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The Brewery Tap Public House Shefford

 Brewery Tap frontal view January 2008
Brewery Tap frontal view January 2008

Brewery Tap Public House: 14 North Bridge Street, Shefford

For much of its existence this public house was known as the Green Man. The earliest mention in any record held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in the register of alehouse licences of 1822-1828 [CLP13]. The building was owned by the feoffees (that is to say trustees) of the Shefford Charities. In 1834 a survey of trust property was undertaken and fortunately this has survived [X465/322]. The property was described as: "One Messuage or Tenement (let as a Public House and known by the sign of the Green Man) Barns, outhouses, yards, Garden and appurtenances situate on the east side of Bedford Street [as Northbridge Street was then known] in Shefford now in the occupation of John Izard Pryor Esqr [the brewer] or his undertenant [Henry Standbridge] containing in the whole one rood and ten poles. Bounded on the north by a meadow belonging to William Hogg Esqr. on the east by a Ditch running between the end of teh aforesaid premises and a meadow of the Duke of Bedford, on the south by ane state of Mr. Frank Snitch and on the west by Bedford Street aforesaid. Note: one half of the Ditch on the east side and the whole of the Ditch on the north side belongs to this estate and is included in the above admeasurement". This last part has been struck out and annotated: "Part of the Ditch on the East is filled up and appears to belongto Mr. Hogge".

The Green Man in 1834 [X465/322]
The Green Man in 1834 [X465/322]

The public house had been previously been let to Ind's Baldock [Hertfordshire] Brewery. This firm was taken over by John Pryor in 1815. From at least 1822 until his death Pryor's tenant was Henry Standbridge and Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has his will [ABP/W1837/34]. Henry first wrote a will dated the 6 June 1837 in which he left his estate in trust for his wife to carry on his businesses as victualler and toll renter [i.e. he owned the right to take tolls at Shefford Fair and Market] for her benefit during her widowhood, then for his children Amy and William, and to his sister Mary Roberts on the event of their death. Just over a week later, however, he added a codicil to his will: "I Henry Stanbridge of Shefford in Bedfordshire, builder & victualler do publish and declare this to be a Codicil  to my last will and Testament and do desire that the same be annexed thereto and go therewith. I revoke all and every trust and disposition and benefit by my said will made or intended for or in favour of my wife. And I direct and declare that all and every trust, benefit and disposition or other clause therein made or contained in favour of my children shall take effect and come into operation immediately upon my decease instead of awaiting the decease or future marriage of my said wife but without prejudice to the power of sale contained in or given by such my will. And that ultimate trust in favour of my sister Mary and her heirs in case of my said children both dying under twenty one without leaving issue therein mentioned shall thereupon take effect notwithstanding my said wife may be living. I also appoint my executors [Joseph Heditch & James Parrott] to be Guardians of my children during their minority". Henry Standbridge died shortly afterwards.

The Green Man in 1871 [X465/323]
The Green Man in 1871 [X465/323]

A new survey for the feoffees was undertaken in 1871 [X465/323]. By then the brewery leasing the property was Simpson's Baldock Brewery, Simpson having bought Pryor out in 1853. The northern property was then owned by Harvey and Tilzey and the neadow on the east side by Thomas Barnard. On teh sout hside the new owner was Edward King. The feoffees continued to lease the Green Man to the new owners and renewed the lease in 1895 [X465/11].

On 20th September 1875 George Daniels, Sergeant of Police stationed at Shefford, made the first of two occurrence reports about activities at the Green Man [HF147/5/875 ].  He was on duty in North Bridge Street, Shefford, when he saw an unattended horse and cart standing in the street opposite the Green Man Public House at 7.30pm. When he returned at 8.20pm the horse and cart was still there unattended.  It was another 25 minutes before anyone came to look after it. Samuel Collip of Southill, the owner, came and took it away.  Sergeant Daniels told him he would be reported as he had been cautioned before on more than one occasion for a similar offence. Collip was fined 2/6 with 5/6 costs.

On 16th December 1876 [HF147/7/1327-1328] Sergeant Daniels went into the Green Man when he heard talking inside at 11.05pm.  The door was locked but the Landlady opened it when he rapped.  In the taproom were William Waller Stapleton, chemist of Shefford, and George Smith, bricklayer, also of Shefford.  Neither were drinking.  Smith was smoking.  The landlady said they had had nothing to drink since 10.00pm.  Nevertheless, this after hours session was rewarded with fines of 10/- each with costs of 8/6 each.

At the Biggleswade Petty Sessions of 28th August 1918 John Mullett, licensee of the Green Man, was fined £3 for allowing persons to consume intoxicating liquors after midnight on Sunday 18 Aug 1918 [X465/91]. In September 1920 Mullett wrote to the Feoffees of the Shefford Charity requesting that he buy the property from them upon the expiration of Flitton Brothers Lease. It is not known when the lease of the Green Man was given up by Simpsons of Baldock, nor when Flittons of Stotfold took it over.

 Green Man about 1900
Green Man about 1900 [Z1306/101]

In 1927 the town of Shefford was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting the Green Man noted [DV1/C/289/6] that Flitton brothers were still leasing the business, with J.E.Heaney as their subtenant; he had "been here 5 years". The premises comprised a tap room ["fair"], dining room ["good"], tap room ["small"], cellar, kitchen and a Buffaloes Lodge Room; upstairs were four bedrooms, a box room and a bathroom. Outside were a brick and tile store, barn and lumber shed. There was a "Verandah for teas". Weekly trade was reasonable - 1½ barrels and 13 dozen bottles of beer as well as a gallon spirits. Takings were "now" £20 per week.

On 10th July 1957 a report on the property was made by W & H Peacock [X465/92]: "Frontage 59 foot 6 inches which is all built upon and a depth of 220 feet or thereabouts. The building is constructed of brick and slate, about 100 years of age, used as a public house, and the accommodation is in two floors, and consists as follows:

  • Ground floor: Smoke room with boarded floor and brick fireplace; Public bar with brick floor and brick fireplace; Bar; Beer Cellar; Kitchen with tiled surround grate with back boiler and a Belfast sink.
  • First floor:  Large club room with grate and a bar; bathroom with bath and lavatory basin; toilet; elsan closet; sitting room (front) with grate; two double bedrooms at rear.
  • Outside: Covered gateway to rear. Back addition, built of brick and pantile, single storey, consisting of: - bottle store; general store; fuel store; gents urinal. Attached to the foregoing are two brick and corrugated asbestos E.c.’s.
  • Services: Main water and electricity, main drainage shortly will be available. Rateable Value £45.
  • General: The roof appears to have been patched on several occasions, several settlement breaches in arches to windows and door and the chimney head needs attention. The back addition is in very poor condition structurally, especially the roof which is bad. The lavatory accommodation is most crude. The floorboards to the first floor are poor and weak. The interior of the property is in very fair decorative condition and several of the fittings appear to have been recently modernised.
  • Lastly, in our opinion, the rack rent of these premises in 1963 would be £125. If a new lease is granted to Messrs Whitbreads for 21 years, to run from 1963 on the same terms as the present lease and they spend the stated sum of £350 on improvements, we consider the sum of Twenty Five pounds (£25) per annum should be deducted from the rent = £100 per annum.

The reference to the tenants being Whitbread was as a result of their takeover of Flittons in 1948. At some point in its later history the Green Man was renamed, first the Grapevine, then the Countryman.

In 1982 Martin Leigh Ayres and Michael Andre Desquesnes established the brewing firm of Banks & Taylor of Shefford. The modern name of the public house is derived from the fact that it is owned by the brewery and sells its produce. In 1994 the official receiver was called in and the two original partners with another bought the rights to the brewery which was then renamed B&T Brewery Limited.  This firm exists at the time of writing [2008] and continues to own the Brewery Tap, as well as a public house in Bedford and one in Dunstable. The head office and brewery itself are at
3e-3f St Francis Way, Shefford.

 Brewery Tap January 2008
Brewery Tap January 2008

References:

  • CLP13: register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • X465/320: feoffment by old Shefford Feoffees to new Feoffees of all Shefford Charities property including Green Man: 1834;
  • X465/322: survey if Shefford Feoffees estates: 1834;
  • ABP/W1837/34: Will of Henry Standbridge: 1837;
  • X465/322: survey if Shefford Feoffees estates: 1871;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF147/5/875: occurrence report of Sergeant George Daniels: 1875;
  • HF147/7/1327-1328: occurrence reports of Sergeant George Daniels: 1876;
  • 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;
  • X465/11: lease from Shefford Feoffees to Simpson of Baldock: 1895;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • X465/91: Shefford Feoffees' correspondence regarding Green Man including repairs, request to pull down old buildings in yard, conviction of landlord for selling beer after hours (1918) and offers to buy the public house: 1914-1957;
  • GK84/8: Printed Charity Commission Scheme for Feoffment estate, Shefford including the Green Man: 1904;
  • WB/Flitt1/6/1: Trust Deed of George Henry Thomas Flitton of Stotfold, brewer, including Green Man, Shefford leased from Lucas Feoffees on yearly tenancy at 35 per annum: 1937;
  • WB/Flitt4/2/1: Schedule of deeds of Flittons Brewery Limited: 1949;
  • WB/Flitt4/2/2: List of Flittons Brewery Limited properties: 1950;
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  • X465/332: Photocopy of Charity Commission Scheme for the administration of the Shefford Charities Trust including Green Man: 1974-1975;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980.

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:
1822-1837: Henry Standbridge;
1839-1854: James Waller;
1861-1875: George Whitbread; (& blacksmith);
1875-1876: William Moulden;
1876-1877: James Sayers;
1877-1879: George Currell;
1879-1889: Arthur Edmund Vimpany;
1889-1894: William Sharp;
1894-1895: Joseph Daniel Powell;
1895-1909: Edward Hamer;
1909-1914: Abraham Dawson;
1918-1920: John Mullett
1924-1931: John Edward Heaney;
1936: Alice Heaney;
1940-1950: Reginald Heaney;
1957-1972: Norman John Douglas Elfick;
1972: Ernest Albert Raymond Mole;
1972-1973: Colin Joiner;
1973-1975: Sandra Helen Paton;
1975-1978: Colin Campbell Joiner and John Eric Parker;
1978-1979: Colin Campbell Joiner;
1979-1990: Kenneth Douglas Griffiths Cates;
1990-1991: Darren James Gudgin;
1991-1994: Patricia Blanche Gudgin;
1994-1996: Anthony O'Neil