The Falcon at Warmington

Warmington, Banbury

About Us

Here is just a little info to let you get to know us better...

History

Here is a little potted history of our pub and the local area... if you have a spare minute or two and maybe a cup of tea (or is that a G&T), we think it's well worth a read.

Our forebears from many hundreds of years ago were every bit as entrepreneurial as we might consider ourselves, and the deep history of the Falcon demonstrates clearly how many of our current businesses were seeded way back in the roots of time and still bear fruit today.

The Falcon was built in 1770, five miles north of Banbury and on the road to Warwick. It was built there to specifically take advantage of the busy turnpike road that led to the expanding centre of commerce that was Birmingham, and faced the tiny Toll House cottage, where travellers would have to stop to pay their levy for their on-going journey.

The road, now the B4100, was  turnpiked under an Act of Parliament of 1727 which permitted a  private company of trustees to take over the roads from Birmingham to  Warmington via Warwick (and the Birmingham to Edgehill road via  Stratford-upon-Avon) and to exact tolls for road maintenance and  improvement. These roads lay wholly within the county of Warwickshire   and it was a few years before the next section of the road from   Warmington to the south through Banbury was also turnpiked. It was   the manufacturers of the Birmingham region who badly wanted the road   improved for conveying their products.

The gradient on Warmington Hill has been improved on several occasions, but was quite precipitous in those early days. It is likely extra horses would have been needed to help heavy loads up the hill and the pub would be the obvious place to unhitch them before they were returned downhill.

What better place to take advantage of passing trade horses could be fed and watered, and re-shoed if necessary, coaches could be repaired , and the travellers themselves would be in need of sustenance, a pleasant rest from the toils of travel, and perhaps a bed for the night.

One of Alexander Carse's 17th century works, 'Revellers in an Inn', depicts a happy group consisting of local men, women, children and some finely dressed soldiers, with a family as the central tableau in the foreground. Whilst they eat and drink (even the child is being helped to a glass of punch from the shared bowl) a band plays in the background, and the patrons of the inn raise their arms and dance.

Much like now, in fact.

What is now the Falcon was at one time called called the Hare and Hounds, then became the Hare and Dog - the hunting of hares was a popular sport. The stone and thatch property was built by a local carpenter named Samuel Taylor, who had already built several cottages and converted various buildings to residential use within Warmington.

The square plat of land, measuring one rod and one perch (about a quarter of a acre) , had been granted to a local man, Thomas Parish, in lieu of the right to graze two sheep on the common lands when the fields surrounding the village were enclosed, Previously, it had been very rare to be able to build outside the curtilage of the village, but in this manner Thomas was able to take advantage of the opportunities the turnpike afforded.

Thomas Parish, a childless widower, died in 1798, and the property passed to his nephew William Parish, a woolcomber from Northamptonshire, who duely sold it on to a local farmer, James Jobson, for £18 and 18 shillings. He himself sold the land on to the aforementioned carpenter Samuel Taylor who had actually previously built the property.

Samuel Taylor owned the property for nine or ten years before he sold it to a local publican, Thomas Wilkins of Warmington.

Thomas Wilkins already owned a pub in the village, called the Hare and Hounds, and it was during his time as landlord of the two pubs that he transferred the name the 'Hare and Hounds' from the pub in the middle of the village to the pub on the main road opposite the Toll house. The pub in the village then was re-named the Plough.

The new Hare and Hounds was known by that moniker for some 150 years, and was subsequently re-named The Wobbly Wheel in 1970: about this time it lost its thatched roof as a result of a fire.

Presumably the pub had become so-named in recognition of the 19th century Wyatt family, who had a long association with the pub as tenant landlords, while continuing to operate their trade as wheelwrights servicing the carriages using the toll road, as well as local agricultural and domestic transport. William Wyatt held the licence from 1816 until his death in 1856, and was succeeded for many years by his son of the same name.

The Wobbly Wheel operated under the auspices of the Spirit Group, then became a 'Brewer's Fayre' under Whitbread, who built a 54 bedroom hotel to the rear of the pub.

But then, on the afternoon of Thursday 5th September 2013, a fire started in the roof space of the hotel, which was consumed by flames. Thankfully, all were evacuated and no-one was injured, though the hotel was eventually pulled down.

We bought the property in 2015 and renamed it the Falcon, to signal the major change in operation.

Publicans

  • Thomas WILKINS had become the licensee of the pub in Warmington village in 1807. It was called The Plough.
  • The Hare and Hounds was operating as a tavern in 1847, run by William Wyatt who was a farmer, wheelwright and publican. It was in a track-side location so a wheel wright would have been in demand. When William Wyatt was publican the pub was called the Hare and Hounds. He was still there in 1850.
  • In 1866, COLEMAN Thomas is listed against 'Hare and Hounds.'
  • In the National Archives, there are deeds relating to the Hare and Hounds (also known as the Hare and Dog), together with nine acres purchased by the Reverend Charles William Holbech from John Alfred Stranks for £1,000.
  • In a trade directory of 1869, John Tasker was the Victualler of the Hare and Hounds, and the Wyatt family were still listed as wheelwrights. He was still there in 1874.
  • In 1883 a RN Mace is listed as "Hare and Hounds".
  • In 1928, Taylor William is at the Hare and Hounds public house.

(from electoral registers): William TAYLOR (in 1920), Frederick Henry BENNETT (in 1939)

Particular thanks to Liz Newman, local historian, for her invaluable help in compiling this article and sharing her hard-won knowledge so freely.

If you wish to know more about Warmington, there is an excellent website here, which has informed much of this article:

http://www.warmingtonheritage.com

If you'd like to put a name to a face, allow us to introduce you to the crew...


Front of house

Dale Allison

Manager

Dale is a Yorkshire lad at heart but moved down to the midlands to start his career in pubs, and hasn't looked back! He is an avid Middlesbrough supporter and you'll find him talking all things football. When they aren't playing, Dale enjoys skiing and Geocahing (ask him if you're unsure of what this is, we were!) If you want to impress him, he has a keen liking for French reds wines.

Joshua Tustain

Deputy Manager

Born and bred Banbury man that spends most of his time on one side of the bar; whether he's pouring pints or drinking them he just loves everything about the atmosphere in a pub. Known by many for working in the local area for a number of years now and frequently gets asked 'if you don't mind me asking, how tall are you?' It's 6'5"... Him and his girlfriend have an 8 year old Springer Spaniel which he loves walking around the beautiful local countryside.

Gem

Trainee Assistant Manager

Gem is our resident ex air hostess turned Trainee Assistant Manager. She has worked her way up through different roles at the Falcon. In her spare time she enjoys nothing more than opening a bottle of red wine and relaxing with her soon to be husband Aaron and their two Labradors Bella and Ruby. She is also a keen gardener and baker.

Philippa Miller

Supervisor

Pip joined the team after 12 years as an Office Manager/PA with extensive event management experience - admin simply wasn't as much fun as this for her! You'll get to know her quickly from her big smile, friendly conversation and personal approach. A country girl who adores animals, Pip spends her time off cooking international foods and trying wines with her boyfriend, seeking out the perfect hot sauce, and having long 'conversations' with Dolly, her cat...

Carrie Davies

Bar/Waiting Staff

Carrie has been with us since the beginning, coming up to 7 years this November. Carrie enjoys going on walks with her beautiful dog Teddy and dining out with her husband Robin. They also enjoy visiting Wales together.

Mel

Bar/Waiting Staff

Mel is a passionate gardener and loves socialising and eating out. She has two grandchildren that she loves spending time with and a wonderful family. Mel is also extremely passionate about mental health and is a qualified MIND mental health first aider. Before joining us she worked in Event Management for 25 years.


Kitchen

Piotr Wysocki

Head Chef

Piotr is Polish by descent but now lives in lovely Cardiff with his fiancée Sam. He initially wanted to play football professionally, but injury ended his career so he went from player to ref, and then from ref to chef. Piotr is a huge character and always has an ear to ear grin on him all day long, he loves to brighten everyone's morning with his loud singing which can be heard from everywhere in the pub. Piotr is a true asset to the company and really knows what he's talking about when it comes to all things food.

Peter Tomsett

Chef de Partie

Peter was born in Nottingham but moved to Banbury in 2002. He started his path with The Falcon after showing great enthusiasm about his dream to be a chef. Peter is a big family man and loves to share pictures and stories about his wife and two children. We are very happy to have Peter on board and we know there will never be a dull moment at The Falcon with him around.

Shay Jacques

Kitchen Porter

They seek him here, they seek him there, Shay is everywhere in our kitchen from larda to pastry to prep; what a guy to have in our kitchen. Tries his hand at most things and often succeeds!


Maintenance

Boon

Gardener/Maintenance Person

Nobody knows Boon's real name or why he's here. Boon's natural habitat is at the bar, ale in hand, or behind the mower. His work is invaluable and his creations are absolutely boontastic.