Read about a few key moments in the Killy’s history…

When new owners, Jim & Claire Alexander bought The Killingworth Castle at the end of 2012, it was a relief to take down what remained of the crooked, plastic brewery letters that represented the long-term neglect of a once proud and focal building in the village of Wootton. The letters’ removal also revealed the date stone (WS & K) on the front of the building as 1637, now visible next to the new signage.
It is thought that the pub was built by a Thomas Killingworth. The Killingworth family is thought to have originated from the North of England where the name crops up around the Newcastle area.
The inn was situated on the main road from London to Worcester and Aberystwyth, a veritable 17th century motorway by today’s standards.
The structure was built of local stone, quite possibly from the quarry that used to be situated just yards up the road. It is possible the building started life as a farmhouse and later became an inn as brewing beer was a common method of supplementing a farmer’s wages around that time. Also the building’s stabling was extensive, with part still retained under pub ownership and the other section now a private residence on Castle Road.
The village is known to have had up to four pubs though time. When Thomas Killingworth built his ‘castle’ down by the main ‘Woodstock Weye’ road, he mainly attracted travelling trade and villagers who used the spring across the road.
Through time the building has been changed a considerable amount, but you can still see the County Firemark on the top of the front wall of the pub: a black square that indicated that the pub had insurance. Without the mark the Fire Brigade would simply not help in an emergency: quite a comparison to today’s culture of health & safety.
1637 – Built by Thomas Killingworth
1680 – Thomas died and the pub was run by his son William and wife, Silence
1719 – The road was a turnpike and became important for the carriage of goods until the railways came in the 1830s
1740s – The stable range was constructed
1767 – Catherine Hedges is registered at the inn
1768 – Then known as The Red Lion, the inn was listed for sale with enquiries to Mrs Hedges
1769 – Run by Sidebotham
1772 – Advertised to let
1773 – Mark Higgins recorded at the Inn and the family stays until 1915 (142 years)
1780s – The left hand side of the inn was added as a self-contained cottage
1877 – A clubroom for village functions is documented above part of the stables
Late 18th / early 19th Century – barn was erected for malt storage and a third story added
1919 – Belcher and Daniels became trustees
1930s – Winston Churchill used to test his cars on drives out to the pub from Blenheim Palace. He was often accompanied by his friend and founder of the Morris Motors, William Morris.
1935 – Belcher and Habgood acquire the freehold
1939 – Around the outbreak of WW2 the hugely popular landlady Mrs Ida Clarke took over the helm. Affectionately known as ‘Ma Clarke’ or ‘Aunty Ciss’, along with her husband Syd, they ran the business during wartime and were famous for their determination in providing beer to the locals (at the expense of selling to locally billeted soldiers). She retired in Wootton and was known to have her 100th birthday at the pub
1944 – Morland & Co. officially take over the freehold having acquired Belcher & Habgood
1995 – Part of the stables were converted to letting rooms
Late 1990s – Greene King Brewery bought the freehold and licensees came and went under tenancy agreements
2012 – Freehold bought by Yubby Inns, a new company formed by Claire & Jim Alexander, owners of the multi-award winning pub, restaurant and B&B, The Ebrington Arms in Ebrington near Chipping Campden.
Thank you to local historian Sally Stradling, part time tutor in Vernacular Architecture at Oxford University (OUDCE) and Heritage Consultant /adviser on historic/listed buildings and landscapes.
Students who undertook history projects on the pub, included:
Marina Parks
Alison Farlie
Christina Cherry
Donna Thynne
Elizabeth Coventry
Frank G Casey
Lisa Blunt
Liz Dyment
Mary finch
Mary Matthews
Nicky Knight
Nicola Thorne
Richard Farrant
Suzanne Cook

Comments are closed.