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The Fox and Hounds Public House Bolnhurst

The Fox and Hounds about 1910 [Z1306/20/2/2]The Fox and Hounds about 1910 [Z1306/20/2/2]

The Fox and Hounds was an old public house in Bolnhurst. Today the building is a private house called Fox and Hounds Cottage. Evidence is not watertight but Stephen Harrison was listed as licensee of the Hare and Hounds in the first countywide licensing registers of 1822 to 1828 [CLP13]. By the time of a directory of 1847 he was listed as licensee of the Fox and Hounds, so it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the Hare and Hounds simply changed its name to the Fox and Hounds at some time between 1828 and 1847.

A deed packet exists for a property described as adjoining the Fox and Hounds [GK56]. This packet begins in 1659 and seems to describe the earlier building on the site of the building to the left of the former pub, which formed the Post Office. In 1659 William Newman of Bolnhurst, yeoman, leased a cottage to William Lickoryshe of Bolnhurst, labourer, for one thousand years [GK56/1], thus the deed is actually a sale of a leasehold property. The property was assigned by William Licorish of Eaton Socon, labourer to William Bellamy of Bolnhurst, labourer in 1665 [GK56/2] and Bellamy assigned it to William Cooke of Bolnhurst, labourer in 1666 [GK56/3].

There is then a gap and in 1796 William Milton devised the property in his will to his granddaughter Mary, describing it as two cottages in three tenements, occupied by Joseph Saby, William Saby and William Pack [GK56/5]. In 1809 Thomas Riseley, Mary’s husband, conveyed the property (clearly no longer leasehold) to Colmworth’s parson Rev Robert Hele Selby Hele. It was now described as adjoining the Fox and Hounds public house and an alley to the north [GK56/6]. This is the first surviving reference to the Fox and Hounds. A conveyance of 1829 makes it clear that the Fox and Hounds had been renamed the Hare and Hounds [GK56/8].

In 1840 Saint Neots brewer John Hill Day conveyed the Fox and Hounds to Biggleswade brewers Hogg and Lindsell, owners of Wells and Company brewery [Z1039/34/1]. In 1844 Fox and Hounds licensee Stephen Harrison purchased the “newly erected messuage lately built on the site of four cottages, lately burnt by fire” from John Hill Day and William Atkinson the younger of Saint Neots, for £200 [GK56/14]. The newly erected messuage included a bakehouse. Harrison seems to have leased the pub but bought the next door bakery. Stephen Harrison made his will in 1868, describing himself as a shopkeeper, and died in 1876 [GK56/16]. By then Stephen Breary seems to have been the licensee of the Fox and Hounds. In 1893 Wells and Winch purchased the bakery [HF40/1/2/6b].

In 1899 Kent businessman George Winch purchased Wells and Company for his son, Edward Bluett Winch and the brewery changed its name to Wells and Winch. The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the Fox and Hounds [DV1/C168/28] found that it was still a Wells and Winch house and that the tenant, Arthur Jones, paid £8 per annum rent.

The building, a semi-detached structure which adjoined the post office, included a bar, a cellar, a living room, a kitchen and four bedrooms. Trade was “very small – about five gallons per week”. Outside stood a weather-boarded and tiled stable and barn and a weather-boarded and corrugated iron stable.

The post office next door [DV1/C168/29] was also owned by Wells and Winch. It was tenanted by H Whitmore at £11/14/- per annum. The premises comprised a shop (measuring 12 feet by 7 feet 6 inches, formerly the front room of the house), living room and scullery with three bedrooms above. A disused brick and tiled cottage was used as a barn and also outside were: a brick and tiled stable for two horses; a weather-boarded and corrugated iron lean-to and a weather-boarded and tiled barn.

The property was still licensed in 1948 [RDBP4/28] but not many years thereafter the Fox and Hounds closed for the last time. Sadly, lack of the relevant licensing register does not enable us to pinpoint the exact date.

General references

  • GK56/1-18: deeds to property adjoining Fox and Hounds: 1659-1893;
  • CLP13: register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • Z1039/34/1: abstract of title: 1840;
  • HF40/1/2/6b: abstract of neighbouring premises: 1840-1893;
  • WG2526: details of Fox and Hounds: 1840;
  • GK1/36: sale catalogue of Baldock Brewery: 1898;
  • Z1039/34/2a: copy conveyance of Wells and Company to Wells and Winch: 1899;
  • PSS3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: c.1901;
  • PSS3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: c.1903;
  • PSS3/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: 1904-1930;
  • Z1039/24/1: unsuccessful application to transfer the licence to New Inn, Wymington: 1929-1930;
  • RDBP4/28: drainage plan: 1948

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1822-1864: Stephen Harrison;
1869-1885: Stephen Breary;
1891-1920: William Wildman;
1924-1928: Arthur Jones;
1931-1940: Albert Whitmore

The former Fox and Hounds (nearest the camera) October 2016
The former Fox and Hounds (nearest the camera) October 2016