A hundred years ago the hotel looked very different and was less dominating. See the photo, one of the earliest taken, we think, in Uppingham showing the ‘Falcon Posting Inn and Commercial Inn’ and the open archway for coaches to unload in the dry. The Falcon has had many owners. In 1875-77 the hotel was extended upwards with an additional storey, when the Earl of Gainsborough, whose estate of Exton near Oakham, was the owner. A later Earl had to put the Falcon up for auction which took place in the Crown Inn in Oakham in 1882.
HISTORY OF THE FALCON HOTEL
We know that Uppingham had a Market Charter in 1281, but it was common for such charters to be given to settlements where a market already existed. As the main feature of the present market place, the Falcon, with the Parish Church opposite, is a common grouping. There may have been an inn on this site, as there were said to be many inns in Uppingham in the Middle Ages.
The Falcon was built in the 17th century of local stone as a coaching inn of great character, ideal for stabling the horses on an overnight stay. Regular stage coaches would run between Stamford and Leicester and when the north-south route was opened in 1754-55 the London Mail and other coaches were unable to negotiate Scale Hill, now to the west of the church and much steeper than it is today. They turned right along South View and up Queen’s Street, then known as Horne Lane, as coachmen would sound their horns to alert the Falcon Hotel of their arrival, where food and a change of horses would be waiting.
In 1875-77 the hotel was extended upwards with an additional storey, when the Earl of Gainsborough whose estate of Exton is near Oakham, was the owner. The death of the 2nd Earl in 1881 added a whole new burden of death and succession duties to the estate that was already overloaded with debts. As a consequence the 3rd Earl had to put the Falcon up for auction, which took place at the Crown Inn in Oakham in 1882. It was bought by Peter Fryer, who was probably the manager at the time.
There have been many changes of ownership to the present day. In the 1960s the Falcon was put up for auction but there were no offers. Later other changes were made. In 1966 the open archway was glazed to make a spacious entrance hall leading to a large lounge. There is also a fully panelled banqueting room, known as the Oak Room over 7 High St East, which you may be able to view.
This early photograph shows the Falcon before it was extended. It was then known as the Falcon Posting and Commercial Inn. The entrance for the coaches can be seen.
Photograph of the Falcon
Researched by members of the Uppingham Local History Study Group
The Falcon Hotel, High Street East, Uppingham is a Grade II Listed building and is constructed in natural stone with a Colleyweston slate roof. The building was constructed in the 17th century and was originally built as a Coaching Inn of great character and charm and had a central driveway in the centre of the hotel which was removed in 1966 to form a new lounge area with bar.
Originally the hotel was a two storey building with rooms in the roof area with dormer windows but around 1870 the building was extended by building a second floor with further rooms in the roof area?
In 1804 the hotel was owned by William Bellgrave who owned the adjoining property and five other buildings in the vicinity of the Market Square. He was listed a Draper and lived in Tudor House in High Street West, Uppingham.
The hotel was originally called ‘The Falcon Posting and Commercial Inn’ and had its own horse and carriage as seen in an earlier photograph showing the carriage with the Falcon name on the rear of the carriage. The rear part of the building had stables for the horses.
The Nikolaus Pevsner book of Leicestershire and Rutland refers to the Falcon Hotel which dominates the Market Square with its Victorian gabled front of 1870 applied to a basically 17th century building which, seen from the yard at the back, is much more pleasant in scale and design. Also C17 the back portions of the properties to the west and east, the former No. 5, with panelled room (now part of the hotel) the latter with a two storey bay window, remains of a wooden newel staircase and traces of another mullioned window on the street front.
When the southern direct route was opened in c1750, the London Mail and other coaches were unable to negotiate Scale Hill (or Church Lane) now London Road, to the west of the church. Horn Lane (now named Queen Street) was so named as coaches would take this road into the town in order to avoid the steep hill and would sound their horns to alert the Falcon Hotel of their arrival where food and a change of horses would be waiting. The arched doorway of the hotel used to be where the coaches would enter.