The building that contained the Swan Inn has sat in the corner of the Market Place for at least 6 centuries. It is still there, but is known to us as the home of the Conservative Club.

In 1477, the building belonged to Winchester College and was available to let as a going concern, at an annual rent of 58s 9d plus 9d for the garden making £2.97 in decimal money. The site on which the inn was built ran northwards and contained half of the land now occupied by the Abbey Hotel in Church Street.

The inn contained a kitchen, cellar and garden as well as a series of chambers. The fixtures and fittings included 11 bedsteads of which 3 were in the high turret over the great chamber, 2 were in the chief chamber, 2 in the white chamber, 2 in the Howell chamber and one in the parlour. Various tables and chairs were listed and there were iron fittings in the fireplaces. The inn contained three stables racked and with their mangers. There were also 11 keys with which to lock doors. With the inn, the tenant also took charge of a building on the west (Church Street) side of the inn and several pieces of land where hay might be grown away from the town centre.

There is no doubt that two members of Cromwell’s army were hanged outside the Swan Inn, but not from the existing bracket. That ironwork would not have been strong enough to take a hanging, and it did not exist in the 1640s. The little flag above the arm depicts the outline of a bell and the letters IH. It was undoubtedly made for John Hacke innkeeper of the Bell Inn in Bell Street in the 1680s and transferred to the Swan after that inn had closed in 1859.

During the 19th century, civic events in the town often used the services of the Swan Inn to provide food when it was decided to have a formal dinner, for example in the town hall. The Swan very much catered for the local community.

This medieval inn continued in business until 1892 when it was closed. At that time it was a tied house of Strong’s Romsey brewery. Rather than sell it, David Faber, managing director of Strongs, and his friends made it available to members of the local Working Men’s Conservative Club whom it has served ever since. At first there was some sort of rental agreement, but eventually it was given to them.