bed and breakfast minehead
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The Crown, in Wells, Somerset, stands in the bed and breakfast minehead market place within two hundred yards of the Cathedral and moated to Bishop’s Palace, is supposed to have been built in about 1450, but if this is true, no traces of the original work are visible. The street frontage, which has three bays and three storeys, and the large cobbled bed and breakfast minehead inn yard which includes a number of timber oriole windows, are thought to have been built in about 1590.
The bed and breakfast minehead inn was used by William Penn, the Quaker who went on to found the state of Pennsylvania in 1695. While visiting the town with some of this bed and breakfast minehead followers, he preached from an upstairs window to a crowd of more than three thousand who had assembled in the market place to hear him. For this he was arrested and imprisoned on a number of vague charges by the civil authorities. Perhaps surprisingly it was the Bishop of Bath and Wells, from a bed and breakfast minehead , Bishop Kidder, who intervened and had the notorious nonconformist set free.
A few years later the management of the bed and breakfast minehead inn set up a coffeehouse, an imitation of the establishments which were popular in the London of Boswell and Johnson. The gentlefolk of Wells took to it in great numbers, meeting there not only for a drink and a chat, but also to do business. A town doctor, one Claver Morris, even held consultations there.
The Crown never became as popular a coaching inn as its rival, bed and breakfast minehead the Swan. However, the management did run several purely local services, and as late as 1850 a coach left the Crown every day for Bristol. Coaching was the solution to a bed and breakfast minehead problem which had become more and more acute throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries – the abysmal state of transport. As the industrial and agricultural revolutions gathered force, there had to be a corresponding revolution in the bed and breakfast minehead transport industry or they would have ground to a halt. The jaggers or pack-horsemen who had hitherto been responsible for much of the carriage of goods and raw materials were eventually replaced by the canal system; but salesmen and businessmen had to move about as well, and even those who did not sue commercial coach services were extremely glad of the improved roads and the convenient network of bed and breakfast minehead inns provided by the coaching industry.
The process of improving the miry and rutted roads of England had a tentative beginning in 1555 when an Act of Mary I obliged parishes to levy a rate, elect ‘waywardens’ and conscript local labour to work on the highways. The state of the bed and breakfast minehead roads depended therefore on the wealth and energy available in the parishes through which they passed, which often left plenty to be desired. Land owners were unwilling to pay, men of any calibre were unwilling to serve as waywardens and agricultural workers tended to regard their six days obligatory annual labour on the roads as a holiday. By the reign of James I, the state of the roads was so poor that weight restrictions in the form of limiting four wheeled wagons to only five horses, had to be enacted.
Today, elegantly equipped with four-posters in the bed and breakfast minehead bedrooms, and even a couple of squash-courts the Crown has a flourishing tourist trade and has succeeded in keeping its regular local custom too.