High St. The Surgery
On this site in the High Street was the ‘Cock Inn’. The date of the original building is uncertain bit it was timber framed, two storeys with pointed arch windows on the upper floor and brick infill. It was already trading as an inn before 1568 as in July of that year there was a change in ownership (as recorded in the Gorhambury Manorial Records), from Robert and Margaret Finche to Thomas Finche. It appears to have stayed with this family until 1649, when it was sold to John Halsey. He divided the land, selling off part of the garden to his mother who built a house on it. During the Civil War (1642-1648), the windows facing the road were bricked off probably to make it less vulnerable to passing troops. During the period 1668 to 1692 there was a succession of owners but an inventory of 1686 gives us an insight into the size and importance of the inn. It consisted of ‘a Lodging Chamber, Wainscot Parlour, the Sun Chamber, The Star Chamber, the Cock Chamber, the Dining room with enough space for and oval table and 12 chairs, the Perrott Chamber, the Lyon Chamber, The New Chamber, the Low Parlour, the Slaughter House Parlour, another parlour over the cellar, the Wellhouse Parlour, the Wellhouse Chamber, the Tapster’s Chamber. The Ostler’s room, the Great Parlour, the Kitchen, the Wine Cellar, and the Beer Cellar. This detailed information enables us to assume that it was perhaps the finest properties in the village. There was a succession of copyholders and innkeepers during the 18th century, Thomas Beech, Henry Paxton, Elizabeth Paxton, Rebecca Brandreth, Thomas Baskerfield and Stephen Raggett. It appears from records in the Victuallers Billeting Returns for Redbourn that the inn was listed for 10 beds, and stabling for 30 horses. However, when sometime in the late 1790’s Stephen refused to billet and feed soldiers (especially the Officers) as they passed through the village, its licence was revoked. The building survived and became part of the farmhouse for Priory Farm. Indeed as mentioned in the Priory history, Thomas Baskerfield it was included in the policy taken out with sun Fire Insurance Company in 1794. It continued as a house, later part as a coach house for the Priory and a garage.
Sadly and with much local opposition it was allowed to decay and was sold to developers in 1969. Although it had a preservation order on it, it was finally demolished in 1977 and a Health Centre built on the site, using salvaged bricks. It is now part offices and a vetinary practice.