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The Wheatsheaf Public House Flitwick

The Wheatsheaf about 1925 [WL800-5]
The Wheatsheaf about 1925 [WL800/5]

The Wheatsheaf Public House: 15 High Street, Flitwick

The history of the Wheatsheaf goes back nearly a century and a half before it was first licensed. In 1717 two cottages in Denel End were conveyed by Foster Green of Maulden to William Astrey as trustee for the benefit of widow Mary Wardell, Green’s daughter [WL1000/1/FLWK1/1-2]. In 1763 a cottage in Denel End with three pightles, or small enclosures, of nearby pasture was sold by John Wardall to Francis Bushby of Ampthill, merchant tailor for £75 [WL1000/1/FLWK1/3].

Thomas Bushby mortgaged the cottage and land to Ampthill brewer John Morris in 1801, selling it to him in 1806 [WL1000/1/FLWK1/5]. In 1812 Morris conveyed the cottage to Flitwick yeoman Edward Farey, along with the land, for £250 [WL1000/1/FLWK1/4-5]. Farey made his will in 1824 devising all his real estate to Robert Adams when he reached 21. Farey died shortly after making his will [WL1000/1/FLWK1/7]. In 1870 Adams, now of Bradwell Abbey Farm, Old Bradwell [Buckinghamshire] conveyed the Wheatsheaf beerhouse, as it was now know, to Ampthill brewer John Morris for £1,430 [WL1000/1/FLWK1/7]. The countywide licensing register of 1876, not always accurate in such matters, states that the Wheatsheaf was first licensed in 1860.

The Wheatsheaf and Blackbirds about 1910 [Z1130/50/66]
The Wheatsheaf and Blackbirds about 1910 [Z1130/50/66]

In 1879 John Morris of Ampthill leased a house, now known as the Wheatsheaf, to Thomas Page along with two cottages opposite and a field of land - rent was £45 per annum [WL1000/1/FLWK1/6]. In 1880 an abstract of title was drawn up showing the claim to ownership of the Wheatsheaf of Elizabeth Jane Reed Morris, beneficiary of John Morris’ will. This strongly suggests that the sale to Bedford brewer Charles Wells took place in this year or the year following. Ownership was certainly with Wells by the time of the countywide licensing register of 1891.

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 Wheatsheaf [DV1/C272/104] found that the tenant paid rent of £18 per annum to Charles Wells Limited. The valuer noted that the beerhouse was “large but unattractive”.

Public accommodation comprised: a “small” club room; a “good size” tap room and a “small” bar. There were underground cellars. Private accommodation comprised a living room and scullery and four bedrooms upstairs. There was a lean-to brick and slate barn and well as another brick and corrugated iron coal barn outside together with a large weather-boarded and corrugated iron barn “for keeping a car”.

Trade comprised 2½ barrels of beer per week along with sixteen dozen half-pint bottles of beer and stout a week. A full licence was granted on 2nd February 1950, making the Wheatsheaf a public house. It continued trading as such until 2011. At the time of writing [2017] the building is an Indian restaurant named Indian Lodge

The former Wheatsheaf April 2017
The former Wheatsheaf April 2017

Sources:

  • WL1000/1/FLWK/1/1-2: conveyance: 1717;
  • WL1000/1/FLWK/1/3: conveyance: 1763;
  • WL1000/1/FLWK/1/5: conveyance: 1806;
  • WL1000/1/FLWK1/4-5: conveyance 1812;
  • WL1000/1/FLWK1/7: will of Edward Farey: 1824;
  • WL1000/1/FLWK/1/7: conveyance: 1870;
  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • WL1000/1/FLWK/1/6: tenancy agreement: 1879;
  • SF82/2/6: auction sale held at the Wheatsheaf: 1880;
  • SF82/2/6/8: letter regarding rent: 1881;
  • Z126/7: postcard, Wheatsheaf in distance: c.1920;
  • WL800/5 p.33: photograph: c.1925;
  • WL801/180: negative to above: c.1925;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s
  • Z1105/1: Liquor Licence Traders Survey Form: 1958;
  • PSA5/5: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1968-1995
  • PL/P/AR71/10: plans of proposed alterations: 1971;
  • WL722/99: photograph of pub garden in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1999.

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

1862-1877: Richard Adams;
1879: Thomas Page;
1879-1896: Thomas Page;
1896-1909: Sophia Page;
1909-1923: Eliza Page;
1923-1934: Major Crawley;
1934: George William Wooding;
1934-1935: Mary Wooding;
1935-1956: Frank Brinkler;
1956-1958: Arthur Daniels;
1958-1971: Percy William Millard;
1971-1974: Robert Edward Jennings;
1974-1978: Edgar Richard Dye;
1978-1979: Peter David O'Dell;
1979-1983: Graham Alan Connew;
1983-1987: John Henry Alain Pasquet;
1987-1992: Joseph Messenger Southward;
1992-1993: Joyce Southward;
1993-1995: Christopher Clarke

Public house closed 2011.