The Swan | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

The Swan

The Swan
139 High Street, Berkhamsted

The Swan is a former coaching inn on the corner of Berkhamsted High Street and Chesham Road (formerly Grubbs Lane). Dating from the 16th or 17th century, it is possible that this building was originally a row of three inns that were later joined together.

At the time the Swan was built, Berkhamsted High Street lay on an important stagecoach route. Coaches travelling from London to Tring, Banbury and Birmingham passed through Berkhamsted, and wealthy passengers brought trade to the town, stopping here for food and lodgings.  The Universal British Directory of 1791 states that four coaches a week went between the Swan Inn and the Bell and Crown in Holborn.

Originally, the Swan had a small brewery and malting at the back of the premises. It was bought by George and Charles Foster in 1817, and was later owned by James Foster 1839-50. In 1853 it was acquired by a noted Berkhamsted entrepreneur John Edward Lane senior (1808 –1889). Lane was well-known nationally as a horticulturalist, and the family firm John Lane Nurseries supplied plants to parks and gardens all over the country. He expanded his business interests into beer brewing and acquired several pubs. The Swan is one of a chain of former John Lane pubs in Berkhamsted – the others are The Brownlow Arms, The Greyhound in Dunstable, The Crystal Palace and The George.

Lane ran the Swan until 1871, when he sold it, along with the Brownlow Arms and the George, to Henry James Foster. Lane died in 1889 and was buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery.

In the late 20th century the Swan ceased trading as a pub. In 1996 the dilapidated building was renovated and re-opened as a youth centre. Today, the Swan Youth Project works to support young people, providing a social meeting space, accommodation and counselling.


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Discover the memorials in Rectory Lane Cemetery with historical links to The Swan

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