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The Osborn Arms Beerhouse Shefford

 Osborn Arms about 1910
Osborn Arms about 1910 [Z1306/101]

Osborn Arms Beerhouse: High Street, Shefford

This beerhouse seems to have begun about 1840 as in this year Her Majesty's Commissioner for Woods sold four cottages and over four acres of land to Biggleswade brewers William Hogg and Robert Lindsell. Two of these cottages were described as being "near the chapel of ease", now the church and this fits in well with the position of the Osborn Arms, just west of the church on the same side of the road. Their brewing firm was later known as Wells and Company and, in 1899, this firm was bought by Kent businessman George Winch for his son Edward Bluett Winch, the name changing to Wells and Winch Limited to reflect this. The conveyance of the licensed property describes the Osborn Arms thus: "Osborn Arms beerhouse with washhouse and gardens in rear of 0 acres 1 rood 18 perches, formerly in occupation of Robert Seymour and John Seymore, now of H.Waller near the chapel of ease in Shefford; also an adjoining cottage with a garden of one rood in occupation of Mrs.Clarke" [Z1039/34/2a].

The beerhouse closed at the end of 1912 and the following year was sold by Wells and Winch to the Roman Catholic Priest of Shefford, Lawrence Walter Youens who may have had the idea of using the building as part of the Saint Francis Boys' Home. In 1927 the town of Shefford was valued under the terms of 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 noted that the former beerhouse was part of a row of properties all owned by the Trustees of Saint Francis' Home [DV1/ C289/40-42] and occupied by N and F Pettifer, E.I.Cable and Miss Seymour. All were of brick and tile construction. Nancy and Florence Pettifer ran a millinery premises and also had one room for rent; E.I.Cable had a two up two down property used, appropriately "solely as a workshop and electrical work"; Miss Seymour's property consisted of a parlour, kitchen, sub-cellar and three bedrooms ["v.v.bad, bedrooms in roof, old outbuildings, neglect, was 2 Cottages now one"].

In 1932 Father Youens sold the former beerhouse to his Anglican counterpart George Harold Strange. The site of the former beerhouse is now a modern shopping block.

 site of Osborn Arms January 2008
Site of Osborn Arms January 2008

References:

  • HF40/2/17/1: conveyance of four cottages and four acres of land from Commissioner of Woods to William Hogg and Robert Lindsell: 1840;
  • 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;
  • GK307/11 and 12: site plan: 1898;
  • GK1/36: Wells and Company sale catalogue: 1898;
  • Z1039/34/2a: conveyance of business from Wells and Company to Wells and Winch: 1899;
  • P70/2/6/1: certificate of contract for redemption of Land Tax on Osborn Arms: 1899;
  • P70/2/6/2: abstract of title of Wells and Winch to Osborn Arms: 1899-1913;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • P70/2/6/3: former beerhouse conveyed by Wells and Winch to Roman Catholic Priest of Shefford: 1913;
  • Z1039/34/1: schedule of deeds to Wells and Winch property: 1922;
  • P70/2/6/5: former beerhouse conveyed by Roman Catholic Priest of Shefford to Vicar of Shefford: 1932

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:
Robert Seymour;
John Seymour;
1850-1905: Henry Waller;
1905-1910: William Henry Trigg;
1910-1912: James Davey
Beerhouse closed 28 Dec 1912