25 Jul 2018
Celebrating 408 years of history at the Bull
I find reviews fascinating. The vast majority of people who come and stay with us know what they’re going to get: a warm friendly welcome, great service, accommodation comfortably in the 3-star bracket, lovely food probably a bit above that and the odd creaky floor befitting a building first officially documented in 1473! Their reviews of the Bull and of Burford are based very much on those expectations.
Every now and then we welcome a guest who is clearly more used to ‘modern’ than ‘historic’! Usually they leave days later totally won over by the charms of our historic coaching inn, but for others floors and walls simply need to be at a right angle, and I can’t do anything for them!
Did you know: we moved in 1610!
I recently stumbled over some historical dates and information and thought I’d share them. A house is first documented at 105 High Street from 1473, when the prominent Burford merchant John Pinnock left it first to his son and granddaughter, and then to the parish church.
Having been used during the reformation as a butcher’s shop, in 1610 John Silvester moved the existing Bull Inn from 111–113 High Street to 105 High Street and set about renovating certain parts of the building, including the 17th-century fireplaces and panelling.
So as an inn, the building has been receiving guests ever since 1610 – that’s 408 years! Famous visitors have included Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton (the Trafalgar Suite is named in memory of their stay) as well as King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwynne. And a few more in recent years.
The only red brick building in Burford
The striking brick and stone façade (the Bull is the only red brick building in Burford High Street) was added in the 18th century, probably around 1715 by the innkeeper William Tash. Half a century later, in 1768, £196 was spent on further building work.
The inn was sold by the charity trustees in or after 1820 and by 1910 was owned by Clinch & Co. of Witney. The building suffered a fire in 1982 but it remained open as an inn until it was condemned for fire and safety reasons in 2007, at which point we bought it and took on and completed a major renovation project!
Nine years after we re-opened it, the Bull is now once more a thriving inn with a friendly welcome, comfortable rooms, wonderful food and happy guests. But remember, no building over 600 years old doesn’t have the odd squeaky floor!