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The Axe and Compass Public House Heath and Reach

The Axe and Compass Public House June 2008
The Axe and Compass Public House June 2008

The Axe and Compass Public House: 23 Leighton Road, Heath and Reach [formerly the Axe and Compasses]

This building was evidently a private house for some years before becoming a public one. It was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. The surveyor reckoned that the building is 18th century. It is constructed of rough-cast and has an old clay tile roof.

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has no archive for this public house as it has generally been run by out of county brewers - Fuller, Smith and Turner of Chiswick until 1896 then the Aylesbury Brewery Company and later Manns. The only references to it are in directories, registers of licensed premises and valuations. The return of licensed premises for 1876, which was countywide, recorded that the public house was owned by Charles Major as well as licensed by him. The return states that the premises was first licensed in 1857.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 ordered that every piece of land and building in the country should be assessed to determine the rates to be paid upon it. The valuer visiting the Axe and Compasses [DV1/C/254/84] noted that it was then owned by the Aylesbury Brewery Company Limited. The brick and tile building comprised a tap room ("very, very small") a bar ("very, very small"), a parlour ("good"), and a scullery downstairs with a cellar below and three bedrooms above, with an attic above that. Outside stood two loose boxes ("used for lumber"); two brick and corrugated iron stalls; a harness room; a coachhouse ("used as workshop"); a wood and slate three stall cow shed ("used lumber very dilapidated"); a brick and slate open fronted shed; two brick and corrugated iron pigsties; a brick and corrugated iron washhouse and W.C. and a brick and tile urinal.

The valuer commented: "Mrs.Teear out. Doesn't know. Been here 5 years always paid same rent". Trade was about 1½ 18 gallon barrels and four dozen pint bottles a week  and about a gallon of spirits per week ("She says not 1 gallon spirits per week"). The tenant did know the average takings and stated that the license included the sale of tobacco. The valuer summed up: "Long frontage. Bad draw up".

References:

  • PSLB4/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1949;
  • PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
  • PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956 ;
  • DV1/C/254/84: rating valuation: 1927 

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

1857: Charles Major (and butcher);
1893: Rebecca Goodman;
1894: William Simons;
1896: Rebecca Goodman;
1896: Walter Frederick Duncombe;
1897: William Young;
1897: Edward Charles Gunning;
1897: Lewis Smith;
1898: George Henry Stephenson;
1899: John Williams;
1900: Patrick McLoughlin;
1900: George Edgar Moore;
1902: Percy Herbert Olver;
1903: Robert Hart;
1908: Hamilton Dealtry;
1909: Alfred Walter Pailthorpe;
1911: William Thomas Dew;
1914: Charles Henry May;
1914: John Payne;
1915: William Hodge;
1922: William Henry Teear;
1933: Emma Teear;
1934: Walter James Hounslow;
1937: Ernest Charles Oakley;
1937: Robert Charles Honour;
1938: George Frederick Reed;
1940: Alfred Charles Allen;
1961: Horace Abbott;
1979: Barry Leonard Percy Liggins;
1981: Arthur Frederick Wells;
1985: José Sanchez Amado;
1991: Stephen Charles Watson