THE THREE CROWNS

There has been an 'ale-house' on this site since the fifteenth century, and in 1589 a law was passed on November 10th. that all ale-house keepers had to hang out a sign and obtain a licence with a bond of £10 and also a surety for £5 to keep good order in their house. Why the 'Three Crowns' was chosen as the name of the Askett public house can only be guessed at, as no records exist, but the pub prospered and the present building was built at the end of the eighteenth century.

In December 1829, a meeting of local landowners met at the Three Crowns and gave notice of their intention to enclose the common lands of the Parish. About 2,300 acres were affected, including the tithe land of the Rector and the rights of the poor, who had always been allowed to take wood for fuel from the scrubland on the hills up at Cadsden. The local inhabitants were concerned about their rights of access to the hills and footpaths, but the landowners were interested in preserving and increasing their income from the land. After nearly ten years of enmity a compromise was reached. The churchwardens of Monks Risborough were given the trusteeship of land on the Lower Icknield, the Bennel allotments and in Cadsden Road at the Rumbra Allotments to augment 'poor relief' by charging rent which then provided coal, and a plot of land about White Cliffes (Whiteleaf) for the 'recreation of the poor people' (now the cricket ground).

The Rector, Henry Dimock, surrendered his tithe and the right to 'wood for three fires', but was compensated with over 430 acres of meadow and arable land, and thus became the second largest landowner in the parish, after the Lord of the Manor.

Other meetings were held in public houses. "The general Court Baron of the Manor of Monks Risborough, (part of the estate of the Earl of Buckinghamshire as part of the Hampden Estates), was held on 13th. January 1840, at the house of James Biggs, known as the Three Crowns,

Ascott, where several and respected tenants and residents of the said Manor are required to do their respective suit and service according to the custom of the said Manor" - in other words - pay their quit or lease rents, in lieu of the old labouring custom. Thus a 'public' matter was settled after a meeting in a public house.

Shakespeare described a publican as being 'surveyor of roads' and 'collector of assessed taxes'. It is clear from these records that the keeper of the public house in the village was a person of importance in the community because of his job. It was also the only public building available for meetings (other than the church).

In 1838 Sarah Biggs, aged seventeen, married farmer Francis Bishop, and as her father James grew older, the licence was given to Francis Roger Bishop in 1850.

Over the years, other names came and went. By 1903 Charles BradIey held the licence . then George Clark, then William Keyworth until in 1920, Harry Ashby took over, until he went to Whiteleaf as steward of the golf club.

Time meant progress and change, and William Rixon and later his son-in-law took over. By 1965 the Three Crowns had become a very popular public house run by John and Jean Thompkins. In 1982 it was redecorated and reconstructed by the new landlord.

Footnote: In the 1950s the landlord was named Clark

It was JANE Thompkins, not Jean. The new landlord who redecorated and altered the interior in 1982 was Bill Scrimshaw.

Since 1982 there have been at least 4 new landlords, including Peter and Christina Donald, Simon and Beccy, Tom Fuller and most recently Christian Wioland.

Many will remember the Friday evening early in the 1990s when in a terrific thunder storm, the windows were broken by huge hailstones and most of the cars in the second hand car sales lot next to Askett Nurseries (where Grange View estate is) were damaged beyond repair.

The Three Crowns, with Christian at the helm, has proved a valuable asset to the village.

Click HERE to return to the map.