Red Lion Inn

The Red Lion Inn

The Red Lion Inn was located on the corner of Red Lion Lane, as the Street became the Ash Road.

The name of the establishment perhaps dated back to a time when John of Gaunt required his badge to be displayed at locations offering accommodation to the sheep drovers who travelled towards the Capital from the West and the North.

That at least is the story told about the Old Red Lion in Islington about which there is a local connection. The hostelry, set on the north road into London, is said to have been founded as a business in 1415, to be one of the oldest in the Capital. In the 1790s, it was owned by the father of Charles Barron Esq of Aldershot Place, his own ownership established by 1831. In 1839, when living in Pall Mall as an established wine merchant, Charles the Younger  opted to lease the Red Lion together with three adjoining cottages. There is no indication of who owned it from 1841 onwards. The sale of the Old Red Lion might have been required when Charles Barron needed to fund the build of his mansion in his Aldershot Park estate in 1842.

Another prompt for local usage of the name the Red Lion might instead have dated from the time of the Tichbornes when the Stuart King James I & VI ordered that public houses should display the red lion from his own arms.

Regardless, an early documented reference to ‘The Red Lion’ at Aldershot appears in the will of Andrew Bristow in March 1783. It passed by this to his nephew Bristow Bradley (b. 1758) of Farnham. Bradley appears as the owner in the Land Tax return for 1800, occupied by Joseph Hart. Ownership then passed in 1815 to another called Mr Bristow.

    • The records of Farnham Brewery note that Bristow Bradley was declared bankrupt in 1815. George Coldham Knight then bought the brewery and took on the lease at the Red Lion. [Deason]

Robert Hart, 1823 –

Robert was named as the occupier of the Red Lion in 1823, the property then owned by Mr Knight. Robert had followed on from his mother, ‘Mrs Hart’, who was listed as the occupier after Joseph Hart died in 1820, aged 78.

Described as an Ale House Keeper in the parish baptismal record in 1825, Robert Hart was again listed as a publican in the parish baptismal register for his daughter Mary Ann in 1832. The property was recorded in that year as a public house in the Land Tax return, owned by a Mr Elkins.

Robert was locally born, baptised at St Michael’s in May 1791, one of the younger children of Joseph and Elisabeth Hart who had married in Aldershot in October 1766.

Robert’s elder brother James, also born in Aldershot, was aged 77, a farmer of 103 acres at Wyke which was on the other side of Ash. His two older sisters had married men having properties in Aldershot. Mary (bap. 1780) had married William Robinson who in 1841 was farming at Smokey Hole by the Aldershot Park estate. His other sister was Ann (bap. 1787) who had married George Goy in 1810. She was widowed in 1833 and became the owner of three cottages in Drury Lane.

Robert Hart had also been an owner of land as far back as 1832, included then in the Electoral Register as a freeholder for the land at Oxenage Lane in Ash. By 1834, he had become a farmer at Wyke, recorded as such in the baptismal register of St Peter’s Church, Ash. Robert was in Worpleston in 1841 but was back in Aldershot by 1851 as a tenant farmer farmer of 86 acres having taken out the lease of Holly[bush] Farm following the death of William Tice.

    • His daughter Elizabeth married James Calloway of Coombe Farm, Farnborough, in October 1851. He had been widowed three years earlier by the death of his first wife Sarah. Calloway was listed In the 1851 Census, carried out earlier that year, as a farmer of 175 acres. Elizabeth Hart was recorded as his unmarried housekeeper.  

Frederick Freeman, c.1839

By 1839 Frederick Freeman was at the Red Lion, owned by Mr Erskine and then by April 1841 with Andrew Colyson (sp?) as the owner.

    • Thomas Digby, an illiterate horse breaker from Badshot Lea, made a public apology in the  Hampshire Advertiser ran a story on 25th August 1838 to Frederick Freeman, listed as a publican from Aldershot. He had earlier publicly accused him of attempting to commit a crime “too abominable to be mentioned.” Freeman also received £15 in compensation. [Deason]

John Kimber, 1841 –  1847

John Kimber came from Farnham where he was born on Christmas Day in 1799. In 1841 his mother Sarah was living in East Street, Farnham as a widow, having ‘Independent’ means in the household of John’s younger brother Henry, also a carpenter.

In 1832 John Kember (Kimber?), a widower, married Harriet Freeman, both able to sign their name in the register in Farnham. John was recored as a carpenter and son of a carpenter.

This was John’s second marriage, having first married Mary Ann Tims in Southampton St Mary in January 1820. There were likely previous children, perhaps born in or near Southampton, but one daughter was Mary Ann, baptised in Farnham in January 1830. Their son William was baptised in Farnham on 24 April 1831. Their mother Mary Ann died shortly afterwards, at age 28. She was buried on 30th May, likely of birthing complications.

This left John as a widower with two infant children. He wed Harriet in October 1832. She was the daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Freeman from Portsea St Mary in Portsmouth where Harriet had been baptised in 1800, as had her father in 1773. Her parents moved to Farnham, her mother Elizabeth buried in September 1838, aged 83 and her father in November, aged 87 years old, formerly resident at Bourn Mill.

John and Harriet’s first child John was born in Fratton, Portsmouth in November 1832, with baptism in Portsea St Mary two years later in September 1834.

In August 1840, John and Harriet, living on the Guildford Road, named their son ‘Frederick Freeman Kember’. By the time of the 1841 Census in June John Kimber and family were in Aldershot, recorded as a carpenter. The Tithe Apportionment confirms him as the landlord of the Red Lion, then owned by William Bristow.

Their household included their two children, John and Frederick, his by his previous marriage, Mary Ann and William, and two other females, listed as aged 20 and 10. The latter child was Mary Ann ‘Freamen’, likely Harriet’s niece. Her parents, Harriet’s brother and wife, had been living in nearby Farnham at the time of her birth; they had both died in the spring of 1836.

Sadly, their two boys died near the start of 1847, prompting the departure of the family from the Red Lion. First there was the loss of ‘Frederick Freeman Kimber’, aged 6, on 7th January 1847. His death in Aldershot was registered in Farnham by the coroner and not until April, the cause of death given was ‘compression of the brain’. He was described as an “Innkeeper’s son.” Next, not quite a month later, there was the loss of John and Harriet’s older son, John, who died on 5th February, aged 13. He had been suffering from influenza for three weeks, the cause of death attributed to hydrothorax [a flooding of the lungs].

The 1851 Census records John Kimber in Aldershot as a carpenter with his wife Harriet and his son William, also a carpenter.  His daughter Mary Ann, aged 21, was a dressmaker in Farnham.

George Falkner

    • George Falkner, a plumber and innkeeper, and his wife Ann arrived from Farnham in 1848. [Deason]

George was born in Farnham in 1820. He had married in Farnham in April 1845 to Ann, the daughter of Edmund Elseley, a farmer from Elstead. Their son Frank was baptised at Hale in 1848 when the family was living on the Farnborough Road. He was installed at the Red Lion by 1851, listed as both an inn keeper and a plumber, a trade he shared with his father Thomas with whom he had been living in 1841.

George Falkner was still the landlord at the Red Lion in 1853, although ownership was recoded as Mr Barratt rather than Mr Bristow as it had been in 1851.