The history of the pub building dates back to the 1705, when it first became licensed premises. Records show that it was originally called The Duke of Ormonde’s Head, after James Butler, the 2nd Duke of Ormonde (1665-1745).
James Butler became popular after his victory at Vigo Bay in 1702, but ten years later he was disgraced and impeached for treason. After this, the pub was known simply as The Duke’s Head.
In 1778, the pub was renamed again – this time becoming The Princes Head, possibly after The Prince of Wales, who had moved into the Duke’s home following his exile for treason.
Some famous cricketers have held the license here, including the Surrey, Somerset and England Fast bowler Thomas Richardson, whose name appears in directories from 1908 until his death in 1912.
While Richardson was the licensee, the Princes Head lost its license, as it was convicted for allowing ‘disorderly women’ on the premises – an offence described as an ‘evil’ temptation to soldiers.
Richardson’s successor prevented this from happening again by banning all women from the pub.