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History of The Green Dragon 1724 –1951, Researched by Adrian Perkins 2011
Green Dragon Hotel and Coaching Inn
History 1724 –1951
Northampton Mercury Advertisement 1840

before refurbishment
c1895 before the refurbishment
Green Dragon in 1914
The Green Dragon in 1914

Robert Sanders

1724 to 1753

John Mee


Mrs Frances Mee


William Chapman


John Knighton


Mr and Mrs Longland

January 1883

Mrs Goodfellow


James Affleck


Albert Clifton


Mrs. Adela Clifton


Lawrence Clifton


Dick Faulkner


Northampton Mercury, Sept 1793

Higham Ferrers Statute
For Hiring of Servants, will be holden on Tuesday next, the 17th instant, at the Green Dragon Inn, in Higham Ferrers.

At the start of these records the Duchy of Lancaster held land and property covering Higham Ferrers and most of the neighbouring counties.

The Green Dragon is named briefly in records dating back to 1680.

From 1724 to 1753

Robert Sanders was the Innkeeper with his wife Sarah. It was a family run Inn and seems to have been occupied by the Sanders for many years.

On the 30th of October 1739 John Sanders Junior was baptized. He died on the 1st of January 1740.

On the 7th of November 1740 Ann Sanders was baptized

On the 20th of April 1742 Kilsby Sanders was baptized

A £10 licence fee was paid annually by all innkeepers and a 2 shilling annual rent was also paid.

In 1750 Robert Sanders paid window tax for 15 windows at the Green Dragon 13 shillings and 3p

More information on dates and people are listed below along with notes about the Inn. Spaces between dates are still to be investigated.

1802 John Mee, GREEN-DRAGON INN, HIGHAM-FERRERS. Deeply impressed with a sense of the many obligations conferred on him by his friends and the public in general, since his having entered on the above Inn, begs leave to return his most grateful acknowledgements for the same. And humbly solicits the continuance of their favours, which it shall be his unremitting study to merit, by a due attention to their accommodation; for which purpose he has provided a variety of the choicest WINES and LIQUORS, of the first quality, and several neat POST-CHAISES, with able HORSES and careful DRIVERS, which he is determined to furnish on the most liberal terms. Higham-Ferrers, Nov.5th, 1802.

1805 2nd of December the Green Dragon was the home of John Mee. Meetings were held there on the first Monday in every month by the Friendly Society. There was a strictly upheld code of conduct that was to be observed by all 82 members during meetings, no laying of curses, swearing, gambling, quarrelling, fighting, or drinking during meetings. One pint was paid for by the society before or after the meeting. Breeches of the rules meant expulsion and or a fine. There were also additional quarterly meetings on annual feast days, Monday in Whitsun week and so forth. Failure to attend the meetings meant a penalty of 2 shillings paid or expulsion.

Friendly Society - Members list from 1805
William Allen, Septimus Allen, John Brown, William BrownJohn Bull, William Burkett, John Burris, Richard Bramby, William Boddington, Thomas Burkett, Joseph Brown, John Burgess, James Brown, Henry Cox, Isaac Cunnington, John Collins, Charles Cunnington, Philip Cunnington, Joseph Cox, Thomas Coles, James Clements, Francis Denton, William Draper, Richard Driver, George Day, Elijah Denton, John Evins, John Farraw, Stephen Farraw, Joseph Gadsby, Joseph Groome, William Gross, Peter Gadsby, John Groome, Thomas Groome, Richard Hale, John Hawkes, Thomas Hollaway, Thomas Hay, Joseph Hay, William Jeffery, William Knighton, Francis Kilsby, John Lamb, John Marriott, Samuel Miller, James Miller, John Mason, John Newell, Benjamin Partridge, William Partridge, William Pack, John Pack (sen), James Parnell, Samuel Parker, Richard Parsans, Jesse Parker, John Pack (jun), Thomas Partridge, Thomas Parker, Abraham Patenall, Griffith Roberts, James Shrives, Thomas Sanderson, Thomas Sykes, Joseph Sterman, Thomas Sargent, James Sargent, John Sargent, George Shepheard, Richard Smith, Thomas Smith, John Smith, James Stimson, Samuel Wooden, Edward Wallis, William White, Thomas Wyman, Charles Wyman, John Ward, Peter York. 82 memers in all.

To qualify for membership you had to live within three miles of Higham Ferrers and be male. The aim of the society was to raise £200 a year through subscriptions from members. Money would then be paid out to members who fell on hard times, or to pay funeral expenses and sums of money to the widow. It was an early form of social fund.

Members who were sick got 7 shillings a week for one year, falling to 3 shillings a week thereafter.

The Mee Family

John Junior

Northampton Mercury, 12th September 1807

Higham Ferrers Statute - For Hiring of Servants

Will be held at the House of Mr. John Mees, known by the Sign of the Green-Dragon, in Higham Ferrers, on Tuesday the 22nd. Instant.

By Order of
Vincent Wallis, Mayor.

Dinner on the Table at One o’Clock.

Higham Turnpike Road, Oct 22nd 1814.
Meeting of Trustees, Higham Turnpike Road leading from Westwood-gate, Parish of Knotting, & Barton Seagrave Lane, held at House of John Mee, known by name or sign of 'Green Dragon' in Higham, Monday 31st Day of Oct Next at Eleven o'clock Forenoon, when & where the Tolls and Dues arising at the weighing Engine at Westward gate, also the Side-gates on the said road, at Park Leys (Dearloves turn on Bedford Road) and Church Lane (against Vestry Hall) in the Parish of Rushden, Tolls and Dues Produced last clear of all Expenses the several sums, following:-

Westwood Gate & Weighing Engine & Park Leys Side Gate £240
Higham Gate & Church Lane Side Gate £138
Irthlingboro Bridge Gate £252

(Mr Henry Skinner told me (on Wednesday Feb 5th 1908) that Bill Bird's father used to keep the 'Toll-gate' and lived there for years.) J Enos Smith, 22 Church St.

1830 Mrs Frances Mee occupied the Green Dragon Hotel.

1836 Mrs Frances Mee is shown as a widow and the leaseholder of the Green Dragon. The late John Wright’s executors had recently past buildings and land to her. Here is a list of property and land she had leasehold on. Farmhouse and yard, Dovecote, house at Turnpike, Wild Mill Cover, Cherry Orchard, Chichelyn, plus 12 other fields.

1839 Mrs Frances Mee is shown as leasing a larger estate. The Green Dragon Inn yard and garden, Pig Balk, Rick yard, Berry Close, farm buildings and yard, Castle Yard, Wharf Close, Vine Hill, Oxcer Bed Wood, Church Close, Sergeants Piece, Kings Meadow, plus four other fields. Frances paid the sum of £250 per year for these.

By this time she seems to have sold the leases for the Dovecote, farm buildings, Orchard and the adjacent meadow, and Turnpike to Edmund Lamb.

Sophia Mee died at the age of 13 in 1824

John Mee Died at the age of 55 1829

Frances Mee died at the age of 62 in 1839

John Mee Junior died at the age of 22 in 1840.

1847-1854 William Chapman was the proprietor of The Green Dragon Inn. He was also a farmer of 182 acres and a wines and spirits merchant. Interestingly the Inn seems to have also been the post office. Apparently as it was a coaching Inn the London & Northwest parcels a post used the Inn for regular deliveries.

Listed below are people living and working at the Green Dragon in 1851.

William Chapman age 51
Anne Wife age 50
Elisabeth Daughter age 21
Ursula Daughter age 16
William Son age 20
John Son age 19
Rebecca Dayton Housemaid age 20
Mary Cottingham Cook age 20

1861-1881 John Knighton was the proprietor.

John Knighton was a publican and a farmer of 200 acres, employing 3 men and 1 boy.

Listed below are people living and working at the Green Dragon in 1881.

John Knighton age 45
Wife not mentioned
George Son age 11
Mary Daughter age 8
Mary Shelton Housekeeper age 38
Sanders Perkins Farm servant (Shepherd) age 58

January 1883 Mr and Mrs Longland were the Innkeepers.

1883-1884 Mrs Goodfellow

SUPPER—On Friday last, Mrs Goodfellow, of the Green Dragon Hotel, entertained about 60 of her customers to a first-rate supper. Supper over, each guest had full liberty to call for anything the hotel produced, until one o'clock, at mine hostess's charge. So bountiful had been the provision that a cold collation was set out the next day. On Friday evening, Mr G. Warren was called upon to preside. The usual toasts having been fully honoured, "The health of Mrs Goodfellow" was given in flattering terms, find the thanks of the company expressed with music. Mrs Goodfellow, in responding, expressed the pleasure it afforded her to meet so many friends on this the first new year she had been at Higham, and as it had always been her custom to entertain her friends each new year since she had been in business, she hoped they would meet on many similar occasions, and assured them that nothing should be wanting on her part to provide for the comfort of her patrons. Several speeches were made by the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, Mr Withers, of the Fitzwilliam Arms, Mr J. Saxby (Irthlingborough), Mr Wright, and others; and some excellent songs were given by Messrs. Smith, Lamb, Appleyard, Blundell, Carter, Hale, Garrod, and Felce.

SUDDEN DEATH—On Monday morning Mr G. Dunkley, barman for Mrs Goodfellow, of the Green Dragon, was found dead in bed. He was in his usual health on Sunday evening, and appeared in good spirits. We understand, however, that he had been under medical treatment for some time for heart disease, and so an inquest was not deemed necessary.

Serious Charge of Stealing Corn at Higham Ferrers

On Monday last, before Mr E. B. Randall (Mayor), and Mr J. Crew, Geo. Spencer, labourer, Irthlingborough, and Joseph Ager, Rushden, were charged with stealing corn, the property of Mr Henry Clark.

P.C. Onan deposed that on the 25th at about one o'clock, he went to prosecutor's rick-yard at the back of the Green Dragon, where he saw the prisoner Spencer going towards the Green Dragon. He asked him where he was going, and the prisoner replied to fetch some beer for dinner. He then asked him what he had done with the corn he took from Mr Clark's barn that morning. Prisoner denied taking, or having seen any corn taken away. Witness then took him into custody, when he said he would tell the truth, he had taken two lots of stuff for the pigeons, but no corn. Prisoner then took him and showed him the place where he set the stuff, inside Mrs Goodfellow's back door, under the stairs. Witness tried the door, which was locked. He said that was where he set it. There were two empty bags outside, and prisoner said they were what he took it in. Witness called the attention of Mrs Goodfellow to the matter, when she denied all knowledge of it. She gave him seven bushels of tailing corn, and three sacks, which were now at his house.

P.S. Webster said he was on duty at Higham Ferrers, on October 25th, when Spencer was apprehended. He made enquiries about the corn, and from what he heard he apprehended Ager on the 26th, and charged him with stealing corn with Spencer. He replied that he knew nothing about any corn. He didn't take any away, but he helped Spencer put some in a sack, and he (Spencer) took it away and brought some beer back and he (Ager) helped him to drink it. He never gave him any money, and he never asked him to give him any. Ager said he did not tell the officer he helped to put it in the sack. What he (Ager) took he put on the grass.

Henry Clark, farmer, deposed that the prisoners were employed by him up to the time they were apprehended. On Oct. 25th the police showed him some tailing corn and three sacks. The sacks were his, and the corn was similar to what was in his barn. He never gave either of the prisoners any authority to dispose of the corn.

The case was not carried further, Superintendent Bailie asking for a remand. The prisoners were remanded to Monday next, bail being accepted for Ager. A summons was taken out against Mrs Goodfellow, for receiving the corn, knowing it to have been stolen, to be heard at the same time.

1891-1903 James Affleck was the proprietor.

Listed below are people living and working at the Green Dragon in 1891.

James Affleck age 35
Rose Wife age 26
Thomas Son age 5
Harry Son age 2
Isabella Clark Barmaid age 20
William Williamson Groom age 27
David Quincey House boy/groom age 13
Percy Ward Shoe Operator age 22

Listed below are people living and working at the Green Dragon in 1901.

James Affleck age 45
Rose Wife age 36
Arthur Son age 15
Harry * Son age 12
Evelyn Daughter age 10
Mabel Daughter age 7
Ella Daughter age 5
Florence Newman Barmaid age 22
William Childs Master Groom age 38
Alfred Green Worker age 20
*Harry was killed in action at Ypres on the 23-02-1916 aged 28

1906 Listed below are people living and working at the Green Dragon in 1906.

Albert Clifton age 43
Adela wife age 41
Albert son age 15
George son age 13
Lawrence son age 7

1914 Sold

Sale - College Street - Lot 11 - Licensed Property

All That Fully Licensed Freehold Family and Commercial Hotel known as "The Green Dragon Hotel"

As now in the occupation of Mr Albert Clifton and comprising stone-built Hotel premises containing Front Entrance Hall, Commercial Room and Bar on Front Bar Parlour, Sitting Room, Billiard Room, Lavatory, Kitchen, Scullery and usual offices. Also a separate occasional bar and Public Room.

On the Upper Floors—Assembly Rooms, Nine Bedrooms, Bath Room, w.c., etc. Large Yard with built over Carriage Entrance, Stores, Three-bay Coachhouse, extensive Stabling, Coal and Wood Places, etc. Enclosed well-stocked Gardens at the rear and Grass Paddock extending to Midland Road, to which there is an extensive frontage of 340 feet, or thereabouts.

The Lot contains in area 3a. 1r. 27p., or thereabouts, has modern drainage, and the public water supply is laid on.

This Lot, with Lot 6, are leased to Messrs. Allsopp& Sons, Ltd., until Michaelmas, 1918.

Land Tax, £2 6s. 0d.

Rushden Echo, 22nd January 1909, transcribed by Kay Collins

Accident—The ostler at the Green Dragon Hotel drove to the M.R. station on Saturday to meet a new cook. On the return journey the shafts of the trap broke, and both the ostler and the cook were thrown on to the road. Luckily both escaped serious injury.

Rushden Echo, 27th August 1909, transcribed by Peter Brown

Higham Ferrers Feast - Mr Thurston’s New Theatre
Scenes of animation have this week been the order of the day at Higham Ferrers, the festivities in connection with the annual feast attracting large numbers of people from all over the county, and the streets of the ancient borough have presented the appearance of a busy London thoroughfare. The crowd in the paddock of the Green Dragon, which is now recognised as the feast ground, baffled description, and on Monday night it seemed as though the whole of the population of the neighbourhood had been packed into the one field. It was practically impossible to get round the field at all except by moving with the stream, any attempt to move in the opposite direction being doomed to failure.

1920-1931 Mrs. Adela Clifton is the proprietor of the Inn. It is possible that her husband had died or was unable to run the business.

1940 Lawrence Clifton had taken on the job as proprietor. There is no mention of a post office at this date.

1951 Dick Faulkner.

Rugby is played at Manor Park, the home of Rushden & Higham RUFC. The club was created in October 1951, and set up by two people new to the area - the then landlord of The Green Dragon, Higham Ferrers, Dick Faulkner and head of Rushden Secondary Modern School for Boys, Jack Wilce. In January 1952, the fledgling team played its first game on ground near The Hedges and although it ended as a 3-14 defeat it did not stop the club progressing. Over the years the club has played at Chamberlain's Field, near the old Higham railway station, Saffron Meadows, (in 1959 when the club's historian Geoff Wiggins joined) and the John White's ground, Rushden and now it plays at Manor Park, Rushden, on pitches rented weekly from the town council which owns the ground.

Other landlords in pubs in and around Higham.

1750 10 Innkeepers
1751 13 Innkeepers
1752 A list of landlords obtaining licence to serve ale in the borough.
Ann & Robert Sanders
William Wood
Edward Bridgman
Mary Pully
Thomas Sanders
Edward Alearn
Thomas Stratton
William Patric
Zachariah Smith
Thomas Brown

Thomas Brown The George Inn
Mary Pully The Horseshoe Inn
John Forward The White Horse
William Thomas The Griffins Head
Robert Sanders & Thomas Mason The Green Dragon
Zachariah Smith The White Heart
William Wood The Queens Head

Sources: Kelly's Directory held at the NRO, and Higham Ferrers Court Books, one for 1724 – 1747 (NRO Ref: ML4583) and one for 1749 – 1779 (NRO Ref: ML4584)
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