The Fleur de Lys, now known as Forge Cottage, stands on the east side of Coleshill Green. It is a very ancient structure and two 15th century 'cruck' blades survive in the wall between the northernmost bay and the rest of the house. Originally the home of a succession of potters, in the mid 18th century it became a beerhouse, run by Thomas Muckley, and remained a public house until the 1950s.

The earliest known transaction involving the house is its sale in 1686 for £60 by Zachary Allnutt of Bowers Farm to William Bunce of Coleshill, potter. The house had formerly been owned by Nathaniel Reading and was built on a plot of land measuring 7 poles taken out of a meadow then belonging to Zachary Allnutt. It was then in the joint tenure of Reading's widow Martha and the purchaser.1 William Bunce and his son of the same name paid 1s 2d chief rent to the lord of the manor of Coleshill. By the 1730s, the house had been mortgaged to Mary Turner and was occupied by Richard Sommersby, another potter. By the 1780s, the freehold had passed to John Lane. Although his tenant, Thomas Muckley, was a beerseller, there was still a kiln on part of the property.

fleur de lys

c1920

The beerhouse, known as the Fleur de Lys, was one of the first public houses to be purchased by William Weller of Amersham Brewery. Weller bought it in 1784 from John Lane for £100 with Thomas Muckley as the sitting tenant.2 Several generations of the Muckley family carried on as tenants of the Fleur de Lys.

Thomas and Ann Muckley, who were tenants until 1867, had several daughters. In 1849, their elder daughter Sarah gave birth to a child, Georgina, who later married Albert Pepper, a stained glass artist of some means. Another daughter, Emily, became a servant at the Six Bells in the King’s Road, Chelsea. She married the proprietor, William Bray, and when they retired, lived at Stamford Villas, Chelsea. In 1859, Thomas and Ann's daughter Mary had a child Henry George who was to become Coleshill's leading builder.

Thomas and Mary Muckley
Thomas and Mary Muckley

The 1867 document by which Thomas and Ann Muckley retired as publicans at the Fleur de Lys has survived. It conveys the goodwill and property of the business, together with furniture and effects, to their children. Thomas Muckley the younger and his sister Mary Muckley were 'to find and provide their father and mother respectively during their respective lives with sufficient board and lodging upon the said premises out of the business'.3 Both Thomas Muckley and his son signed the document by making their mark, whilst Mary Muckley signed her name in her own hand. Mary Muckley died in 1905, when Wellers' Brewery let the beerhouse to John Woolvin. He was succeeded by the last publican, Walter Wingrove, in 1914.

In 1939, Walter Wingrove bought the Fleur de Lys from Benskin's Brewery for £650. The premises were no longer to be used as a public house. When Wingrove died in 1958, his executors sold the Fleur de Lys to the local builder, Maurice Weller. He sold it on to Frank Ryder, a film technician, who built the large double garage in front of the house in 1964. Maurice Weller sold the former smithy to James Truett, who built the bungalow called the Sheiling on the site. By 1972, when the former Fleur de Lys was advertised for auction, the cottages had been incorporated into the main house, which comprised hall, living room, dining room, kitchen, five bedrooms and two bathrooms.5 The Fleur de Lys was renamed Forge House.