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The Crown Public House Bromham

The Crown about 1900 [Z50/21/21] 
The Crown about 1900 [Z50/21/21]

The Crown Public House: Bridge End, Bromham

This public house stood just opposite The Old Smithy on the left hand side of the road as one entered the village from the bridge. It does not receive many mentions in records held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service; the first reference to it being in the 1841 census. As it does not appear in the list of alehouse recognizances for 1828 [CLP13] it seems reasonable to assume that it opened at some between those two dates. By the end of its existence it was owned by the Bromham Manor estate and leased by Bedford brewers Newland & Nash, just like The Swan a hundred yards up the road.

The Bedfordshire Mercury of 25 January 1870 reported on an altercation at the pub which was tried at the Bedford Petty Sessions:

"Bromham: Squabble at a Public House (Before Col.Stuart and C.L.Higgins, Esq.)"

"Amos White and Edward Orpin, young men, were charged with being drunk and riotous and with refusing to quit the Crown Public House, Bromham, when requested to do so by the landlord, Thomas Allen, on the 1st inst. Orpin was also charged with assaulting Mary Allen, the landlady".

"Thomas Allen, an old man [the landlord], deposed: At about ten o'clock at night, while Orpin was at my house, White came in and began taking people's mugs off the table, and Orpin joined him. Witness's wife stepped in front of him to prevent one of the defendants striking him, when Orpin pushed her on the fire. Both defendants were drunk, and they stripped to fight, refusing to quit the house. It was not the first time they had been guilty of such conduct".

"Orpin: I left when you ordered this man to go. You said, "I'll have you put out. I had only three pints of beer, but you was drunk; I saw you have three glasses of gin and water"."

"White: I had walked from Bedford, and so I could not be very drunk. Allen said he would throw me out".

"Mary Allen deposed: I say White was drunk and came into the house disorderly. I said, "I hope you have not come to make a row again, as it won't answer your purpose." He said "I've come on purpose." He stripped to fight my husband, and called him by foul names. Orpin joined him, and when my husband told him he would order him out if he was not quiet he pulled his coat off and said that he would not go. I stood before my husband, and Orpin shoved me on the fire. He was not drunk, but White was".

"White: I was soberer than your husband. I called for a pint of beer, and they brought me a quart, and I would not pay for it. Allen said he would throw me out, and I said he could not".

"Orpin: My back was towards Mrs Allen, and she rolled on to the fire".

"The Bench fined each defendant 5s and 8s costs, and for the assault Orpin was fined in a similar sum and costs; in default, seven day's imprisonment for each offence".

The Women's Institute scrapbook compiled for Bromham in 1958 relates: "Although Miss Rice-Trevor [Lady of the Manor] disapproved of having a public house in her village, according to the parish boundaries the Swan and the Crown were both in, or half in, the Parish of Kempston…Eventually as one pub was considered enough for the village, Bromham Estate and Messrs Newland and Nash negotiated together and in 1904 the Crown licence was removed to a new inn at Willington [also called the Crown] and Newland and Nash rented the Swan as a 7 day house".

This is a nice story. It may even be true. What is certain is that The Crown Inn was ordered to be pulled down in order to widen the road near Bromham Bridge on 26th March 1904 [CLM1]. Its last tenant was James Rust and the photograph above shows the inn just before demolition with his wife standing in the doorway. Interestingly, not long before closure, in 1901, Rust had been convicted of the common landlord's crime of selling adulterated brandy, for which he had been fined 15/- with 13/6 costs.

References of Documents held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service

  • Z50/21/21: photo of Newland & Nash drayman’s cart Mrs Rust, the landlords wife, in the doorway: c1895;
  • GK3/1a: conveyance from William Pritzler Newland, Emily Cressy Nash, Florence Mary Nash, Rosa Gertrude Nash and Constance Eveline Nash to Newland & Nash Limited of all properties: 1897;
  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1925;
  • CLM1: Order to pull down Crown for road widening: 1904;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995;
  • X535/3 History of Bromham by Women's Institute: 1958

Licencees: note that this is not a complete list and that dates in italics are not necessarily beginning or end dates, merely the first/last date which can be confirmed from sources such as directories and deeds:

1841-1869: Thomas Allen;
1871: Mary Allen;
1876-1877: John Odell;
1885: Rose Prentice;
1890: Joel Hine;
1891-1904: James Rust
Public house closed March 1904.