The Castle Inn, High Pavement, Nottingham.1


AT page 83 of Volume XIX of the Transactions, mention is made of the Castle Inn in the High Pavement, Nottingham.

It was undoubtedly an ancient and leading hostelry, which for many years played no unimportant part in the history of the town, and there is reason to believe that it was a house patronized not only by leading visitors and county people, but also by the Mayor and corporation of the town and others, for dinners, etc., and most probably by the county justices and persons attending sessions and assizes.

It was situated adjoining the Shire Hall where the County Police Station now stands, and therefore was midway between St. Mary's Church and the old Town Hall.

The first reference to the Castle Inn is in Volume IV. page 435, of the Borough Records, where we find— "Castle  Inn—A.D.  1616-17 on the High Pavement; 3392. p. 13."

This has reference to one of the Hall books wherein is recorded the enrolment of an indenture dated 4th October, 1616, in the 14th year of the reign of James I., made between Robert Porter of Oxton, gentleman, executor of the last will and testament of Elizabeth Bellstropp, late of the town of Nottingham, widow deceased, of the first part, Thomas Bellstropp of Nottingham, gentleman, "Survivor of ye sayd last will and testament" of the second part, and Wm. Bellstropp of Whatton, gentleman, and Robert Porter of Bingham, gentleman, father of the said Robert Porter of Oxton, of the third part, whereby in consideration of £100 Robert Porter the son with the consent of Thomas Bellstropp granted bargained and sold to William Bellstropp and Robert Porter, the father,

"All that messuage or tenement and garden and backsyde to ye same adjoyninge and belonginge with all ye rights members and appurtenancies thereunto belonginge sytuate lyinge and beinge within ye sayd towne of Nottingham in or neere to one streete there comonly called ye Highe Pavement adjoyninge to a messuage there called and knowne by the name of the syne of ye Castle on ye parte west; and ye land of Gilbert Bowne Gent, on ye East; and abbuttinge on ye Highe Pavement aforesayd towards ye North and on ye Narrow Marshc towarde ye South and now or late in ye several houldings or occupacions of George Wood and Theodosis Ffillingham wydowe or of theyr assynes." The property is also described in the indenture as "lately the inheritance of the said Elizabeth Bellstropp and by her last will and testament devised and appoynted to be sould within one yeare next after her decease." It will be observed that the property is said to be situate between the Castle Inn and land belonging to Gilbert Bowne.

This land of Gilbert Bowne must mean the house and premises given to the county justices and converted into a Nisi Prius Court in 1618. (See Thoroton Transactions, Volume XIX., pages 79, 80.)2

Blackner in a footnote on page 58 gives the measurements of the county property in the High Pavement as follows:—

The Old Hall


271/2 feet in front.

Sergeant Bown's house


40 feet.

The County House bought of Julius Hutchinson


491/2 feet.



117 feet.

which was the frontage of the new Shire Hall erected in 1770.

There is little or no room for doubt that Mrs. Bellstropp's property was the site on which the County House was subsequently erected, but no record of the sale of the Bellstropp property either to Gilbert Bown or to Sir Thomas Hutchinson, the father of Mr. Julius Hutchinson, has been discovered.3

The Castle Inn appears to have been a two storey building with a yard and a gallery on chamber floor around it.

The earliest tenant that can be traced was George Wyneford who held it in 1585, when it was taken for less than a year by "Wydow" Woodroffe. These two paid £26s. 8d. a year. Then Widow Newton rented it from 1585-1603 for £3 6s. 8d. John Freeman4 then took it on until 1621 when under threat of the rent being raised to £4, he gave it up to Henry Spencer who paid £4. Spencer was succeeded in 1630 by Thomas Malen5 who was in occupation in 1653.

The following are copies of subsequent entries:—


19th December, 1666. Robert Maylyn,6 inn-holder, a capital messuage called the Castle on the south side of the High Pavement.


11 Sept., 1684. John Machin, gentleman, a tenement known by the sign of the Castle on the south side of the High Pavement.


6 Sept., 1715. Lionel Lamb,6 gentleman, a capital messuage on the south side the High Pavement, the sign of the Castle.

In a manuscript (unprinted) incorporated with the Deering manuscripts, now in the Bromley House Library, the following incident is recorded in connection with a visit of Prince Rupert to the Inn in or about the year 1642:—

"Prince Rupert being at Nottingham, at the Castle Inn was introduced into a room where the gallary looked into the yard. He called for a bottle of wine, and bid the waiter open it and drink a glass, which the waiter refusing, the Prince drew his sword and waiter jumped (from the gallary) into the yard. He tells his master, who went up to the Prince and enquired the reason of his being angry with the waiter. He (the Prince) said, 'Because he refused to drink the 'first glass," 'Your Highness (says the Host) will forgive this, because he never drinks anything strong, but if you will  permit me  to attend upon  you  I will oblige  you  by drinking the first glass  of   every bottle, let you call for as many as you will.'" In 1678 the Castle Inn is mentioned in some Drury manuscripts:—

"After the Mayor and Alderman were come from the Hall they went to the sign of "the Castle" with the then Common Council man, Mr. Wortley, to dinner." etc. (See Bayley page 975.) There is unfortunately no mention of the Castle Inn in Volume V. of the Borough Records.

In Volume VI. of the Borough Records there are references to Mr. Lionel Lamb, who was apparently the gentleman already named as tenant of the Castle Inn. In 1704-5 he was a member of the Junior Council, (page 288.) On the 16th June, 1705, he was elected a schoolwarden with a salary and allowance for horse, (page 25.) In 1707-8 he was one of the two sheriffs, (page 289.) 1710-11 he was one of the two school-wardens. In 1706-7 a John Lamb, gentleman (possibly Lionel's father), a burgess-born was awarded a burgess-part (page 314). In 1704 October 2nd, Mr. Chamberlain Drury paid Lionel Lamb 2/6 for greens, etc., in ye Vestres on Michaelmas Day last (page 27).

In 1706—Thursday, December 19th—the following entry appears in Hall book 3473, folio 8:—

"Whereas her Majesty has appointed a Day of Thanksgiving to be observed throughout England on Tuesday the 31st of this instant for the glorious successes of the last campaign. This Corporation think themselves obliged to celebrate the same in this manner viz: The Mayor, Aldermen, Common Councell and cloathing to go in the morning to St. Maryes Church in their Formalityes to hear the Sermon to be preached there on that occasion and from Church to go to Mr. Chamberlain (Lionel) Lamb's to Dinner and there drink her Majesty's Health etc. In order to which itt is hereby ordered That this Corporation do allow five pounds for the entertainment above said."

(Borough Records, Vol. VI., page 34.) In 1707—Wednesday,   April 30th—the following entry appears in Hall book 3437, folio 15.

"The question being putt whether any and what money shall be spent of aTreat tomorrow being the Thanksgiving day for the conclusion of the Union of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland. Itt was carryed that there be five pounds spent on this occasion."

Editor's note.—"The festivities took place at the Castle." (Borough Records, Vol. VI., page 35.)7

(1) This paper is prepared from notes collected by Mr. W. Stevenson, of Mansfield, by Mr. E. L. Guilford (Editor of the Borough Records) and Mr. H. Hampton Copnall (Clerk of the Peace for Notts.)
(2) The historians differ as to whether the house was given by John Bown or by his son Gilbert Bown, Sergeant at Law (see footnote on page 56 of Blackner's History of Nottingham).
(3) Later on in this paper it will be seen that when the Castle Inn was sold by the Corporation of Nottingham in 1732 the property was described as being bounded on the east side by the County House.
(4)  See Borough Records, Volume IV., page 337.
(5) See Borough Records, Volume V., page 170. Thomas Malen was Chamberlain in 1635-36.
(6)  In 1682 there was a Robert Malyn "Chirurgeon."
(6) Lionel Lamb must have been tenant of the Castle Inn for some years prior to this entry.
(7) The editor of Volume VI. Borough Records indexes the last item as the residence of the Duke of Newcastle. It was evidently the Castle Inn.