Old Buildings - The Swan
An ancient mediaeval charter shows that there was a 'burgage'
in Bampton near the Church of St Mary - there may have been an earlier building
(before 1400) on the site of the Swan or in the vicinity of the church. Part of the present Swan was originally lodgings
to house the masons and other craftsmen who were hired to enlarge the church
It was then sold to a churchwarden for one pound(!), and it
became the Church Ale House, when ale for the village was brewed by the incumbent
and churchwardens, the profits being used for the upkeep of the church.
In about 1693, Richard Newte acquired the ale house, and the
Newte family owned the property until 1775, during which time it seems
to have been known as 'Mr Newte's House', and later as 'The George Inn',
in honour of King George III. When the new owner took over in 1769,
the name was changed to 'The Swan'.
The part of The Swan which dates from 1450 is the present
dining room and the barn behind it, visible from the churchyard and reached
by a modern staircase in the bar. Until 1890, it was a two-storied building,
the top floor being added to cater for the extra human traffic generated
by the railway.
The old beams and fireplace are probably the genuine article,
and the bread oven could well date from 1450.
The Swan also claims to have been one of the first buildings
in Bampton to have electricity! - this was a battery D.C. supply in 1926, a
steam generator from Scott's Quarries keeping the battery charged. To start
with, only two 40W bulbs could be used at one time, and the charge was 1/6d
per week (7.5p today, but a lot of money in those days).
The image of the Swan above was from before the inn was refurbished, and shows the porch with swan sculpture atop.
to History page