Peter May's book "the Changing Face of Newmarket 1600-1760" tells us that King James I in his early days in Newmarket leased for £100 a year from one Leonard Beale, an Inn called the Griffin. This Inn is first mentioned in the will of William Baron in 1439, being left to his wife Margaret.|
The Griffin, Swan and Bull were all close together in 1472, in the region at the High Street end of Kingston Passage, around York Buildings and Moon's Toy Store.
Peter May, in his "Newmarket 500 years ago" records that in 1472:
"Arthur Greysson, who in our roll is the landlord of the Griffin, the Saracen's Head and the Sword, by the time he died in 1479 had also acquired the Bull from Richard Motte; he left all four to his wife Margery.requesting her to pay the £92 still owing on the Saracen's Head and the Bull, and requiring the 'the said holding called le Boole with its appurtenances be annexed and joined to the aforesaid holding called le Gryffyn'."
In the 1552/53 statute of King Edward IV, controlling the sale of wine, it was the only licence granted for the sale of wine in Newmarket, and held at the end of the century by Leonard Beale and his wife Margery, from whom King Charles I bought the Griffin for £400 in 1608
As far as can be shown there was an inn called the SWAN on the corner left corner of Kingston Passage (Lakeman's to the old 'uns amongst us) back as far as 1472 for sure, and another, The GRIFFIN set back somewhere where Moon's Toy Store is now. Along came James I who wanted a Newmarket base and took to staying at the GRIFFIN. Kings being what they were it was not long before he purchased the Griffin from Leonard Beales for £400.
From 1609 to 1613 work was done to extend and improve the Inn; but in 1613 the rear section of the building collapsed with the King and his court inside.
Despite this James decided to maintain his presence in Newmarket and from 1st May 1614 until 30th September 1615 the much increased expenditure of £4,660 11s 9d was paid to re-build the palace, this time in brick & stone. Work continued in subsequent years and on 3rd October 1622 he purchased the Swan Inn next door, and also "The Bull" to further extended the size of his palace here in Newmarket.
The presence here of a "Bull" is yet another confusion since of course the current Bull is a distance away on the St Mary's side of the High Street. No pictures or drawings have been found
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