Umfreville, Innkeepers of Ewell, at 'the sign of the Popinjay'

but did that relate to a hostelry originally known as the Red Lyon, or another called the George Inn?

The question arises because, during 1636, John Taylor published A Catalogue of Tavernes in which he remarked "At Ewell, two Katherin Umbrevile and Francis Kendall: but one may serve that towne, and doth (as I think) which is the signe of the Popinjay."

Umfreville Genealogy

The family surname was actually 'Umfreville' and a connection has, somewhat uncertainly, been claimed with the family from Farnham Royal, Bucks., - whose Pedigree may be found at

Allegedly, the direct line of descent was: -
Gilbert de Umfreville, 1st Earl of Angus
Robert de Umfreville, 2nd Ear1 of Angus
Thomas de Umfreville m. Joan de Rodham
Sir Robert de Umfreville by a mistress
William Umfreville (illegitimate.)
William Umfreville
Andrew Umfreville
Roger Umfreville m. --- Luddington
Gervase Umfreville (circa 1570 - before 1634) m. Katherine Digby, probably at Ewell, Surrey, about 1600
John Umfreville (1)
John Umfreville (2) was baptized on 11 July 1630 at Ewell, a son of John (1). John Umfreville/Humphreville , the younger first appeared in America at New Haven, Connecticut in 1674. New Haven land records show several transactions for him, the last of which was dated 20 September 1720.
One of the Johns appears in the 1664 Hearth Tax Return for Ewell surnamed 'Umphry', with 4 hearth but 'not chargeable'.

Red Lyon

Cloudesley S Willis appears to have been mistaken in a suggesting that the Popinjay Inn was a later name for the Red Lyon. The latter existed in 1577 as shown by an entry in the Taylor Survey following: -
"Here in the street is scituate and standing a howse late builded which is called the Townehowse not letten but used to thuse of the Towne onely. -

The Nicholas Saunder holdeth by Copy of Ewell a tenement being an Inne called The Redd Lyon with a barne one stable a yarde backside too little gardens abutting upon landes of the said Nicholas being copy holde of the south upon the said street or highway leding thorough Ewell to Kingeston of the west upon the parsonage landes of thest and upon Frehold landes of the said Nicholas of the Northe conteyning by estimacion iij rodes."
A trade token inscribed 'Ferdinando Downeing 1663 of YEWILL HIS HALFPENNY' bears a lion rampant and is assumed to have been issued from the Red Lion Inn. The proprietor appears in the Hearth Tax Return of 1664 as 'Fardin Downing', chargeable for three hearths.

The Ferdinando Downeing Trade Token
The Ferdinando Downeing Trade Token

On this evidence, the tavern's name would appear to have remained unchanged at the date John Taylor, the 'Water Poet', was writing during the 17th century and identifies the publican in 1636 to have been Francis Kendall.

Queen Anne or Queen's Head

In the 18th century, after a new monarch came to the throne in 1702, the Red Lyon became known as the Queen Anne or Queen's Head, evidenced by:-
22 October 1760. Copy of court roll, manors of Ewell and Cuddington: admission of George Glyn, esq., by surrender of Thomas Williams, customary tenant. Sir Richard Glyn, bart, father, appointed guardian. Property: 'The Queen's Head', formerly the 'Lyon' with malthouse, outhouses, yard and garden, occupier William Chelsham...[SHC K86/1/13] - see also Copyhold Plot 234.

[William 'Chelsham' appears to have been the son of John Chelsome and Anne - born 22 January 1718 and christened at Ewell on 1 February 1718. In 1733 (rather than 1773 as suggested in Nonsuch Antiquarian Society's Occasional paper No. 15) John Chelsome of Ewell, yeoman, and Joseph Pierce of Ewell, ganger and messenger of excise, certified that duty had been paid on the corn which burnt down Mary Chelsome's malthouse SHCOL QS/6/1733/Mic3. A stoneware tankard bearing the name of John Chelsome is reported to have been found.]

The stoneware pint pot dug up near the Spring Hotel which bore the bust of Queen Anne and an incised inscription 'Adam Arnold 1765 A. R.'.

[A Marriage Allegation on 24 January 1766 referred to Adam Arnold of Ewell, abode 4 weeks, innkeeper, bachelor aged 36, who was to wed Mary Chelsome, widow, (of William Chelsham above) at Ewell. In the event, the ceremony was conducted in St Paul's church, Covent Garden, the following day with Adam Arnold described as 'of this Parish' and his bride 'of the Parish of Ewell'.]
3 January 1769 Overseers Accounts - Vestry at Arnolds

31 March 1777. A reference to the Vestry having adjourned to 'Adam Arnold known by ye sign of ye Queen's Head Inn at Ewell'.

1 February 1782. A lease of Queen's Head, Ewell, with malthouse, garden and adjoining messuage for 21 years by Sir George Glyn to Henry Kitchen, the younger. [SHC 6832/1/5/12 & 13].

4 March 1785 Court Roll Surrendered by William Chelsome 18 October 1759 to Mary, his wife, for life. Transfer by Elizabeth Chelsham to Mary Arnold, widow of Adam Arnold, formerly widow of William Chelsome.

3 November 1790 Court Roll Mary Arnold, tenant for life, died. By his will dated 6 Aug 1764, William Chelsome, Innholder, had demised to nephews, William Parkhurst and William Jubb,on death of Mary Arnold, then Chelsome, as tenants in common.

1803 Enclosure Award Not identified by name but shown at Plot 234 as House and Garden in possession of Sir George Glyn.

2 November 1814. Copy of court roll of the manor of Ewell - admission of Sir Lewen Powell Glyn to the Queen's Head, formerly the Lyon, with malthouse, 6 messuages and 15a in Ewell. [SHC 6832/1/4/184]

27 October 1835. Copy of court roll of manor of Ewell: mortgage by way of conditional surrender by Sir Lewen Powell Glyn to John Chapman of Louth, Lincs., of messuage (formerly a public house known as The Lion, afterwards the Queen's Head), malthouse, 7 messuages and 25a land. [SHC 6832/1/3/28]

In Vol. XLVIII of Surrey Archaeological Collections, Cloudesley S. Willis, in regard to 'An Old Workshop at Ewell', noted: -
"At No. 9 High Street, Ewell, there stood until lately a range of outbuildings that had served several uses - some not of the strictest legality. In 1577 the premises seem to have been the Red Lyon Inn, later named the Queen Anne and the Queen's Head. Parts of the outbuildings had been respectively a barn, a cow- house and apparently stables. Then, when it ceased to be an inn, the property was occupied by Alfred Bliss, a veterinary surgeon and farrier. In 1838 Richard Bliss and Henry Willis, Whitesmiths, Millwrights and Ironmongers, moved from another part of Ewell into the premises, and adapted the outbuildings as their workshop; and in that year their names appear in the Rate Book as occupiers."
Amongst additional details on pages 38 to 41 in A Short History of Ewell and Nonsuch, the author also remarks: - "It is said that the whole range of buildings to the corner was occupied as an inn named the Queen Anne". This observation seems, however, to have been a misunderstanding arising from the fact that a length of the present High Street was once called 'Queen's Head Street'. Examples of references to it are found as follows: -

24 December 1802, Counterpart lease for 14 years 1) Sir George Glyn 2) John Boover of Ewell, grocer. Messuage at junction of Queen's Head Street and Church Street, with garden and appurtenances, Ewell. Consideration: £20 pa.


Counterpart lease for 14 years 1) Sir George Glyn 2) Elizabeth Harding of Ewell, widow. Messuage with yard and appurtenances in Queen's Head Street, Ewell, occupier for past 13 years John Harding deceased, and a passage of 6ft on south taken from yard occupied by William Bliss. [SHC K86/1/40]

Leases by Sir Lewen Powell Glyn of Ewell, baronet, of a house and yard in Queen's Head Street, Ewell, with a passage-way 6 feet wide on its south side The premises were leased for 14 years at £20 rent pa in January 1824 to William Steward Wood of Ewell, baker, when already in the latter's occupation. The lease was renewed in September 1824 for a further 21 years at £10 rent. [SHC 895/3/20-21]

The Popinjay

As indicated by the introduction to this article, it was reported that there were only two inns at Ewell in 1636. One was named as the Popinjay and the other would have been the Red Lyon considered above. Whilst 'Katherin Umbrevile' could have been the landlady at either of them, her husband, Gervase, is named, as the copyholder, 'Jervas Umbreville', in 1608, of Plot 283. This places the inn off Church Street, otherwise called the George.

Popinjays, or parrots, were heraldic charges and supporters of John, Lord Lumley's arms. He had been lord of the Manor of Ewell from 1580 until 1609.

The George

The Foreword to Nonsuch Antiquarian Society's Occasional Paper No. 15., Ewell Public Houses in History, records that 'The first mention by name of a licensee in Ewell refers to a John Collins (otherwise Colsenea) who in 1583 applied to the Wine Office at Durham House near Charing Cross, (of which Sir Walter Ralegh was then Keeper), for a licence to sell wines by retail, for which he had to pay a yearly fee of 20s.' - Raleigh's patent.

These premises appear in the Court Rolls of Ewell Manor on 31 August 1592 as a messuage in East Street surrendered by John Collins, otherwise Collyer, to John Collins and Faith, his wife, 'afterwards to the use of Jarvis Umberfield'. The messuage in East Street, known by the sign of The George, with barn, stable, garden and curtilege passed from John Collyer to Jervas Umberville, 11 April 1608. On 11 November 1608, there followed a grant for life to James (Jarvis) Umbreville, 'then to Catherine, wife of James (Jarvis) Umbrevile'.

So the inn's name, George, pre-dated its sign of Popinjay and could not relate to a King of England at that time. John, Lord Lumley, however, was the only son of the Honourable George Lumley, attainted and executed for high treason in 29 Henry VIII [1537]. An explanation could be that it was named in memory of the father and bore the family's arms.

As Cloudesley Willis records, 'Church Street [was] anciently East Street'.

On 14 October 1706, following the death of John Waterer, the house passed to Joseph Winkles, Waterer's grandson, son of the latter's daughter Rebecca, deceased - a minor. The George was then occupied by William Atkins.

Before 1706, therefore, it had fallen into the possession of one of the notable families in Ewell and subsequently passed to others down the years, tenanted by a succession of publicans. Latterly brewers became directly involved seeking a tied outlet for their products.

A lease of the business about to be auctioned was advertised in The Times of 3 March 1796. By 1799 it had come into the hands of Thomas Cooper, brewer, of Leatherhead [Lion Brewery] but he died shortly afterwards. His Will dated 6 July 1797, with codicil 11 Mar 1800, was proved (PCC) 5 Aug 1800 [PROB 11/1346]. Proceedings in Chancery over the sale of assets in his estate ensued which were only resolved by an Order of the Court and Act [47 Georgii III Seff 2 Cap 122], which preceded an auction at the Swan Inn, Leatherhead, 29 & 30 October 1805. Henry William Coffin, hop factor of Counter Street, Southwark, then resumed bidding for property in Ewell [SHC K35/2/24]. Coffin died, aged 59, and was buried at St Saviours, Southwark, on 7 February 1810. [PROB 11/1521-19 April 1811]

Copyhold plot 283 on a map produced for Enclosure Award of 1803 is identified on the terrier (a register of the lands belonging to a landowner) with the messuage known as the George public house, but with its entrance from High Street.

After the admission of George Barnes to the copyhold, 11 March 1811, this public house was rebuilt in brick, with a frontage to the High Street, but remained known as The George Inn. Barnes, described as builder, dealer, and chapman (a dealer or merchant), was declared bankrupt during 1814. Anthony Harman, representing the Croydon Brewery, had acquired a lease from 2 December 1814 and the inn had passed to him by 1816 by purchase from Barnes' assignees.

In 1848 the Rev Thomas Harman inherited it with other assets but sold off the Croydon brewing business to Francis Nalder. The public houses were retained by Harman heirs having only been leased to Nalder.

After 1830, the tavern became King William IV. [On Colonel Ramsay Harman's enfranchisement in 1886 defined as "Inn, the 'George' (public house) afterwards the 'William the Fourth' (public house) in Ewell, in manors of Ewell and Cuddington." SHC 2238/57/56]. The premises were acquired by the Nalder and Collyer Brewery of Croydon about the same time.

The original wooden premises behind the High Street were accessed from Church Street, formerly East Street. A claim that they survived as a malting-house until 1820, when rebuilt in brick by the Stone family [A new structure which became the 'Malt House', Miss Margaret Glyn's music room, and is now St Michael's Sanctuary], does not appear well founded. Rather it seems that entry to the George could have first been obtained across land developed about 1790 as the Watch House. As the importance of Church Street declined in favour of the High Street, the inn yard was opened up to the latter as appears from the 1802 Enclosure Map. There maybe observed a way in for horses and vehicles curving towards outbuildings which might have been stabling. This is now the entrance to King William IV's car park.

Extract From 1802 Enclosure Map
Extract From 1802 Enclosure Map
Yellow Area = Queen's Head And Green Area = The George

Postcard View Of Ewell with the William IV Pub On The Righ
Postcard View Of Ewell with the William IV Pub On The Right
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Henry Umfreville became proprietor of the King's Head public house, now 11 Church Street, Ewell, but his Quaker side of the family involves a different story.

Brian Bouchard - December 2011

King's Head Ewell
King's Head Ewell
Bull's Head Ewell
Bull's Head Ewell
Adam Hogg
Adam Hogg
Hilda Andrews
Hilda Andrews
The Glyns
The Glyns
Journey Time
Journey Time
Thomas Tresize
Thomas Tresize
Blake Charles
Blake Charles