It is not known when the King’s Head first served the public although it has been suggested it dates to the reign of King Charles I. I have a big issue with this as one source in particular said the suggestion comes from the fact that the pub sign depicts King Charles I. Sorry but that is an inexperienced person, I could paint a sign depicting a King of the Ancient Britons, would that mean it dates to that period? No.
The present building appears to date to the 1700s and indeed the first mention, to date, I can find is in 1770. One book stated it dates to 1613 however the book is wrong as the original source names “The King’s Arms.” I have found no other record so is it possible there was an old building known by this that for some reason was rebuilt in the 1700s and became the King’s Head?
The Royal Mail coach service started on 2nd August 1784, at that time the King’s Head was appointed one of the Inns for the coach to stop at. The innkeeper at the time was Edward Fromont who became responsible for the Thatcham to Calne stage of the journey. Edward died in 1831 and his daughter, Charlotte Fromont, took over until the 1840s. It was during the 1840s that part of the inn was sold off, a black smith was established, a house, and other parts sold off. This went from a large coaching inn supplying a number of horses, stabling and coach repair facilities, that would have covered a large portion of what is today Waitrose car park, and was split and downsized to what we see today.
Few pointers for the reader to take away:
- Where possible use original and multiple sources of information.
- Because a building dates to a period doesn’t mean it has been serving alchol all that time.
- Don’t assume pubs with similar names are the same, there were two Angels in Woolhampton for example at the same time!
I will go into more detail at a later date. Again if you have any stories, information, photographs you would care to share or load please contact me.