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The Three Queens Inn
The site of the former Three Queens Inn.
The Three Queens Inn was situated at the crossing of Sewstern Lane and the Salt Way.
The name just might have referred to Margaret Tudor, Mary Tudor and Catherine of Aragon, three sisters – although one was a sister-in-law – who became the queens of Scotland, France, and England, respectively.
However until recent centuries the word 'queen' did not simply refer to the wife of the king. Traditionally, the word 'queen' had connotations of 'whore'. So, at the very least, the meaning of Old English cwen and Middle English quene overlapped with the modern expression 'gold digger'.
Almost certainly the Three Queens Inn's name alluded to the 'ladies of pleasure' who might be encountered there. Conceivably there were three matriarchal women running the establishment and brewing the ale.
Being on a county boundary meant that the forces of law and order (more strictly county-based than in recent times) could never arrest anyone for illegal activities because merely stepping into the 'other' county would evade any constables.
The location on the crossing to two important routeways meant that this inn would have been used by drovers. They were regarded as rather rough characters, although trusted with very large sums of money on the return 'leg' of their journeys.
The first refences to the Three Queens Inn are as far back as the fifteenth century. However around the 1860s railways replaced traditional droving of livestock and drovers' inns struggled for custom. Sometime before the 1930s the inn was converted into two cottages and renamed as either 'Queens Farm' or 'Three Queens Farm'. As was typical for rural properties at that time, there was no water or electricity.
The two cottages were bought by the then-owners of Hungerton Hall in 1939 and demolished in the late 1940s or 1950s. This is entirely consistent with the demolition of other poor-quality buildings at that time as the government offered grants for the demolition of sub-standard homes – and would fine landlords to did not improve such properties. Bringing them up to an acceptable standard was not a practical option.
The last occupants of the farm were the Gleeson family. They moved there in 1914 and stayed until about 1949, according to Fred Gleeson, who was born in 1918 and still alive in 1996.
My thanks to Mr and Mrs Lambley for sending me a copy of letters published in the Grantham Journal of 31 May 1996 and 7 June 1996 which provide useful information about the history of Three Queens Farm.
The Three Kings
The Three Kings Inn in 2022.
Fred Gleeson's published remarks in 1996 draw attention to another inn on the Salt Way. This is about 14 miles to the east and also on the Salt Way. It is known as the Three Kings Inn.
Quite possibly one of the reasons the Three Queens Inn was so named was because it mimicked the Three Kings.
The Three Kings Inn is in the village of Threekingham. It's an obvious pun. Even though coining this contrived moniker required conscripted kings. Until recent years the name was spelt Threckingham. The earliest spellings of the place-name are Trichingeham which translates as 'the homestead (ham) of the dependents of (ingas) someone called Trycan. There are several other ingas names nearby, such as Helpingham and Folkingham, which also incorporate a personal name.
Threckingham is not on a county boundary. But it is adjacent to the boundary between North Kesteven and South Kesteven, with the former Parts of Holland to the east. To include all the parish of Threckingham in North Kesteven there is a 'bulge' in the boundary, so North Kesteven extends south of the A52 (Salt Way).
A medieval fair took place annually a mile to the south of the village at Stow Hill. Such annual fairs are often located on the boundaries of hundreds or counties.
The Durham Ox
About fourteen miles to the west of the former Three Queens the same Roman road and Salt Way crosses a different north-south droving route. And, until 1974, was on the boundary between Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. This north-south route is the Fosse Way, now the A46. And there was also an inn, called the Durham Ox. The name is associated with many pubs on droving routes.
Until the late nineteenth century the Durham Ox was situated in a small area of extra-parochial grazing where no less than eight parishes came together like the slices of a pie.
In more recent years it was known as the Six Hills Hotel and currently as Carpenters (a Christian rehabilitation facility).
The Durham Ox Inn depicted in the frontispiece to Leicestershire and its Hunts by Charles Simpson (published by John Lane in 1926).
Six Hills in the late 1940s. Photograph by Mr F. Lumbers. From Leicestershire by Guy Paget and Lionel Irvine, published Robert Hale 1950.
The Durham Ox changed its name to the Six Hills Hotel in 1950. The A46 was widened to a dual carriageway in 1964. The building was extended in 1954, 1964 and again about 1990.
The Six Hills Hotel in September 2002. Photograph by Bob Trubshaw.
Fourteen miles a day?
In case you haven't already spotted, the Three Kings Inn is about fourteen miles from the Three Queens Inn which in turn is about fourteen miles from the Durham Ox.
Does that mean that drovers expected to travel about fourteen miles in a day? Seems plausible…
If you know of any similar inns on county boundaries and/or crossings of Roman roads then please email me:– email@example.com.
If you think I've got something wrong – or can add additional information or photographs – then please email me:– firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Articles about BarrowbyBarrowby's location and geology
Seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Articles and web links for nearby places
rare seventeenth fonts at Muston, Bottesford and Orston from Project Gargoyle Newsletter 2020
Ironstone quarries of Leicestershire
The Grantham Canal
Croxton Kerrial manor house excavations