29 August 2015

A weekend with Lord Byron
in an old inn in Trumpington

The Lord Byron, Trumptington … a weekend visit before a week’s study leave in Cambridge (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I am back in Cambridge this morning [29 August 2015], and I am staying in Trumpington for the weekend, before moving into Sidney Sussex College tomorrow evening for a week’s study leave to take part in the annual conference organised by the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies.

Trumpington is about 3 km south of Cambridge city, and about 3 km from Cambridge rail station, with the No 7 bus connecting the station and the Lord Byron, where I am staying for this weekend.

Because of its proximity to Grantchester, with its picture-postcard prettiness and its literary associations with Rupert Brooke, Trumpington is often quickly passed by. But it is an equally appealing and historic place. Indeed, Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Reeve’s Tale’ in The Canterbury Tales was written about the Miller at Trumpington. It begins:

At Trompynton, nat fer fro Canterbrigge,
Ther goth a brook and over that a brigge,
Up-on the whyche brook ther tant a melle;
And this is verray soth as I yow telle.

The Lord Byron Inn on Church Lane dates back to the 17th century. It has a restaurant, a large conservatory, a large garden with a children’s play area and bed and breakfast accommodation.

Previously known as ‘The Unicorn,’ this is one of nine public houses that have been run in Trumpington over the last 500 years, and the one surviving pub not located on the main road through the village. It was extended in 2008 to provide bed and breakfast, and after 170 years as ‘The Unicorn’ it was renamed The Lord Byron Inn three years ago [May 2012].
The Green Man, Trumptington … originally built as a timber framed 15th century hall-house (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Trumpington has had several inns over the centuries. The Ram’s Head was owned by Edward Pychard in 1547. The White Lion was recorded in 1667 and 1764, and the Black Swan in 1686 and 1704.

By the late 18th century two inns, both still open, faced one another at the north end of the village. The Green Man on the east of the road occupies a timber framed 15th century hall-house with cross wings. In the 16th century its hall was divided to give two floors. Substantial later extensions include a bay window towards the main road. Remodelling carried out ca 1954 has largely concealed its original character.

The Coach and Horses to the west has been converted in recent years into a Chinese restaurant and grill. It included an early 17th-century northern section, and once had early 17th-century panelling in two ground-floor rooms.

The Green Man and the Coach and Horses were the only inns recorded in Trumpington in the 1790s. By the 1840s, the Tally Ho and Red Lion had been opened further south along the Main Street.

The Tally Ho is still open, but the Red Lion, although it was rebuilt ca 1950, closed around 1975.

Trumpington is close to the pretty village of Grantchester, and Byron’s Pool, where Lord Byron swam regularly while he was an undergraduate in Cambridge is about a mile away, which explains the new name for the old Unicorn.

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