The Old King’s Head is a grade II listed building located in Kirton, Lincolnshire. Built in approximately 1599, it is a fine example of Fenland Artisan Mannerism and shows the evolution of architecture in the Lincolnshire Fens.
In 1625 the Old King’s Head was recorded as a coaching inn, and has since seen use as an inn, brewery and public house for the people of Kirton. It is directly opposite the church which is the oldest building in Kirton. Together these two buildings were at the centre of the village, both seeing baptisms, weddings and funerals. The service would take place in the church with a celebration afterwards at the Old King’s Head.
Both sites sit on the main road which once led directly to London, serving as a key trading route for merchants heading to and from the capital. This was great for trade, the inn serving as a perfect spot for travellers to rest and recuperate on a long journey.
During the 1660’s the Old King’s Head was remodelled by masons (not architects) in the Fen Artisan Mannerist style. This was an extremely skilful type of architecture for masons of the time. Contemporary buildings were rarely built with bricks, with only those of high status normally used brick work.
This meant when building The Old King’s Head it would have needed a skilful mason for the design and construction. It also once had a thatched roof which has now been preserved under new panelled roofing.
Not only does the building itself hold historic significance but the people who have inhabited The Old King’s Head throughout the years have infused it with life. Over the 400 years it spent as a public house it has seen a wide range of land lords and owners including the famous boxer, Johnny Cuthbert.
The building has many stories and mystery’s attached to it. There is a tale of a Victorian woman haunting the top of the stairs. A previous resident who lived there as a child told Heritage Lincolnshire ‘how nobody wanted to be last down the stairs because it was so spooky’.
Despite these claims, many ex-patrons remember the building having a warm feeling to it that made anybody feel welcome, something which the project is seeking to rekindle.
Eventually the building was converted into a family home in early 1970s and in 2016 Heritage Lincolnshire bought the property to restore for the public to once again enjoy. It will offer accommodation and café-style catering, with a micro-brewery in the old yard, bringing it back into community use.
The Old King’s Head truly was at the heart of Kirton for hundreds of years and will be again with the help of Heritage Lincolnshire.