History of The Union
It all started when...
The Union Inn premises are thought to date from late medieval times and
were originally owned by the parish of Moretonhampstead. It has been suggested that the building may have started life as an over flow for the hospital which was housed in the almshouse buildings. The original concept of a hospital was a house offering hospitality to pilgrims and wayfarers. It is possible to see therefore how the buildings use changed to that of an Inn. It was probably a medieval Hall House
The first documentary evidence of the use of the building as an inn is a lease dated 1686 which refers to a brew house on the premises. The land lord was a blacksmith called Nicolas Scott. As part of the lease he had to insert a first floor above the hall house. This would have been the ceiling above the main bar.
The Inn was known as The Swan until the early 1800’s, the property was owned by a Church Charity and the rent was used to help repair Moreton Parish Church. The name changed in 1807 to commemorate the Act of Union, which united Ireland with England, Scotland and Wales of 1801.
Records show that between 1828 and 1830 the landlord was a Mr John Colridge, the Great, Great, Great Grandfather of the present owner.
During the 19thcentury The Union was an important tavern providing stabling and refreshment for visitors to Moreton. The original seventeenth century stables have been converted into the Stable Room. The Linhay bar is situated on the site of the old Linhay where hay for the horses was stored. A set of original horse brasses dating from the late nineteenth century is on display in the Stable Room. Other artefacts relating to the history of the Union Inn can be seen in the corridor which connects the Main Bar with the Stable Room.
Other features of interest in the Main Bar area include the fireplace which probably dates from the early twentieth century and has recently been uncovered from behind a small modern fireback. Most of the tongue and groove panelling around the walls dates from the late nineteenth century. It is possible to see the beam of the oak panelled wall, that previously separated the bar area from the lounge. The wall was removed after the Second World War and is thought to have dated to the seventeenth century.
The present interior has remained essentially unchanged for the last 50 years, with the exception of some recent improvements which hopefully mix the old with the new without changing the very special atmosphere of The Union.
Further information about The Union Inn, a fascinating story about death from excessive drinking, and the Colridge family is available on Moretonhampstead History Society Web site under the historical gazetteer and "who was whom" sections