The Old King’s Head, Kirton
The Old King’s Head
The 16th Century Tudor Coaching inn is a rare example of the Fenland Artisan Mannerist style, a building technique which reveals a unique history of the ebb and flow of Britain’s people. The Old King’s Head tells us about the forgotten importance of the road from London to Boston, once a hub for those who traded, travelled and warred by sea.
Kirton, now a small village was once a hectic town, the third largest settlement in the county. The history of the Old King’s Head and its custodians reflect the cultural heritage of the local area, prosperous landlords, vigorous rivalries, between the church, barmen and even their own clientele!
This project started for Heritage Lincolnshire in 2014 when we were approached by Boston Borough Council. The council were in the process of serving a Dangerous Structures Order on the owners as the front wall of the property was bowing and in danger of falling into the street. In the end, the Council had to arrange for a temporary structural tie that went through the building from the front to the back elevation. They asked us initially to try to advise the owners on getting contractors in, but it became clear that they didn’t have the financial means and wanted to sell the property.
Heritage Lincolnshire then commissioned a Project Viability Study, funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), and that was the start of the project!
The Trust were then able to buy the building with a loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund in March 2016, and our then CEO, Liz Bates got her hands on the keys of the property and was the first to unlock the door as the new owners of The Old King’s Head.
Splitlath Building Conservation Ltd entered the site in late February 2019, and over two and a half years, we have seen some incredible changes in the building.
We will take you through some of the key points of this project on this page and if you want to find out more our Guidebookis now available to purchase, which details the history of the property including all its colourful owners of the past,stories of scandal and all its going-ons, followed by information about the project on how Heritage Lincolnshire came to save, restore and transform the property. Please click here to order your guidebook.
Fundraising & building the interest around the project begins….Including consultation events in late 2016, Crowd Funding in late 2017, Murder mystery night in September 2017, community raffles, merchandise for sale, sponsor a brick, attending events such as the Kirton Food Festival and so much more to ensure that people knew about our plans …
Pictures from April 2019 as work begins on the roof and stabilising the walls.
Thank you to Chris Crisford of High Up Drone Services for completing a drone fly over as the scaffolding covered the main house…….
Hard Hat Tours commenced to engage people within the local community. These were held on three occasions; 26th April , 19th July and 19th September 2019 when we had two of the previous families that lived in the property joined us.
September 2019 as part of Heritage Open Days where two former resident families of the properties joined us to see the restoration of the building they once lived in.
Read our blogs to find out about some of the key points of the restoration:
‘First phase of the project is complete‘ please click here
‘The Old King’s Head Regeneration Reaches New Milestone‘ please click here
‘The roof is back on!‘ please click here
LEADER Fund and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, has enabled us to repair the roof, safeguarding the historic timbers for the future.
Thank you to Chris Crisford of High Up Drone Services for completing a drone fly over in late April 2021, as we near the end of the project completion
Before and After
As we near completion of the project, the transformation is even more remarkable as we compare the before and afters.
Watch a video presentation or scroll on further for pictures:
Friday 1st October 2021; open to the public!
After two years with our building contractors on site, The Old King’s Head opened to the public on Friday 1st October 2021 as a cafe, 9 bedroom B&B and community room available for hire.
For our official opening day, we welcomed back The Duff family, who were former residents of The King’s Head They were the first to be served in the cafe and Mary, had the grand job of cutting the red ribbon to declare us officially open!
Take a read of our blog article to see the pictures from the day.
2021: Come and Visit
The Old King’s Head is now fully open to visitors. Drop-in for a lite bite or a hearty Lincolnshire Lunch. Meet up with a friend for coffee and cake, or spend a weekend in one of the sympathetically renovated Rooms. As a community space, the site also hosts regular talks, workshops and Events, so check out what’s on via the main website.
You can now also enjoy a Virtual Tour of the main building, exploring the rooms before you visit:
The Stories of The Old King’s Head
Jim and the team have created a series of videos about the stories at The Old King’s Head, which were released for the Festival of Archaeology 2021.
Why not take a few minutes to watch an episode or two and find out more about this historic 16th Century Coaching Inn as we explore some of the stories through its 400 year history.
Click here to find out more about ‘The Story of Alice and the Blue Lady’
Throughout the last stages of the project, we created a number of blogs where we have spoken to key people involved in the project, former families and also looked at some of the blogs that were written by the team back in 2016 when Heritage Lincolnshire started their project to save the property.
We are now officially open! Come and meet us at The Old King’s Head. A special thank you to Push Creativity for producing our fantastic video to showcase what we have to offer:
A huge thank you to all our funding partners for making this project happen.