The History of The Tite Inn
“In these woulds there feed in great numbers, flockes of sheepe, long necked and square of bulke and bone, by reason of the weally and hilly situation of their pasturage; whose wool being so fine and soft as had in passing great account among all nations.”
It isn’t known when The Tite Inn first became a pub, or even exactly when the building itself was built, but records show it existed in the late 17th century, at least from 1688 when Thomas and Sarah Bugg, wool weavers by trade, were recorded as living here. The part of Chadlington where The Tite Inn is located was known as the Mill Close Estate which at the time consisted of “divers odd lands” and “two allottinients” of around 7 acres and several outbuildings. The road is still called Mill Close, and this end of Chadlington is today known as Mill End.
Inn the Beginning
Although we know the building dates from the 17th century, it hasn’t always been a pub. We think it’s original use was as a weaver’s shop which makes sense as it was so close to the mill race, still partially visible in the brook to the west of the pub.
The Cotswolds’ main industry at the time was based around the wool-trade, with Cotswold Lions roaming the hills and fields, producing fine wools coveted by Flemish traders. Wool made the Cotswolds very wealthy, and the weaver’s shop would have been a vital part of the estate’s commercial activity.
In the mid-19th century, the building is recorded as being sold to one Thomas Hands, probably around the time the Mill Estate was being lotted and sold off. Thomas was a butcher by trade and probably ran a butcher’s shop in one of the adjacent buildings, but his profession as recorded on the deeds to this building were as a “beerhouse keeper”. It’s possible that Thomas converted the building into the pub you see today as there are no records mentioning its use as an alehouse before this time.
Thomas Hands died in 1878 aged 72, appointing his nephew, Edwin Hands, as trustee and executor of his will. The disposal of the estate shows that “The Inn, together with the butcher’s shop, barn, hovel, buildings and garden, all late in the occupation of Thomas Hands”, were to be sold to William Sheridan and Henry Charles Lardner for £920.
The Lardner’s owned an established brewery and wine merchant company in Little Compton and by 1881 The Tite Inn was being rented to Charles Ions (or Ivins), a publican from Broad Campden until in 1899 Lardners sold all their public houses, including The Tite Inn, to Hitchmans Brewery of West Street, Chipping Norton.
Not much is known about The Tite Inn under Hitchmans’ ownership. It seems it was a rather poor, run-down place, not making much profit and Hitchman’s books show no record of repairs or alterations to The Tite despite their other inns benefiting from regular maintenance and attention. While Hitchman’s evidently had little love for the Tite, it’s probable that they at least gave The Tite Inn its modern name.
Walter Betteridge, served as landlord between 1905 and 1910 before moving his family to London. He was replaced by A.Kerry until 1914 and all we know about him was that he paid an annual rent of £12.
Considering we are now narrating modern times, we still know very little about The Tite in the early 20th century. We know there were a succession of landlords including Philip Cooper (1914 to 1916), John Holloway in the 1920’s and a Mr White and a Michael Flint.
Hitchman & Co. sold The Tite Inn to Hunt Edmunds Hotels Ltd in 1966 along with other properties, after which the trail goes cold again until the 1980’s.
In 1986 The Tite Inn was bought by Mike and Sue Willis who owned the pub until 2007. The pub became well known for offering a large selection of real ales and won Camra’s North Oxfordshire Pub of the Year in 2005.
The Tite Inn also became well known for hosting a number of eccentric events such as Easter Egg Rolling (including a Dad’s category where contraptions such as rockets and trebuchets were used to race-launch eggs), very adult pantomimes, annual charity bike rides and The Great Brook Run, which The Tite still hosts annually to this day.
In 2007 the pub was taken over by Kitty and Robert Dyke and enjoyed a brief time as a successful gastro-pub before falling into a rapid decline and closing its doors in 2010. The pub was rescued by Ann & David Pyle in 2012 who, while living in a caravan in the carpark, set about a complete renovation, carefully keeping its character intact while injecting new life into the business which reopened in the autumn of that year.
The Tite Inn is now enjoying a well deserved renaissance, having a roaring trade with locals and tourists alike. It’s in better shape now than it probably has ever been and is ready to welcome guests, serve beer and great food for the next 335 years!
Part of the Oxfordshire Inns Ltd group