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The Sugar Loaf Public House Meppershall

The Sugar Loaf March 2015
The Sugar Loaf March 2015

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Sugar Loaf Beerhouse was first licensed in 1870. The property was conveyed to the partners in the Biggleswade brewery Wells & Company in 1868 by William Handscombe [Z1039/34/1]. This firm was bought by Kent businessman George Winch for his son Edward Bluett Winch in 1898 and the name of the company changed to Wells and Winch.

In 1882 the landlord Moses Cakebread was fined £1 with 8/6 costs [HF147/39/5]. He was reported to magistrates by Arthur Parsons, a labourer of Meppershall who went into the Sugar Loaf and joined Charles Millard and Cakebread in six or seven games of cards for money. Parsons played until he lost 17/6, which, no doubt, prompted him to report the landlord.

In 1898 Wells and Company was for sale (being bought by George Winch). The sale particulars described the Sugar Loaf as containing a tap room, a parlour, a cellar, a scullery and three bedrooms. Outside stood a washhouse, a store, a WC, a hen house and a "good garden". The tenant, Frederick Lawrence, paid £5 per annum as rent.

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 Sugar Loaf [DV1/C160/142] found that the beerhouse was still owned by Wells and Winch and that the tenant, Frederick Lawrence, paid rent of £10 per annum.

Accommodation comprised a living room, kitchen and three bedrooms as well as a cellar and a small taproom. The beer licence was £4/5/3 per annum. Trade was 1½ barrels and five or six dozen bottles per week on average. Buildings outside included a barn, a washhouse, an office, a store, a henhouse, a stable, a cart shed, an open shed and an earth closet ("small grass plot at side used for fowls"). The valuer commented: "Fairly modern house but very small public room".

A full licence was granted in February 1956 making the beerhouse into a public house. In 1961 Greene King took over Wells and Winch. Today the Sugar Loaf remains the only licensed premises in the village of Meppershall. 

References:

  •  Z1039/34/1 and GK27/1: conveyance - William Handscombe to Frederick Archdale, R.H.Lindsell and C.S.Lindsell: 1868;
  •  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;
  •  HF147/39/5: landlord for allowing playing cards for money: 1882;
  •  GK1/36: in a sale catatlogue: 1898;
  •  HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  •  PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  •  PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  •  PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;
  •  PCMeppershall9/13: transfers of licence: 1977-1983;
  •  PCMeppershall 30/2-3 and 34: applications for transfer of licence 1989-1994.

Licensees: 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:

1830: William Bluffield
1872-1882: Moses Cakebread;
1882-1897: James Warren;
1897-1898: James Thomas Bluffield;
1898-1931: Frederick Lawrence;
1936-1966: Charles Pettifar;
1966-1970: Gordon Jeffrey Cobden;
1970-1971: Eric Hilling;
1971-1978: Alan Graham Matthews;
1978-1989: Graham James Pickard;
1989-1994: Anthony James Davies;
1994-1995: Peter James Little;
1994- Terence William Lambley