The Crooked Billet (7 Horn Street)

Front view of Crooked Billet with cars parked in front
The Crooked Billet shortly before it closed

The first reference to the Crooked Billet by name is from 1753. It's not clear how long it had been a pub by then and in 1722 it was known as the Well House. The occupants always seem to have been artisans rather than farmers. The pub may have been started by Dorothy Mayne/Eeles after her first husband died in 1732. A crooked billet (a large piece of wood) made a convenient inn sign. It was owned by the Mayne family until 1828 but changed hands many times after that. It closed down in 1990. The building is Grade II listed, described in 1984:

Public house. C17, altered. Timber frame with brick infill to right gable, C19 brick front with toothed eaves. Slate roof, brick stacks to gables. 2 storeys, 4 bays. 4-pane sash windows, those to ground floor with whitewashed voussoir heads and keyblocks, First floor of second bay blank. C20 door in third bay with cornice hood on cut brackets. Roof continues over carriage entry to left with weatherboarding and board doors.

1722: manor court
Richard Bigg gent. and Elizabeth his wife on 25 May surrendered a messuage in Great Horn Street now in the occupation of John Ayres known as the Well House, with barns, outhouses, backyards, etc. To the use of Oliver Mayne of Winslowe Bricklayer and Ann his wife [nee Worstly, married 1694] for their lives, then John Mayne their son [bap. 31 Oct 1700]. Rent [blank], fine 5s.
It hasn't been possible to trace Richard Bigg's original acquisition of this property.

Oliver Mayne is mentioned in the correspondence of the Verneys of Claydon House (CBS, M11/53). On 17 Sep 1705 he was mending the gutters of the "work hows" there, and on 13 May 1708 he was said to have bought 50s worth of underwood from the estate. On 29 Sep 1717 he was paid £12 2s 10d for burning 27,700 common bricks, 37 dozen coping bricks and 48 quarters of lime.

1726: burial of Oliver Mayne [Main], 9 Nov
baptism of John Mayne [Main], son of John and Dorothy, 8 Dec
Dorothy was the daughter of Robert Maynwaring of Granborough (1651-1732), and great-granddaughter of Robert Maynwaring the vicar of Winslow.

1731: manor court (mortgage)
Ann Mayne widow and John Mayne her son, customary tenants, and John's wife Dorothy out of court on 27 May last surrendered a messuage in the Great Horne Street of Winslowe in the occupation of Ann and John, their subtenants or assigns, known by the name of the Well House, with barns, outhouses, backyards, etc., "except out of the premisses One Bay of the said Mesuage or Tenement containing One Roome below staires & One Roome above staires and One Bay of Barning now in the occupation of the said Ann Mayne for & during the naturall life of the said Ann Mayne only with liberty of Ingresse Egresse & Regresse to & from the same Excepted Premisses". To the use of John Bull of Shipton Husbandman, on condition that it will be void if Ann and John pay him £20 10s on 27 Nov next.

1732: burial of John Mayne [Main], 7 July
His widow Dorothy then married someone named Eeles, perhaps the Thomas Eeles who was buried on 20 Jan 1751. As the manor court records don't survive for 1732, it's not clear what happened to John Mayne's property but Dorothy must have inherited at least a life-interest.

1737: burial of Ann Mayne [Main], 3 July

1753-76: Alehouse Recognizances
Crooked Billet: Dorothy Eeles, widow

1777: Fire insurance
Insured by John Mayne, victualler, for £300 including dwelling house and butcher's shop (thatched), brewhouse and cellar (brick and tiled), barn in the yard (thatched) and stable

Horn Street with Crooked Billet on left
Horn Street, with the Crooked Billet on the far left; it had a thatched roof at least until the late 18th century

1780: special manor court, 29 Feb
Surrender: Dorothy Eeles of Winslow widow (late Dorothy Mayne widow)
Admission: John Mayne of Winslow Butcher her son
Messuage in her own occupation called the Crooked Billet with Houses Outhouses Edifices Buildings Barns Stables Yards Orchards Gardens backsides. Rent 4d, fine 5s

1780-1800: Alehouse Recognizances
John Mayne

1781-95 Land Tax
Owner and occupier: John Mayne

1793: burial of Dorothy Eeles [Eles]

1800: will of John Mayne, butcher (proved 1803)
I give and devise unto my Daughter Alice Mayne all and every my Messuages Cottages Farms Lands Tenements and Hereditaments whatsoever situate and being in Winslow aforesaid and Grandborough ...

1803: manor court
On 18 March 1803 Alice Mayne of Winslow spinster, daughter and devisee in the will of John Mayne of Winslow butcher, by Lancelot Wyatt her attorney, came before William Selby at his Mansion House in Winslow to be admitted to messuage known as the Crooked Billet in Great Horn Street with butchers shop and buildings, late in the occupation of John Mayne. 

1803: will of Alice Mayne, spinster to all my Freehold and Copyhold Messuages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments whatsoever and wheresoever and which Copyhold premises I have duly surrendered to the use of this my last Will and Testament I give and devise the same unto my said Niece Sarah Harris...

1803: manor court
Alice Mayne late of Winslow spinster held the Crooked Billet.  Bequeathed it to her niece Sarah Harris daughter of her late sister Dorothy Harris.  Sarah an infant came by Samuel Cleaver of Gate Street Lincolns Inn Fields gent her guardian and was admitted.  Rent 4d.  Subject to debts and legacies of John Mayne.  Fine 5s.

1803-15: Alehouse Recognizances
Oliver Mayne

1813: manor court
Surrender: Sarah Harris formerly of Winslow, now of Gate Street, Lincolns Inn Fields, spinster
Consideration: £200
Admission: Richard Seaton of Winslow, gentleman
Messuage known by the name of the Crooked Billet with the butcher’s shop & buildings thereto belonging, heretofore in the occupation of John Mayne, now of Oliver Mayne.  Rent 4d, fine 5s.

1805 & 1814: Land Tax
Owner: Richard Seaton, occupier: Oliver Mayne, 4s 5½d

1818: manor court
The lord of the manor on 19 Feb last granted licence to Richard Seaton of Winslow gent to let on lease to George Carpenter of Winslow victualler the messuage in Great Horn Street called the Crooked Billet, late in the occupation of Oliver Mayne, then of George Carpenter, for 12 years from 25 Dec 1817.

1818-25: Alehouse Recognizances
George Carpenter

1821 (proved 1824): Will of Richard Seaton, gentleman
I give and devise unto my Daughter Rosamond Mayne Wife of Oliver Mayne of Winslow aforesaid Butcher all that copyhold Messuage or tenement called or known by the name of the Sign of the Crooked Billett situate in Great Horn Street in Winslow aforesaid now in the occupation of George Carpenter .. for and during the term of her natural life ... and from immediately after her decease ... I give and devise the said Messuage or Tenement ... unto my Grandson Richard Mayne  Son of the said Rosamond Mayne

1823: Land Tax
Owner: Richard Seaton, occupier: George Carpenter, 4s 5½d

1825: manor court
Admission of Rosamond Mayne, wife of Oliver Mayne and daughter & devisee of Richard Seaton, late of Winslow, gent. deceased to: All that messuage or tenement known by the name or sign of the Crooked Billet….with the Butcher’s shop buildings & appurtenances formerly in the occupation of John Mayne since of Oliver Mayne and now of John [George?] Carpenter….

Coloured photo of Horn Street
The Crooked Billet is in the centre of this hand-coloured photo

1826-28: Alehouse Recognizances
William Ray from 5 June 1826
Joseph Hinton from 24 aug 1826

1828 (proved 1829): Will of Richard Mayne, grocer
Leaves to trustees, in order to sell: "All that my reversion or remainder expectant and to take effect on the decease of my Mother Rosamond Mayne ... in All that copyhold Messuage or Tenement called or known by the name or sign of the Crooked Billet situate in Great Horn Street in Winslow aforesaid now in the occupation of Joseph Hinton" 
Purchased by Joseph Hinton

1829: special court, 22 April
Surrender: Oliver Mayne of Winslow, butcher, & Rosamond his wife; Charles Willis, of Winslow, gent.; George Mayne, of Winslow, victualler & carpenter
Admission: Joseph Hinton, of Winslow, victualler. Consideration: £350
On 23 April 1829 Joseph Hinton mortgaged it for £250 to Peter Hinton of East Claydon, dairyman.

1832: Land Tax: Crooked Billet
Owner: Mr Hinton, occupier: Joseph Hinton, 4s 5½d

1833: Will of Joseph Hinton (proved 1834)

1836: Northampton Mercury, 7 May: sale advert
On Wednesday, May 11th, 1836, on the Premises of Mrs. S. HINTON, at the CROOKED BILLET PUBLIC HOUSE, WINSLOW (by direction of the Sheriff of Bucks, under an Execution);
COMPRISING 30 hogsheads of fine ale; two capital iron-bound 10-hogshead ale casks, one seven-hogshead ditto, one six-hogshead ditto, two five-hogshead ditto, one four-hogshead ditto, two three-hogshead ditto, three two-hogshead ditto, six one-hogshead, and small casks; excellent 110-gallon brewing copper, 16-bushel mash vat, two large deal coolers, various tubs and brewing utensils, liquor and ale glasses;  a general assortment of Household Furniture, kitchen requisites, and effects, comprised in 170 lots.

1836: Bucks Herald, 14 May: sale advert
All that old-established and well-frequented public-house, called the Crooket Billet, situate near the middle of Great Horn Street, in the Market Town of Winslow, lately occupied by Mr. Joseph Hinton, deceased, and now by Mrs. Hinton, his Widow, with yard, stabling, and other necessary out buildings. The premises are copyhold of inheritance, held of the Manor of Winslow, with its members, but nearly equal in value to freehold;  they are subject to an annual quit rent of 4d. a heriot, according to the custom of the Manor, and a fixed fine of 5s. on death or alienation.

1836: Manor court, 24 June
Joseph Hinton victualler & butcher held messuage known as the Crooked Billett with butcher’s shop & buildings late in his own occupation, now Susannah Hinton widow.  Admitted 1829 on surrender of Oliver & Rosamond Mayne.  Made his will in 1833 leaving it to Robert Corbett baker as trustee (see will).  Corbett desires to be admitted.  Rent 4d, fine 5s.  Robert Corbett & Susannah Hinton immediately surrendered for £515 to George Cross jr of W draper.

1839: Robson's Directory
Wm Jones, jr

1841: Census
William John Jones victualler & Ann Jones, both aged 20(+)

1851: Census
Horn Street, Crooked Billet

William John Jones Head married 33 Licensed victualler b. Winslow
Ann do Wife married 33 do wife b. Westbury
Sarah Tredwell Sis in law unm 26 Dressmaker b. Padbury
John Clark Servant unm 18 Ag. servant b. Granborough

1853: Musson & Craven's Directory
Jones William John, victualler, “Crooked Billet,” Horn street

1861: Census
Horn Street, Crooked Billet

William Jones Head married 36 Innkeeper b. Marsh Gibbon
Sarah do Wife married 29 do wife do
Maria Kennings Servant unm 15 House Servant b. Winslow
William H. Hawtin Nephew   2 Innkeeper's nephew b. Marsh Gibbon
Ellis Beckett Lodger married 26 Labourer b. Claydon
Henry Marshall do unm 23 do b. Ravenstone
William Sedwell do unm 22 do b. Bristol

1864: Post Office Directory
Jones William, Crooked Billet & dairyman, Horn street

1864: advertised for sale with The Bull under the will of George Cross.

1864: Special manor court, 26 Oct
George Cross admitted 24 June 1836 on surrender of Robert Corbett & Susannah Hinton to ... messuage known as the Crooket Billet in Great Horn Street with the messuage formerly a butcher’s shop & buildings formerly in occupation of Joseph Hinton afterwards of Susannah Hinton late of William Jones now of John Marshall. Devised to his wife Charlotte & James Hughes as trustees.  They then surrendered for £370 to Francis Humfrey of Buckingham wine spirit and hop merchant.  Rent 4d fine 5s.

1864: Winslow Petty Sessions, 28 Dec
Licence transferred from William Jones to John Marshall

1871: Census
Horn Street, Crooked Billet

John Marshall Head married 51 Innkeeper b. Grendon, Warws
Henrietta do Wife married 51 do wife b. Padbury
Sarah A. Taylor Niece unm 21 Milliner b. Buckingham
William Mills Nephew   10 Scholar b. Middlesex
Thomas Kelley Lodger single ?28 Officer of Inland Revenue b. Oxford

1872: death of John Marshall aged 51

1872: Return of Public Houses
Occupier: Henrietta Marshall
Owner: Francis Humphry, Buckingham

1874: purchase of pigs and theft of money

1876: Liberal election meeting at the Crooked Billet

1877: Directory
Edwin Phipps

1877: Bucks Herald, 6 Oct

Is instructed by the Proprietor, TO SELL BY AUCTION, On WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24th, 1877,
At the CROOKED BILLET INN, WINSLOW, at Four o’Clock in the Afternoon,

LOT 1   The well-known free and fully licensed house, known as the CROOKED BILLET, making large returns, advantageously situate in Horn-street, WINSLOW.  The House is brick and tiled, and contains 4 Bed Rooms, Parlour, Bar, Tap Room, Pantry, Kitchen, Cellar, large Dining or Market Room, a brick and tiled Chaise House and Stable, Piggeries, brick and tiled Stabling for 12 horses and Loose Box, Coal House, and brick Manure Depository, a good Court and Stable Yard, and a convenient covered Gateway from street.  It is now under the spirited management of Mr. Edwin Phipps, and possession can be had at Christmas.  It is copyhold of the Manor of Winslow, but nearly equal in value to Freehold.

Lot 2 was The Swan, Great Horwood. The purchasers were G. & E. Holdom of Fenny Stratford Brewery.

1878: Buckingham Advertiser, 22 June
Advertised by E. Phipps to let

1878: Buckingham Express, 24 Aug


 THE whole of the Useful HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, Feather and Flock Beds, Mattresses, China, Glass and Earthenware: the capital UTENSILS OF TRADE, Useful BAY COB, good Dog Cart, Four-wheel Pony Phaeton, and numerous other effects.
To be Sold by Auction, by Mr. GEO. WIGLEY On Monday, August 26th, 1878, At the Crooked Billet Inn, by direction of Mr. EDWIN PHIPPS, who is leaving the neighbourhood.
The Sale will commence at Twelve o’clock.
Catalogues may be had of Mr. Phipps, Crooked Billet Inn, and at the offices of the Auctioneer, Winslow.

1878: Winslow Petty Sessions, 20 Aug
Licence transferred to William Hough

1879: Buckingham Advertiser, 19 July

Winslow Flower Show
Will be provided in the Market Room at the CROOKED BILLET Inn, Winslow, on THURSDAY the 24th July, at 3.30 p.m.  Beef and Ham Sandwiches.  Tickets 9d. each.
WILLIAM HOUGH, Proprietor.

1880: Buckingham Advertiser, 10 March
Deaths: At Winslow, after a long and painful illness, Sarah Ann, the beloved wife of Mr. William Hough, aged 32 years.

1881: Census
No occupant

Horn Street without Congregational Church tower
Horn Street in the early 1880s; Crooked Billet left of centre

1882: Bucks Herald, 8 April
  LITERARY INSTITUTE.- On Tuesday evening last about twenty-eight members of this society met in the room at the rear of the Crooked Billet Inn, and wound up the season with an excellent supper, provided by Host Hawtin.  Mr. G. D. E. Wigley occupied the chair, and Mr. James East the vice-chair, and among others present were Mr. George George, Mr. W. S. Neal, Mr. John Ingram, &c.  After the tables were cleared, Mr. Day, secretary, read a statement of the accounts, showing a balance in hand of nearly £11.  A pleasant evening was spent in speeches, songs, &c.

1883: Directory
Henry William Hawtin [born 1858, nephew of William & Sarah Jones, above; married 1881; died in 1892 in Wandsworth; ceiling restorer, glazier & master carpenter]

1883: Buckingham Advertiser, 21 July
Advertised to let

1887-1898: William Goodman "aërated and mineral water manufacturer"

1891: Census
Horn Street

William Goodman Head married 55 Licensed victualler b. Twyford, Leics
Elizabeth do Wife married 59   b. Seagrave, Leics
Emily Knight Niece single 24   do
Robert Hopwood Boarder single 36 Commercial traveller b. Dalston, London

1897: sale by Bletchley Brewery Ltd of the former Holdom's brewery at Fenny Stratford and nine pubs including the Crooked Billet. The brewery was taken over by Aylesbury Brewery Company.

1898: Winslow Petty Sessions
Licence transferred to Jonathan Haseldine

1899: Winslow Petty Sessions, 25 Oct
Transfer of licence to Joshua Lambourne, holdover from him to Alfred Kingston.

1900: Buckingham Advertiser, 8 Dec
  TRADESMEN’S DINNER.- A most enjoyable evening was spent at the Crooked Billet Inn on Monday evening, when 47 sat down to a capital repast provided by Host Grace and Mrs. Grace.  Mr. E. A. Illing occupied the chair and Mr. A. G. Stevens the vice-chair, while amongst others present were Messrs. R. Dickins, J. Jennings, H. Underwood, T. Saunders, A. E. Willmer, G. Rowe, J. White, F. Tompkins, W. Ridgway, J. Grace, F. Willmore, John Smith, G. Robinson, J. Sear, J. Warner, G. Ash, etc., etc., as well as some of the older agricultural labourers of the parish, kindly invited.  After the tables were cleared the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were duly honoured, and every one parted thoroughly satisfied with the evening.

1901: Census
Horn Street, Crooked Billet Inn

Arthur Grace Head married 34 Farrier & innkeeper b. Winslow
Jane Ann do Wife married 35   b. Towcester
Stanley George do Son   5   b. Winslow
Violet Hope do Daughter   3   do
Joseph do Cousin single 44 Carpenter on own account do
Susan Holt Servant single 17 General servant do

1903: Kelly's Directory
Grace Arthur, Crooked Billet P.H. & blacksmith, Horn street

1903: Winslow Petty Sessions, 22 July
Temporary holdover granted to Eli Norman

1903: Winslow Petty Sessions, 26 Aug
Licence transferred to J.S. Stephens

Horn Street with children playing in the road
The Crooked Billet is the building with the slate roof on the left, c.1910; the roof and front of the building were probably replaced together in the early 19th century

1907: Directory
Eli Norman

1907: The Hotel de Billet Slate Club had their sharing-out on Wednesday evening (18 Dec). Read more.

1909: Winslow Petty Sessions, 26 May
Licence transferred from Eli Norman to William Frank Edmonds

1909: Licence transferred (5 Dec) to David Holt.

1911: Census
Crooked Billett, 10 rooms
David Holt, 52, publican, b. Northants
Ann Holt, 51, wife, married 33 years, no children, b. Northants

1912: Winslow Petty Sessions, 31 May
Licence transferred to George Berry

1915: Assessment (TNA, IR 58/2348 no.221)
Situation              Horn Str
Description         The “Billet” Inn
Gross Value: Buildings   £19                         Rateable Value: Buildings             £15 - 5
Occupier                              David Holt
Owner                                 Geo. Sampson, Sec. Walton Brewery, Aylesbury
Interest of owner             Freehold
Occupier’s tenancy, Term             Quarterly
Actual (or Estimated) Rent                           £8
Outgoings – Land Tax    £   11s/10d                           Paid by                 Owners
Who pays (a) Rates and Taxes (b) Insurance       }             
Who is liable for repairs                                       }              Owner
Former Sale        No separate Sale
Site Value Deductions claimed
[red] Reported
[stamp]                COPY TO FLECK 31 3 15                  31 MAR 1915
Particulars, description and note made on inspection                     
Brick & Slate House
Bar  ?Entrance  ?Taproom ?Sitting room      
Kitchen 5 bedrooms
Brick & Slate ?Boxes & Stabling                    
15 poles                                                                                    
Valuation – Market Value of Fee Simple in possession of whole property in its present condition
L29403 £475
Deduct Market Value of Site under similar circumstances, but if divested of structures, timber, fruit trees, and other things growing on the land
1936 yds @ 3/6 =                              £30
Difference Balance, being portion of market value attributable to structures, timber &c.                £445
GROSS VALUE                                                                                                                             £475 

1916: Winslow Petty Sessions, 15 Sep
Licence transferred to Frank Horne

1920-39: Directories
Frank Horne

1921: Census
Horn Street: 4 rooms

Frank Horne Head married 48y 11m Inn keeper (own account) b. Stanbridge
Sarah Horne Wife married 45y 10m House wife b. Aldbury
Vera Annie May Horne Daughter   4y 3m   b. Winslow
William Saving Boarder single 73y 9m Running huntsman (retired) b. Winslow

1949: Buckingham Advertiser, 12 Feb
Death of Mrs Sarah Ann Horne, "proprietor of the Crooked Billet for upwards of 33 years" with her husband.
Frank Horne died on 10 June 1949.
At Winslow Magistrates Court on 5 Aug 1949, the licence was transferred from Walter Freeman [the Hornes' son-in-law] to James Frederick Bates.

Woman with pram in Horn Street
Horn Street in 1953, with the Crooked Billet on the left (photo provided by Michael Leonard)

Copyright 6 April, 2024