The Milstone Inn (Stamford)

Good Stabling and Loose Boxes.

For those unsure of what a ‘loose box’ is I’ve taken the time to find a definition. Here it is; A stable, or an enclosed area in a stable building, in which a horse is kept and within which it does not need to be tied.”

Right in the centre of town, just off Red Lion Square, this is one of the oldest buildings in Stamford. The 13th century All Saint’s Church is just a stone’s throw away (I mean this in the literal sense rather than the metaphorical sense and yes, in a more agnostic moment, I have tested this with handfuls of gravel). If the church is so old, chances are this building is pretty old too. And just like everywhere else in Stamford, it’s a bloody listed building. Yawwwwn.

With those words on the front, you can imagine that once upon a time The Millstone Inn would’ve been packed to the rafters with travellers, traders, highwaymen and messengers. Flagons would’ve been spilt and soaked into already stained floor boards. Laughter would’ve roared from ruddy faces and the wind whistling outside would stretch the flames up the chimneys. People must have come and gone, carrying words and wares, relieved that the long half of the journey from York was behind them, or preparing for an early start with the long half up still to go. Horses and ponies would’ve been stabled, fed and watered. Blacksmith’s and doctors would’ve been rung to tend to the ailments of the highway. Men would’ve staggered out into the cold, filled with ale and stories tales of the Great North Road, watching their breath by the light of a candle as it spooked off into the cold before wrapping their woollens tight, pulling their hats down and collapsing wearily into their bed for the night. The whole place would’ve smelt dirty and brown and honest.

Today, sadly, it smells of bleach and grease and lies. Faux-leather stools from ‘The Range’ or Argos. A range of bad cocktails badly made. Sport always on the tele. One of those fake fires that is actually just bits of orange and red material being blown upwards. And for anyone that wants to sit outside, a lovely view of the waste bins. One star.


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