Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
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.
(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:
Stuart is a born and bred Cheshire man who earnt his spurs at the Dysart as a young lad. He studied Business and Information Management at Liverpool Uni but the pull of the pumps was too much to resist. After a stint at the Pheasant in Burwardsley, he went on to run the Bear's Paw in Sandbach before returning to B&P. He loves to socialise with friends, is a keen mountain biker and, God forbid, enjoys golf.
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"... His friends and family are the most important thing and does everything he can to spend time with them.
Our lovely passionate Latvian Laila has been in hospitality for 8 years now and her journey started with learning how important milk is for tea! Laila has been doing photography in her spare time for longer for 10 years and also likes exploring the world and trying different foods.
Carrie is very much a family lady, she lives with her husband Robin and has three children, 2 grandchildren and even another little grandchild on the way! Carrie is kind, considerate and always looking to help out, but at the end of a busy shift likes nothing more than relaxing in the sun enjoying a large glass of Pinot Grigio.
Martyn started his days with Brunning and Price as a KP at The Greyhound in Oxford. Since then he has developed a strong love for food which has resulted in him working his way up to where he is now at The Falcon. Martyn is the happiest, most hard working chef you'll ever come across and there's no doubt that this alone will get him to where he wants to be.
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.
Use the calendar to book a table. If the time you're after is not available, give us a call and we will try our best to fit you in. We keep some tables for phone bookings.
We don't reserve any of our outside tables so if you enjoy a little alfresco dining these are first come first serve.