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The Half Moon Public House Pepperstock

The Half Moon public house in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Pep/HM1]
The Half Moon public house in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Pep/HM1]

Half Moon Public House: 128 Half Moon Road, Pepperstock 

The first mention of this public house is in a schedule of deeds referring to a will of Hannah Simons of 1810. Sadly Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service does not have this will, just a mention in the schedule, it is thus not known whether the house was licensed at this date or not. The same schedule lists a confusing succession of conveyances between 1826 when Shadrach Godwin sold to John Simons and 1830 when George Hooper sold to Elizabeth and Thomas Burr, the Luton brewers, presumably indicating that the house was licensed by or at this date.

In 1857 Luton brewer Thomas Sworder bought the brewery of Frederick Burr, deceased, and the Half Moon, with other licensed premises along with it. The conveyance was not made until 1860 when it is described as, with outbuildings, gardens, yards and orchard containing together 1 acre 0 roods 6 poles; it also had several adjoining closes, three being arable and pasture, containing together 7 acres 1 rood 10 poles and three being spinney or woodland containing together 2 acres 0 rood 22 poles; another 3 roods 15 poles of arable were opposite the public house.

Sworder's business came close to bankruptcy a number of times but limped on until 1897. Part of Sworder's problem was getting rents from his landlords and in 1864 William Church at the Half Moon was giving trouble, as letters from Robert How, Sworder's agent, show. In 1864 How wrote: "I have been to this house and Church the tenant says he has paid some rent at the Brewery and has promised to bring the balance to me and to go with me to the Brewery and make the rent right to Michaelmas, but he has failed to do so. I expect him every day" [X95/290/1/4]. He made a settlement with Church later that same year [X95/290/2/4]. This must have been satisfactory because Church was still licensee in 1897.

In that year Sworder's business was bought by another Luton brewer, and competitor, John William Green. The sale particulars for the busness describe the Half Moon as a fully licensed public house comprising a bar, tap room, sitting room with cupboards, second sitting room, kitchen with cupboard, cellar with entrance [!], three bed rooms, small store room, outside wash-house with copper, sink and closet, and "pond in front". It also contained a farm yard, timber and slated barn and open shed, brick and tiled stable, wood and thatched cowhouse for three beasts, fowl house, small grass orchard, two small meadows ("one with pond"), large arable field, small arable field of about three quarters of an acre "on opposite side of lane and fronting road". The whole lot contained eleven acres "There is a well of water with timber shed which is also used for the supply of cottages opposite". The rent was £40 per annum.

J.W.Green Limited, as it became merged with Warwickshire brewers Flowers in 1954, taking the Flowers name and this new company was taken over by Whitbread in 1962. In 2001 Whitbread divested itself of its brewery and licensed trade, the Half Moon, along with many other pubs, being transferred to a Whitbread subsidiary, Brewers Fayre. At the time of writing the pub has closed and old building is boarded up [2012].

The former Half Moon March 2012
The former Half Moon March 2012

References:

  • X95/300: scheduled will of Hannah Simons: 1810;
  • X95/300: scheduled conveyance from Shadrach Godwin to John Simons: 1826;
  • X95/300: scheduled conveyance by John Simons to Francis House Kingston(e): 1826;
  • X95/300: scheduled conveyance by John Simons to Richard Gutteridge: 1827;
  • X95/300: scheduled conveyance by Francis House Kingston(e) and Richard Gutteridge to George Hooper: 1827;
  • X95/300: scheduled conveyance from George Hooper to Elizabeth and Thomas Burr: 1830;
  • Z660/D/1/4: conveyance of Burr's Brewery and houses from trustees of Frederick Burr to Thomas Sworder: 1860;
  • X95/292/41: 60 barrels of beer sold in the house on behalf of Benjamin Bennett: 1862;
  • X95/292/55: valuation of £1,400 on the Half Moon with rent at £30 per annum: 1864;
  • X95/292/67: offer by Thomas Sworder to lease the Half Moon to William Anstee, John Cook and Benjamin Bennett: 1864;
  • X95/290/1/4: "I have been to this house and Church the tenant says he has paid some rent at the Brewery and has promised to bring the balance to me and to go with me to the Brewery and make the rent right to Michaelmas, but he has failed to do so. I expect him every day": 1864;
  • X95/290/2/4: Detailed account of Thomas Sworder with Robert How of Luton regarding settlement with William Church of Half Moon, Pepperstock and John King of Plough, Kensworth: 1864;
  • X95/283: account of rents: 1867;
  • Z660/D/1/6, X95/240 and X95/270: conveyed with Burr's Brewery by trustees of Frederick Burr deceased to Thomas Sworder: 1878;
  • WG/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants: 1887-1926;
  • X95/287: Proposed arrangement of loans of Thomas Sworder & Company (Half Moon valued at £1,200): 1889;
  • WB/S4/1/1/2 and X95/299: mortgage of properties by Thomas Sworder: 1889;
  • WB/S4/1/1/3: mortgage of properties by Thomas Sworder: 1890;
  • WB/S4/1/15: sale particulars of Thomas Sworder's brewery and houses: 1897;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP1: conveyance of brewery and licensed properties of Thomas Sworder to J.W.Green Limited: 1897;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: record of articles of association and licensed houses owned by J.W.Green Limited: 1897-1936;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1936;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of deeds to J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: c.1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: letter from J.W.Green to solicitors Lawrance, Messer & Company asking which licensed properties had been in continuous occupation: 24 Jul 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: Trust Deed of J.W.Green Limited with list of licensed premises: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: Various loose schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Pep/HM1-3: photographs: 1960s;
  • PCCaddington30/2: change of licensees: 1996;
  • PCCaddington30/10: change of licensees: 1998.

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

John Goodwin;
1860: Benjamin Pilgrim;
1864-1897: William Church;
1897-1899: Olney;
1899-1901: Foster;
1901-1902: Smurthwaite;
1902-1903: Stangroom;
1903-1905: Cray;
1905-1916: Upton;
1916-1922: Bassett;
1922-1925: Strong;
1925-1936: W. Taylor;
1985: Harold Kosky and Carole Hobbs;
1986-1988: Harold Kosky and Richard Motion;
1988-1989: Harold Kosky and Jane Quelch;
1989-1990: Neville Clive Snell and Leslie Robert Fowler;
1990-1993: Leslie Robert Fowler and Susan Patricia Walsh;
1993: Jopn Kent;
1993-1996: John Kent and Susan Patricia Walsh;
1996: Peter Crabbeand John Kent;
1996-1998: Daniel Thompson and Michael Gallagher;
1998: Stewart Jonathan Symes and Ian Spencer Gardner;
1998: Craig Hooton.