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The Wheatsheaf Public House Campton

 The Wheatsheaf and post office about 1906 [Z1306/23/5]
The Wheatsheaf and post office about 1906 [Z1306/23/5]

The Wheatsheaf Public House: Gravenhurst Road, Campton

The building which was the Wheatsheaf beerhouse no longer exists but it was owned by Steed of Baldock [Hertfordshire] then Morley & Co of Baldock then Wells & Winch of Biggleswade. Today 5 Gravenhurst Road stands on the site, only three dors down from the White Hart. Interestingly, the post office stood next door around the turn of the 19th century and a modern post box still stands outside today.

In 1854 the Wheatsheaf was one of the locations involved in an instance of chicken larceny. It had only been open a year, the countywide licensing register of 1876 telling us that the first licence was granted in 1853. The Quarter Sessions records reveal that Charles Devereux, having stolen two fowls from Mansell Millard's yard at Campton [interestingly, he was a brewer]. He then went to the Wheatsheaf where he sold the birds to Samuel Furr who believed them to be Devereux's to sell. However, Devereux had been spotted (and indeed assisted) in his theft of the chicken by Millard's foreman, John Harris. When John later discovered that the hen was not Devereux's property but in fact belonged to his master, he reported the crime. PC Reuben Pepper found Devereux working under the name of Odell, and arrested him. He also confiscated the two hens from Samuel [QSR1854/3/5/33]. The gaol register [QGV10/3] tells us that Devereux stood 5 feet 9 inches tall, had brown hair, grey eyes and a sallow complexion. He was a labourer who could read and write imperfectly and was 21 years old. His sentence was three weeks hard labour. Nine years later he would get twelve months hard labour for a more extensive theft from outside the White Hart.

The Wheatsheaf appears once more in the Quarter Sessions, in 1869. Licensee George Jordan appealed against a refusal of a licence to sell beer [QSR1869/4/4/30].

An 1899 sale catalogue for the Henlow Brewery included 'The Wheatsheaf Beerhouse' amongst the 10 public and beer houses that made up part of the property. It was described as follows [GK1/36]: "A neat red brick and tiled House and containing brick paved entrance passage , Tap Room, Parlour, Kitchen, Scullery, Cellar and Four Rooms over; entrance from road to Yard in rear with Fuel Store, Stable, Store Shed, Cart Shed, Three Piggeries, WC &c., and good Garden with frontages to Two Roads. In the occupation of Mr. T. Morgan [this name has been crossed out and the name S. Inskip has been pencilled in], at £6 per annum".

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. At the time of the valuation the pub was owned by Wells & Winch and occupied by William James Holdsworth. The valuer who visited the Wheatsheaf noted that it was an "old house, clean looking place" but that the "bars [were] quite small". It had a private kitchen and scullery and four bedrooms upstairs. Downstairs was a tap room and parlour (both "fair") and there was also a cellar down three steps. Its average business was 1.5 barrels and 2 dozen bottles per week, with an average weekly takings of £12-13. The beerhouse had a number of outhouses, consisting of a barn, store, garages, henhouse, milk dairy, pig sties and feeding shed [DV1/C185/16]. Around this time the Wheatsheaf seems to have become a fully-licensed public house as it begins to be named in directories, which beerhouses were not.

The Wheatsheaf was closed in 1956 and became the village shop. The building itself was eventually demolished when a new shop was built [pamphlet 130 CAM].

Sources:

  • QSR1854/3/5/33: Quarter Session evidence: 1854;
  • QSR1869/4/4/30: Quarter Sessions evidence: 1869;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • GK1/36: sale catalogue: 1899;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914
  • Z50/23/3: photograph: c. 1900;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • Z1306/23/5: photograph: 1906.

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:

1853-1854: John Cooper;
1864: George Clark;
1869-1884: George Jordan;
1884-1887: Samuel Thompson;
1887-1898: David Wagstaff;
1898-1900: Thomas Morgan;
1900-1914: Samuel Inskip;
1914: John George Sanders;
1920: James Rainbow;
1924-1931: William James Holdsworth;
1936: Alfred George Males;
1940: Leslie George Tingey