The Anchor – The Railway Hotel – The Wise Alderman – The Highwayman Hotel
Built in the early 1700’s the original building has been an Inn, Hotel and Public House throughout its three hundred year history.
Originally named the Anchor Beer house, the first land lady Anstis Faulkner can be found in the Victuallers Recognizance Record Book of 1753-1759. It is not known if her husband Henry had been the publican before his death in 1733 but Anstis continued in the trade until her death in 1759 when the licence passed to John Watts who was the publican here between 1760 until his death in1784. His wife Elizabeth was the youngest daughter of Henry and Anstis Faulkner, and continued as landlady until her death in 1793 when their son James took over. James was born in the pub in 1764 and died there in 1814 he lived long enough to see the Oxford Canal built on his doorstep in 1790 and would have no doubt made a few shillings from the navies employed to do so. Some time between his death and the Enclosure Awards 1818 James’s widow Ann (nee Davis) moved to The Dog (then in School Road) She probably took the anchor that had stood outside with her as the Dog had become The Dog and Anchor by 1891. John and Elizabeth had 10 children while they kept the pub. James Watts and Ann added 9 brothers and sisters for Thomas, who had been born in 1788, while they were the publicans.
With the coming of the Great Western Railway in 1850 Kidlington had its own station and by 1855 the name the Anchor had been changed to the Railway Hotel to reflect this new modern form of transport.
Two world wars later Kidlington was to lose its Station when Dr Beeching cut more than 25% of British Rails network in the mid 1960’s at this time the name over the door was Wilf Hillier and much of the pubs gardens were then used by Finchers Coal Merchants. It was in 1967 that the name was changed again, this time in the honor of a former British Rail employee Frank Wise who operated the nearby signal box until his retirement in the early sixties. Frank had been a highly respected Parish Councilor and in due course an Alderman which was a title bestowed upon senior members until local government procedural changes in 1974.
It was then known as the Wise Alderman or locally “The Wise” and at this time Tony and Diane Lane with sons Kevin & Paul who had previously been the hosts at the Kings Arms the Moors took over until they in turn moved on to the Woodstock Arms to be replaced by Dennis and Brenda O’Donnovan. The 1990’s saw significant changes with the development of the Barn and outbuildings into letting rooms and grounds used by the Caravan Club. A father daughter combination, Michael and Ann Croft became the licensee in 2005 prior to the most recent name change in 2009 when it became the Highwayman Hotel.
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