Whilst everyone is talking about the extensive and exciting refurbishment of The Bull Hotel, whether it is the brand new Beeches Restaurant, the stylish Lounge and Conservatory or the intriguing new Grand Bedrooms, it is easy to forget that the hotel has an amazing history dating back to 1688.
Sarova Hotels, to who the Bull along with two other reputable UK hotels belong, have ensured in its refurbishment, that parts of the hotel building has retained the warmth and charm that welcomed travellers to the property in the late 1600’s and has managed to flawlessly combine the old into the modern areas that we now see today.
The Bull was hundreds of years ago, a sanctuary for wayfaring strangers, cutthroat thieves and political malcontents – a vast change from the international business men and women and lavish leisure guests that we receive today. The Inn, as it was known as then, was a common hide out for the famous highwaymen that would travel up and down the A40 route that The Bull stands on, linking Oxford to London. The infamous Dick Turpin was just one of these thieves as was Mr Jack Shrimpton.
Local boy Shrimpton entered into a life of crime and misdemeanour at a young age and regularly stayed at The Bull seeking refuge. Only 1 mile away he held up an entire coach party of all their Guineas. A regular at our bar he was eventually convicted of both murder and countless robberies. It is said that he took his last drink at the hotel before being executed on the 4th of September 1731. One of the bar’s at the Hotel is named after this “gentleman”.
The Jack Shrimpton Bar is an area of the hotel that has kept its original charm and is a friendly and magical place to sit with friends and enjoy a chat over a pint of real local ale or a glass of wine from our extensive wine menu, while fantasizing of the stories and events that the surrounding building must have seen throughout the hundreds of years since.
The original building that forms the hotel has grown considerably over the centuries with many of the old beams and rafters you see coming from the neighbouring Bulstrode Mansion when it was partially destroyed by fire. The hotel has named one of its most popular function rooms after the famous mansion.
The infamous ‘Hanging Judge Jeffries’ was one owner of the estate. He later rebuilt the mansion after the fire and created a deep subterranean passage actually linking our cellar with this mansion. It is said that he would bring politicians and members of the aristocracy, King James II being one, through this passage to hold secret meetings and drinking sessions in the cellar that to this day stands beneath the Jack Shrimpton Bar.
This is not the only instance of royalty passing through the doors of The Bull Hotel. After the Hanging Judge the Earl of Portland took over residency of Bulstrode with his wife, Duchess Margaret Bentinck, the richest women in England at the time. Close friends with George the Third and Queen Charlotte they would meet on Gerrards Cross Common for the meeting of the Royal Staghounds. Their accomplices would stay and breakfast at the hotel.
Books about the extensive history of the surrounding areas and the Bulstrode mansion are available for guests to read from reception and in some bedrooms. Come and join us to celebrate our 320th birthday…
Written by Michelle Mayes, Front Office Manager at the Bull Hotel