The Rose and Crown Beerhouse Kensworth
48 Common Road February 2013
The Rose and Crown Beerhouse: 48 Common Road, Kensworth
Kensworth was in Hertfordshire until 1897, when it was transferred to Bedfordshire. A countywide licensing register of 1903 states that the Rose and Crown Beerhouse was owned by Dunstable brewer Benjamin Bennett and had been licensed prior to 1869. It was in good repair, clean and had satisfactory sanitation. It was just eighteen yards from another licensed premises, the Half Moon Beerhouse. The Rose and Crown just had one door, at the front.
A cutting from the Luton News of 13th March 1919 tells the story in the lead-up to the closure of the beerhouse [BML10/38/6]: "The adjourned licensing sessions for the Luton Division were held at the Court House on Monday, and one license, that of the Rose and Crown, Kensworth, was referred for compensation. Mr. J. L. Wright presided, other magistrates being the Mayor (Councillor H. Impey), the Deputy Mayor (Councillor C. Dillingham), Aldermen E. Oakley and H. O. Williams, Councillor George Warren and Messrs. J. N. Godfrey and R. S. Tomson".
"Regarding the Rose and Crown, Kensworth, Mr. H. W. Lathom appeared for Mr. Cutler (representing the owners, Messrs Bennett of Dunstable). He said that as his son was Clerk to the Bench he took no part in cases where circumstances might mitigate against the wishes of the magistrates, and he has asked Mr. Ellis to appear. Mr. Cutler, however, said that his last instruction was evidently misapprehended. He would offer no opposition, and took the decision of the magistrates as final".
"Formal evidence was given in the case".
"Mr. J. Q. Clayton, Assistant Clerk to the Bench, said he served the usual notice. The present tenant had held the license since August 15th, 1916. It had been transferred three times during the past nine years. There were four licensed houses in the parish, and one house to every 132 persons".
"Mr. A. W. Merry, surveyor, of Leighton Buzzard, stated that the house generally was in a fair state of repair, but if the tenant had any family the living accommodation would be totally inadequate. There was no provision for supplying meals. The tenant was a gardener for Mr. Bowles. The sale was about two barrels per week. The nearest licensed house was the old Red Lion, the owners of which were Messrs J. W. Green Limited, and which had good accommodation for travellers on the road. These two houses supplied about 40 houses of all types, and there was no question as to the best adapted house, one being quite sufficient. The other houses were the Pack Horse and the Farmer's Boy, which were at each end of the long village, supplying separate portions. One was half a mile and the other about a mile from the Rose and Crown".
"The license was the referred". In his evidence Arthur Merry noted the following accommodation: a bar measuring 8 ft 8 inches by 8 feet (including a bay) and 8 feet high, the counter being 8 feet 6 inches long; a serving bar measuring 9 feet by 5 feet by 8 feet high; a tap room measuring 16 feet (including a bay) by 11 feet 3 inches and 8 feet high ("Supervision can be exercised over bar only"); a passage measuring 3 feet 6 inches by 11 feet 3 inches and 8 feet high; a cellar; a parlour measuring 8 feet 3 inches by 9 feet and 8 feet high; a kitchen; four bedrooms and a large attic. He wrote: "There is a yard behind with gateway entrance in which is the Urinal, Privy and several outbuildings. No food is supplied to the Public".
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. Kensworth was largely, like most of the county, assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 48 Common Road [DV1/C/110/77] found the property still owned by the trustees of Benjamin Bennett, deceased, and now inhabited by shopkeeper Charles White whose rent was £11/4/- per annum. He seems to have been the last tenant of the beerhouse who had evidently made a shop out of the former bar.
The house had two reception rooms, a kitchen and the shop which measured 8 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 9 inches. There was a basement, cellar and four bedrooms on the first floor as well as an attic on the second. Outside stood a barn and a three stall stable as well as a loose box with a loft over and a barn. The valuer commented: "Dirty, wretched, recently a pub".
- PSL6/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Luton Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1901.
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1891-1906: James Perry;
1906-1906: Caroline Perry;
1906-1913: Jacob Fossey;
1913-1914: Mary Ann Fossey;
1914-1916: Stephen Henry Hall;
1916-1920: Charles White;
Beerhouse closed 24 Jun 1920.