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Here is what we think is the only comprehensive record of pubs and beerhouses within the Coventry city boundaries going back as far as available records allow. This is an ongoing project so contributions, corrections or additions to this archive, especially anecdotes, photos and media are most welcome. Feel free to contact us for a pint and a chat anytime.

The Cross Keys

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NAME CROSS KEYS
ADDRESS SMITHFORD STREET
THIS PREMISES WAS KNOWN BY DIFFERENT NAMES DURING ITS HISTORY FROM TO KNOWN AS
1570 1750 CROSS KEYS, Smithford Street
1671 BLACK HORSE
1756 FLOWER DE LUCE AND CROWN, High Street
1795 1926 FLEUR DE LYS, Smithford Street
1822 1823 CROWN AND FLEUR DE LIS
1835 1835 BEERHOUSE
This is a common sign in Christian heraldry, referring to St. Peter, to whom Jesus said, 'I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven'. The papal arms show crossed keys and they occur again in the arms of various bishops such as those of Exeter, Gloucester, Peterborough, Ripon and St. Asaph where the cathedral in each case is dedicated to St. Peter.

There are documents in Lincoln Record Office concerning this pub dated 1570 and 1614. In 1671 we read of a mesuage formerly known as the Cross keys, now called the Black Horse Yet it later reverts to the Cross Keys as in the will of John Moore dated 1729, the Cross Keys is listed as being owned by him.

In 1731 John Moore dies and leaves the Cross Keys to the Trustees of the Unitarian Meeting House in Vicar Lane, which is built partly on yard of the pub. The first regular stagecoach from Coventry to London ran from 6th August 1750. It began from the Cross Keys in Smithford Street and took two days initially, reduced to 14 1/2 hours by the end of the century. In 1795 a victualler tenanted the former Cross Keys, later the FLEUR DE LIS, Smithford Street.
Known Licensees are;
1729 William Perkins
1820 Richard Dunn
1832 - 1861 John Bailey
1861 - 1868 Mrs Harriett Bailey
1871 - 1874 John Scampton
1879 John Wilcox Oswin
1881 E. B. Twycross
1886 R. Yardley
1890 - 1894 C. Brown
1896 Elizabeth A. Brown
1902 William Sargent Thrasher
1902 George William Roots
1903 H. H. Archer
1904 - 1912 John J. Franklin
1912 - 1922 Thomas Fletcher
1822 - 1823 John Davies
1924 - 1927 L. T. Jacques
1835 John Bailey
Owners;
1820 John Freeman Taylor, Thomas Horsfall, Richard henson Tilt, Edward Hall, William Newsome, Richard Horsfall, William Brown and Thomas Adcock, the survivng trustees of the Vicar Lane Meeting
1896 William & Emma Brain of Oxford
1896 - 1899 Phillips & Marriott
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