If you are familiar with The Bull Hotel then you will have heard the name Jack Shrimpton and be familiar with our warm and friendly bar named after him.
The bar is a perfect place to unwind after a busy day, whilst residing by the roaring and cosy log fire, and features a selection of local ales which are perfect for that winters night. Many guests come to the front desk to ask whom the bar is named after, and it is because of this that I began my research into the ‘gentleman’ a few years ago.
As the Front Office Manager of the hotel I talk with hundreds of different people every week, from all over the world. But it was with great surprise the other day to talk with the direct descendants of Mr Jack Shrimpton himself, who had come specifically to visit the bar for an afternoon drink, in honour of his remembrance.
I explained to them how I knew of his life as a highwayman, who travelled up and down the A40 in the 1700’s, shortly after The Bull was built in 1688. The hotel, these hundreds of years ago, was a sanctuary for wayfaring strangers, cutthroats, thieves and political malcontents – a far cry from the international businessmen, women and lavish leisure guests that we receive today.
We spoke of how Shrimpton regularly stayed at The Bull seeking refuge and that only 1 mile away, 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 1713.
However, his family had discovered a book, from the 1800’s, that shed Shrimpton in a far better and more heroic light. In this book they paint him as a sort of Robin Hood character, much more different to the way in which he is depicted on the internet and in the books I have read, so I expressed my interest in reading the book.
The guests then took some pictures in their famous relatives bar and we swapped addresses so that we could send the details we have of Mr Shrimpton, to each other.
Since my meeting with them, they have kindly sent copies to me of the pages in the books in which Shrimpton is mentioned and I have done the same. I have also agreed to not relay Mr Shrimpton’s character in quite so unsavoury a fashion to future guests when they ask – “Who was Jack Shrimpton?”
Written by Michelle Mayes, Front Office Manager at The Bull