The Three Kings
It is a popular misconception that The Three Kings in Hanley Castle was named after the three wise men of biblical fame. In fact, the earliest deeds of the property show that three Kings brothers owned this 16th-century timber-framed building in the late 17th century. One of them, Richard Kings, sold the property to Anthony Lechmere in 1710 for £4 15s (£520 today). It has been owned by the Lechmere estate ever since.
In the census of 1841, James and Elizabeth Little are identified as beerhouse keepers in the village of Hanley, but by the following census in 1851 Joseph and Sarah Hughes had taken over as innkeepers. Perhaps at that time and certainly by 1855, according to Billing’s Directory, they had renamed the pub the Hare & Hounds. Only when they left, before the 1881 census, did the name revert back to The Three Kings, with Henry and Elizabeth Tomkins as innkeepers. The publicans changed regularly until 1911, when Fred and Ethel Roberts took over, passing the licence on to their son George in 1960, with his widow Sheila taking over in 1990. Today it is in the hands of the third generation of Roberts, George and Sheila’s daughter, Sue.