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Article compiled from material currently held at the museum with further contributions from Pat Roe (nee Cooke) and Johnnie Johnson

The Dukes Arms

Photograph of The Dukes Arms taken in about 1920.
This photograph of The Dukes Arms was taken in about 1905.

Mention of The Dukes Arms is first found in a notice in the Northampton Mercury of a public auction to be held on its premises in 1838 but it is not known when it was erected. John Croxen was its first known landlord, prior to that had been the landlord of The Red Cow, which may account for the misunderstanding that led to the following letter sent by the landlord of the Red Cow to the Northampton Mercury in 1856:

To the Editor of the Northampton Mercury - Burton Lattimer, Sept. 6th 1856. Sir, - In your newspaper of the 6th inst., you will find the following. – “William Keep inspector of police at Kettering, charged John Croxen, landlord of the Red Cow, Burton Lattimer,” &c. This is incorrect; John Croxen is landlord of the Duke’s Arms, not the Red Cow. Will you be good enough to correct this in your next impression. I am, Sir, your respectfully, EDWARD QUINCEY, Landlord of the Red Cow, Burton Lattimer

John Croxen also manufactured bricks on land behind the pub and built Croxen's Row and Brickyard Row. William Brown, his son-in-law and succeeding landlord, had Brown's Row built at the end of Piggott's Lane.

Newspaper photograph of Elizabeth Newman.
Elizabeth Newman became the licensee of The Dukes Arms following the death of her husband Alfred. Between them they kept the pub for 26 years. Mrs Newman was also England's first lady Rural councillor. To read the obituary of this lady, click here. Mrs Newman relinquished the license in 1890, an advertisement for the auction of the Dukes Arms from the Northampton Mercury can be seen here.

The table below shows the earliest dates we have for each of the landlords occupying the premises.

John Croxen 1841
Wm Henry Clark 1906
T Boyles 1959
William Brown 1862 Selina Clark 1914 Reginald A Hodges 1966
Joseph Thompson 1876 Herbert Wm Eady 1931 John & Barbara Hobday 1980
Alfred Newman 1881 Albert F Cooke 1935 Donald & Doretha Smith 1982
Elizabeth Newman 1890 Ronald ('Ron') Thornton 1946 Barry Pound & Catherine Snow 1990
Ada Eliz Wright 1904 John ('Jimmy') Nicholson 1950s Guy Bowman & Margaret Dodgeon 1994
Michael Dineen 1999-2007

Photograph of The Dukes Arms in the 1900s.
The Duke's Arms in the 1900s, advertised as
"Good Stabling" and "Good Accommodation for Cyclists."

In the first part of the last century it was not uncommon for inquests to be held at The Dukes Arms. One such inquest took place in April 1916 into the death of a local miner, William Evans, who was killed by a roof fall at the Cranford mines. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."

At some point during the late 1920s The Dukes Arms was considerably damaged by fire. Newspaper references to the event are still being researched, consequently it is not possible to say at the current time of writing exactly how the fire originated. Whatever the cause, the result was that the premises was reduced to two storeys.

Photograph of The Dukes Arms in the mid 1940s
The Dukes Arms beer garden in the 1930s
The Dukes Arms taken in the 1950s.
The Duke's Arms in the mid 1940s.
The landlord has put out the flags for
some celebration, possibly VJ Day in
The Duke's Arms beer garden at the rear of the premises in the 1930s Note the bird aviary, also the garden ornament, which is typical of those made by George Mason at the rear of his garage and found in gardens all over Burton Latimer.
A 1950s photograph of the premises. The window lit up to the right is
Phyl Papworth's shop, which was demolished in the 1960s

"Our Bitter Beer drinks just like wine,
Our Mild there is no finer,
Our Stout, Brown, No. 10, too,
Each one a sure top-liner."

Not perhaps the snappiest of rhymes, but this was part of the contribution by The Dukes Arms to the Gala Day Programme on 27th July 1940. It also mentioned that there were "music weekends" and that a microphone had been installed. Bert Cooke was the proprietor at the time.

The 1937-8 Darts team Albert Cooke with darts trophies
The 1937-8 Darts team. L-R Standing: Billy Brace,
Walt Meads, ??, Toby Ridgeway, Bert Ketcher, Ernie Dent,
Ron Coleman, Don Henman. Seated: ??, Albert Cooke,
Bill Hughes, ??
Albert Cooke, landlord of the Dukes Arms with the
cups awarded to the darts team, runners-up in the
Kettering & Dist. Licenced Victualler's League 1937-8
The Dukes Arms with its new landlord - Ron Thornton
The Dukes Arms - 1946

Shortly after the Second World War in either late 1945 or early 1946, Bert Cooke was succeeded as landlord by Ron Thornton, who had served in the RAF throughout the war.

This photo, kindly donated by son Mike Thornton, shows Ron and his wife Betty standing in the doorway of their pub under the board bearing Ron's name.

The couple kept the pub until about 1953, when they moved to The Old White Horse in High Street, Kettering.

Ron and Betty Thornton outside the Dukes Arms in 1946

Photograph of The Dukes Arms Darts Team c1959.
The Dukes Arms Darts Team c1959
Standing L-R: Charlie Murgatroyd, ? , Bill Hickman, Fred Craddock,
George Craddock
Seated L-R: Sid Woodward, Jimmy Devine, Cyril Craddock,
Dougie Benford

Photograph of Ron "Dot" Johnson, pulling pints at the Duke.
Ron "Dot" Johnson, pulling pints at the Duke.

Acording to his son Johnnie, he was known as Dot
after his father Walter "Dot" Johnson - who was
called Dot because of his habit of wearing a cravat
with polka dots on!

Photo courtesy of Johnnie Johnson

The pub remained part of the town, as other establishments such as the Red Cow and Waggon and Horses closed. The Dukes Arms featured in an Evening Telegraph report during the 80's when it hosted an exhibition of paintings by two local men and this was a regular event for a number of years (the full article can be viewed here). The pub did close for a short period during 2015, but was taken over and open for business again some months later.

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