History of the building

14 Market Square: A brief history of the house

The house stands on a site which has been occupied since Roman times.

In the thirteenth century, the end of the garden was part of the site of the local leper colony of 1202. The main structure of the house, originally timber-framed, probably dates from the 1600’s. The house was purchased by Henry Potter in 1725: he ran a grocery shop at the front, a brew house at the back.

In 1770 the house appears in the records as The Fighting Cocks, and many broken clay pipes and fragments of beer flagons have been found whilst digging the garden. A coat of arms with the initials of Henry Potter’s three daughters can still be seen on the facade of No 12. Later on, No 14 became a chandler’s shop, and candles and soap were made in a building at the back.

The Malpas Hotel, later the Commercial Hotel, stood at Nos 14 and 15 Market Square.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the house came into the hands of the Plumb family. During WWII the premises were used to house children evacuated from London, and several of the bedrooms seem to have been partitioned then. After the war, it became a private hotel or boarding house, and, during the 1960’s, a doctor’s surgery. When Stony became part of Milton Keynes, the house, like many others in the town, was Grade II listed.

From 1970 to 1985 the house was owned by a zoologist from the Open University.

In 1986 Danielle Maunier-Kaye, who, several years earlier had co-founded AFMK with Maryvonne Kendall and Hélène Roberts, established the front ground floor part of the house as the new headquarters of AFMK, with a dedicated office, classroom, and library (until this time, all the classes had been run in borrowed school classrooms or OU meeting rooms). 

- Danielle Maunier-Kaye

Since then, the Alliance Française de Milton Keynes has gone from strength to strength.

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