Three Kings Inn

It is a popular misconception that The Three Kings in Hanley Castle was named after the three wise men of biblical fame. In fact the earliest deeds of the property show that three Kings brothers owned this 16th century timber-framed building in the late 17th century. One of them, Richard Kings, sold the property to Anthony Lechmere in 1710 for £4 15s (£520 today). It has been owned by the Lechmere estate ever since.

In the census of 1841 James and Elizabeth Little are identified as beerhouse keepers in the village of Hanley, but by the following census in 1851 Joseph and Sarah Hughes had taken over as innkeepers. Perhaps at that time and certainly by 1855, according to Billing’s Directory, they had renamed the pub the Hare & Hounds. Only when they left, before the 1881 census, did the name revert back to The Three Kings, with Henry and Elizabeth Tomkins as innkeepers. The publicans changed regularly until 1911, when Fred and Ethel Roberts took over, passing the licence on to their son George in 1960, with his widow Sheila taking over in 1990. Today it is in the hands of the third generation of Roberts, George and Sheila’s daughter Sue.

Present day:

A rare unspoilt pub in rural Worcestershire, The Three Kings received the ultimate award of CAMRA National Pub of the Year in 1993 and was runner-up in 1998. In 2003 it was top of a list of six of the best historic pubs selected by Victorian Society chairman Geoff Brandwood.

Landlord Sue Roberts normally serves two regular beers, Hobson’s and Butcombe, plus a changing selection of three from as far a field as Orkney (Skullsplitter at 8.5%, a hefty pint) and the Scilly Isles. Since records began in 1992, the pub has served more than 3500 different real ales.

There is a beer festival every November featuring well over 50 real ales, including some really obscure brews. Live music can usually be heard Friday lunchtimes and on Sundays.

A pub reviewer said, “I adore The Three Kings because it’s like stepping into a bygone era. Go there if you want proper beer, good conversation and no mod cons.”

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