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37 – 39 Holywell Hill

“Hello, I’m number 37 and 39 Holywell Hill, sitting on the corner of Sopwell Lane, one of the oldest and best preserved medieval buildings in St Albans.  I was built in the late 15th century as a hostel for visitors to the Abbey.  When that Henry VIII closed the monasteries in 1539 I became The Crane, then The Chequers and finally The Crown and Anchor, always providing food, drink and a bed for weary travellers.
In the early 1800s, over 70 coaches a day came along Sopwell Lane and then struggled to make their way up the hill.  Once London Road was built and then the railways came I found it difficult to make a living as an inn, so I was forced to become a beerhouse selling groceries, alongside a drink or two.
Let me tell you about 1958 – a lorry came crashing into my front room. It contained (of all things) a ton of bricks – but once they patched me up I became an antique shop, then an estate agent and I’m now a fashionable residence with…… it must be said…… most of my original features still intact after 500 years.”

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