The Crown Inn - High Street Emsworth

The Crown Inn is a Grade III listed Building whose core is stated to be 16-17th century by Hampshire Treasures. The earliest source of reference found is the Hearth Tax of 1665, and shortly afterwards it is mentioned in a marriage settlement of 1679. At this point the property was called The Three Crowns. In 1724 the inn’s owner, William Milloway of Portsea, insured it for £300 when it was occupied by Peter Naish, victualler. It had a stable, brewhouse and alehouse adjoining. 

By 1786 it was called The Crown Inn, in “The Little Square”. By 1808 the premises had grown somewhat, as can be seen from the “To Let” press advert (shown opposite) of 18.12.08. This advert is otherwise interesting for its revelation that the owner of the property is “T. Kasewell’s Brewery, Emsworth”. We have not heard of this previously but the archivists soon came up with the explanation that this is a typesetting error by the newspaper printer and that the brewer is T Rosewell. As a result we have also discovered that Rosewell also owned the Anchor pub on the harbour. A further inventory of 1875 reveals that the Crown had grown to 9 bedrooms, a sitting room, billiard room, bar parlour, coffee room, commercial room and bar, kitchen, pantry, larder, washhouse, knife house, pig-sty and garden, and wine and beer cellars.

So, The Crown is old and gave a certain quality service, but what exactly makes it “historic”? Well in terms of what it has meant to the community of Emsworth it has been the heart of the town over a protracted period. A quick browse through the newspapers over the last 250 years reveals the importance of it in all facets of town life. It seems to have been a much more favored venue for auctions, magistrates courts, and entertainment and social events, than St Peter’s except of course for religious aspects. Its only real competitor appears to have been The Black Dog. Then again historic events mark historic buildings and we can see from Mr Brain’s advert that the Crown has hosted at least one. This is the auction of the land that would eventually form Nile Street, and that’s a historic development for Emsworth.

Key DatesOccupier/Function
1665 John Webster (occ)KEW
1679 Named as Three Crowns in Marriage Settlement of John Wheeler and Ann Croucher
1724 Sun Fire Insurance for Inn, stable, brewhouse, alehouse. Peter Nash (occ.) victuallerGHL
1787-92 John King (occ)JM, TD
1799-on Succession of Landlords – Dempster, Bond, Morey, Willis.NP, JM
1820 Church rate assessed at £20. No occupier given.PRO
1820-31 Advert: RH Barton takes over as Landlord.TD, HT
1838-65 John Piper (Occ).TM, TD, C
1871 Arthur Locke.C
1878-81 Thomas H Laker.WSRO, TD, C
1891 John B Goodesham (Hotel Prop).C
1901 William Monk (Hotel Prop).
1914 Francis Watmore.PRO, RB
1928 William Francis Watmore (bpt St James, 1905) , Licensee.TD