Bosses mark 50 years in business by revamping St James pub

The owners of the Thomas A Becket, McManus Pub Company, have marked their 50th year in business by investing a six-figure sum into renovating the historic building.

Sunday, 1st December 2019, 6:00 pm

Located on St James’ Road, the venue is one of 18 pubs owned by the Northamptonshire group, and it was the very first public house to be purchased by the family in March 1970.

It was bought by Mick and Anne McManus, who moved their five children into the venue, balancing parenthood with their new venture as publicans, before retiring in 1998.

The pub’s popularity grew, and the McManus family acquired more sites in and around Northamptonshire. In 1989, their eldest son Gary took over the family business with younger brother Paul and together they continued to invest in the industry.

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Now, the company owns pubs in Northampton and Leigh-on-Sea.

Co-owner Gary McManus said: “The Thomas A Becket is where it all started for us. The pub industry is in our blood, and we are proud to not only serve the town but to have become such an important part of the Jimmy's End community.

"The renovation was a massive project for us, and we felt revamping our very first pub was a great way to mark our 50th birthday. Before we did anything, we spoke to our regular customers to find out what they wanted in their favourite drinking establishment, and we're confident the finished product will reflect the venue they've requested.

“It is a huge achievement to have been in business for 50 years, and we're very hopeful that the next generation of McManus' will continue to keep our doors open for another 50 years."


The Thomas A Becket pub is named after Saint Thomas of Canterbury, who was summoned to appear before the great council at Northampton Castle in 1164. There he was found guilty of contempt of royal authority and malfeasance in the Chancellor's office.

Richard and Michelle Cutler have run it for more than a decade. Known to locals as ‘Aussie’, Richard said: “We love this pub and all its customers. Being in the pub industry is the best business in the world. It’s also great to be a part of the McManus Pub Company as we are one big, happy family.

"It's a huge honour to run the company original pub, and we're looking forward to celebrating with all our customers, old and new."

Over the years the pub has earned its reputation for hosting some of Northampton's musicians and bands. The increased capacity and new stage area, with a state-of-the-art sound system, bosses claim, will take its live music offering to the ‘next level’.


Due to its location close to Franklins Gardens and Sixfields Stadium, the Becket has become one of the most popular pubs for supporters to visit before and after games.

This most recent renovation follows on from refurbishments at the Sun Inn Hardingstone, and the Crown & Anchor on Victoria Road, with further works planned for 2020 at the Shipman’s in the Drapery and the Wig & Pen in St Giles Street.