With the Chilterns Tourism Net­work

MARY TEBJE of

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - WHAT’SONTHISWEEKEND - For more ideas and in­spi­ra­tion on what to see and ex­plore nearby: www.vis­itchilterns. co.uk and @Vis­itChilterns on twit­ter.

WIL­LIAM I de­manded two green geese and three green eels.

At the Nor­man Con­quest, Wil­liam the Con­queror took the manor of Ayles­bury and had is listed as a royal manor in the Domes­day Book of 1086. Some lo­cal lands were sub­se­quently granted by the king to cit­i­zens upon the ex­tra­or­di­nary ten­ure that the own­ers should pro­vide straw for the monarch’s bed, sweet herbs for his cham­ber, and two green geese and three eels for his ta­ble, when­ever he should visit Ayles­bury.

The Kings Head, in Mar­ket Square, Ayles­bury is an his­toric an­cient coach­ing inn dat­ing back to about 1450, though the cel­lars may be 13th cen­tury. It is one of the old­est pub­lic houses with a coach­ing yard in the south of Eng­land.

Now owned by the Na­tional Trust, the build­ing has many fas­ci­nat­ing ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures, in­clud­ing rare stained glass win­dows, ex­posed wat­tle and daub and the orig­i­nal sta­bling for the inn. Beau­ti­ful beams and wooden floors be­deck The Farm­ers’ Bar which is owned and run by the nearby and popular Chiltern Brew­ery, serv­ing fine English ales, bot­tled Chilterns-in­spired beers, Roth­schild wines and a hearty lunch.

King Henry VI pos­si­bly stayed here in the 15th cen­tury while on a tour of the coun­try with his new wife Mar­garet of An­jou. A stained glass panel was later in­serted in the front win­dow of the inn, de­pict­ing the king and queen’s coats of arms.

In 1529, Henry VIII de­clared Ayles­bury the new county town of Buck­ing­hamshire, it is thought he did so to curry favour with Thomas Bo­leyn who owned Ayles­bury Manor. Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal folk­lore, Henry sub­se­quently wooed Anne in the So­lar Room above the Great Hall in the Kings Head in 1533.

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