Have you ever walked by the Bull and Crown Publick House on St. George Street downtown and made a mental note to try out their colonial fare? This Colonial Quarter eatery is, in fact, a reconstruction of two houses built during St. Augustine’s British Period (1763-1783). Today the buildings are owned by the State of Florida and managed on its behalf by University of Florida Historic St. Augustine, Inc. The Bull and Crown is known in the restoration world as the Pellicer-DeBurgo House. According to a Spanish map dating to 1763, there were two lots at the site of the Pellicer-DeBurgo property.
The north lot belonged to Lucas Escovedo and the south to Prudencia Ansures in the First Spanish Period, but both owners had left St. Augustine when the British took over the colony with the 1763 Treaty of Paris. British agent Jesse Fish was in charge of selling these two lots, among many others. He sold them Francisco Pellicer and José de Burgo in 1780. Pellicer’s wife and two youngest children died shortly after he purchased the lot.
Both of these men had come to Florida as members of Dr. Andrew Turnbull’s New Smyrna colony. This colony failed and the colonists ended up walking north to settle in St. Augustine. Pellicer was a Menorcan and Peso de Burgo a Corsican. Pellicer was a master carpenter and had built Turnbull’s plantation home. He allegedly was one of the first men who came to Florida Governor Tonyn in 1777, charging Andrew Turnbull with mistreatment of his colonists. Peso de Burgo was a storekeeper and part owner of a sloop.
In 1788, both houses were wooden, one room, and shared a wall. There was also a small outbuilding on the lot. Pellicer built his own house and potentially Peso de Burgo’s as well. Peso de Burgo moved out of his home before 1791 and started renting it out to lodgers. Then, in 1791 he finally sold the house to Juan Sánchez, the chief master caulker of the royal works, who kept renting it out for income. In 1787, Pellicer had sold his house to Greek fisherman and sailor Demetrios Fundulakis and his wife Maria Bros.
Before 1831, the two homes were demolished. A map in 1831 shows the lots to be vacant, and one Peter Arnau owning the lots.
The Florida Bicentennial Commission funded an archaeological excavation in 1973 at the sites of these two homes to look for the original wooden foundations. Senator Verle A. Pope also donated towards the cost of actually reconstructing the buildings. The Pellicer-DeBurgo lot was locally known as the Paffe property before the project began. It was completed in March of 1977 and was one of the last properties reconstructed for San Agustín Antiguo, St. Augustine’s living history museum that operated through to the 1980s. The Pellicer-DeBurgo structures were used to house an exhibit on Menorcans.