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The Red Lion

The Red Lion has been a prime location for passing trade since the 1700s.

3 College Street, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU31 4AE

The part of the building next to Heath Road (known as ‘The Tap’) is 16th or 17th century and was probably an ale house in the early 1600s. A document of 1696 mentions the ‘Lion’. In 1734, it was described as ‘the Red Lion, lately built, formerly the Sun Inn’. It was modernised in c1790, with the present façade dating from then. In 1820, a group of freemasons bought part of the property and built a Masonic Hall – still at the rear. For around 50 years (c1828–80), The Red Lion was mostly in the hands of members of the Crafts family.

A photograph and text about The Red Lion.

The text reads: By the early 1600s, Petersfield had already developed a strong wool and clothing industry, it was however, its location which had an even greater significance to its future growth.

Petersfield was a half days coach journey from Portsmouth, and a convenient stopping off point on the road to London.

Thus, the town became a natural resting place for weary travellers and tired teams of horses. This was made all the more true, as the main routes in and out of the town, required a stiff climb.

As the traffic increased, the coaching inn trade developed, and with it, the rise of Petersfield’s reputation for its hostelries.

In 1721, the construction of the turnpike along College and Dragon Streets, put The Red Lion in the prime location for passing trade.

The ‘Lion’ is documented in 1696, but parts of the structure are significantly older. The present College Street façade dates from c1790 when it was modernised. In 1820, a group of Freemasons erected the Masonic Hall, which stands at the rear of the building.

Surround: The Red Lion, c1906.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: