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The Gardeners Arms Beerhouse Shefford

40 and 40a High Street January 2012
40 and 40a High Street January 2012

Gardeners Arms Beerhouse: 40 High Street, Shefford

Censuses for Shefford show that the Gardeners Arms was next door to the Kings Arms and so was at the property today numbered as 40 and 40 High Street.  Apart from licensing registers and censuses, the only source to mention this beerhouse held in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is an unexecuted conveyance of 1878 [WJ409] which refers to a ‘’cottage now used as a greengrocers shop, and beerhouse called the Gardeners Arms, Shefford, workshop, stable, loft barn and garden, in High Street, formerly in occupation of Edward Button, then Benjamin Gilbert, late William Waller, then William Bell, late William Barnes, now Joseph King.’

A recital shows that William Barnes bought the premises from Thomas Widdows and Abraham Roberts in 1865. Another recital shows that Barnes conveyed the business to Joseph King in 1875. The unexecuted conveyance is from Joseph King to E.K.&.H.Fordham, brewers of Ashwell [Hertfordshire] and despite the lack of execution Fordhams are shown as owners in the licensing registers, The beerhouse closed in 1907.

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. Shefford, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the building [DV1/C290/87-88] found it owned by J. Hare, who occupied the rear of the premises which comprised a long brick and slate store with a loft over, a second range comprising a brick and slate and wood malt store, and a malting kiln. This has a capacity of ten quarters and Hare employed a man to tend it. Oddly Hare is not mentioned in any directory of the period but was clearly still making use of the malting facilities left over from the building's use as a beerhouse twenty years before.

The rest of the property was occupied by Mrs. W. E. Bain who had paid rent of £49/16/- per annum from November 1925. Her accommodation comprised three reception rooms, a kitchen and a scullery downstairs with four bedrooms, one dressing room and two box rooms above. She had no barn, but did have a brick and tiled fowl house, two wood and felt hovels and a garage ("poor"). The space over the passageway was 11 feet 6 inches by 30 feet. The valuer commented: "Teas supplied" and "Luncheons and teas", presumably as a way to help pay the considerable rent.

40 and 40a High Street were listed by the former Department of Environment in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the properties to the 18th century noting that they were re-worked in the early and mid 19th century. The structure is built of red brick with some rendering at the east. The building has four bays and two storeys.

Sources:

  • WJ409: recited conveyance from Thomas Widdows and Abraham Roberts to William Barnes: 1865;
  • WJ409: mortgage from William Barnes to William Northwood: 1865
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • WJ409: unexecuted conveyance: 1878
  • 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;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915

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:
Edward Button;
Benjamin Gilbert;
William Waller;
William Bell;
1871-1875: William Barnes;
1875-1879: Joseph King;
1879-1880: Charles Barcock;
1880-1881: William Callings;
1881-1882: John Charles Revis;
1882-1890: Daniel Cooper;
1890: Elias Carter;
1891: William Pickett;
1891-1892: Thomas Collins;
1892: William Bland;
1892-1894: John Dyer Heley;
1894-1896: Charles Richard Waters;
1896-1897: Edmund Harold Falkner;
1897-1898: Alfred James Churchyard;
1898-1907: John Walters
Beerhouse closed 27th June 1907