FOR many people, the view of the Wellington Inn in Winchester Street, which faced the entrance to Old Winton Road, will be very familiar.

Now gone, the Wellington Centre has been built there instead.

Further down the street the roundabout and South Street flyover have replaced the terrace of cottages.

Approximately where the nearer car is positioned, 150 years ago we would have seen a toll-gate where a fee had to be paid by any horse-drawn traffic using the turnpike road out of town.

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The building seen here dates from 1857 and for some years afterwards it was known as the New Wellington Inn, because it replaced a much older, thatched inn with extensive stabling and its own brewery, called the Duke of Wellington.

However, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the first duke, was only granted that title after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, so there must have been an earlier name.

The Universal Directory of 1793, the closest source published before 1815, lists three possible names: The Three Blackbirds, kept by John Taylor Cockrum; The Crown and Cushion, kept by John Hammond and The Black Horse, kept by John Tyler.

None of these three, so far as I know, has been assigned a definite location and one of them may well have been the future Duke of Wellington.

The earliest landlord of the Duke of Wellington I could find was Andrew Trodd who was fined £5 in July 1824 for keeping a disorderly house. Trodd was still the landlord in 1828 but died aged 40 in 1834.

The report of the fine in the Hampshire Chronicle called it the Wellington Arms and it is also referred to by that name in the Andover tithe survey returns of 1848, though all the directories of the 1820-55 period state its name as the Duke of Wellington. Certainly, it is the same inn.

Replacing Andrew Trodd was the last licensee of the old Duke of Wellington inn, Thomas Jackson, who was there from the 1830s onwards and there are two stories of his time there, both occurring within a month of each other in 1846.

In June, a man ‘respectably attired’ came in, asked if he could have accommodation for the night and was shown to one of the rooms.

About 11 o’clock, Mrs Jackson heard somebody coming down the stairs and going out through the front door.

On investigation, the lodger’s room was found to be vacant and a skeleton key left behind.

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The lock to an adjoining room had been picked, and £40 in notes, some gold and an amount of loose silver currency was taken from a drawer there.

A carpet bag containing a crow bar had been left behind but the man had got away.

The second tale was of a shoemaker, William Gilbert of Upper Clatford, who had gone to the tap room at the inn after a day spent at Andover market.

After some drinks, he decided to stay there the night and went up to his room, somewhat ‘tipsy’.

A little while later, William Randle, the ostler at the Wellington who slept in the same room, came in.

Gilbert was sound asleep, but in the morning found that he had been robbed of ten sovereigns from the thirty he had had in his purse.

Charles Van Santeen of the Andover police was called in and the ostler admitted that he took the money and hid it in the thatch in the loft.

He claimed that the money was lying all about the floor and he had taken ten sovereigns and put the rest back into the victim’s pocket.

The case went to trial and the accused man was sentenced to six months’ hard labour in Winchester Bridewell.

In 1855, the inn was up for let but may not have found a new licensee.

A little time later, it was demolished and re-built, after which auctioneer Frederick Ellen was able to advertise in 1860 the sale of ‘a highly-valuable free inn, with entrance parlour, smoking room, bar, tap room, kitchen, larder, wash-house, seven bedrooms and cellarage, together with the rear meadow.

The property was erected within the last three years and was now in full trade, being in a commanding position near the turnpike gate at the entrance to Andover.’

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