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The Crown Public House Stanford

Poplars Stanford Road site of Crown Beerhouse March 2008
Poplars Stanford Road site of Crown Beerhouse March 2008

Crown Public House: Stanford

The early history of the Crown is not completely known but the Register of Licensed Premises of 1876 notes that it had been licensed for over a hundred years and it was certainly in existence in 1822 as it was sold by auction in that year. The description of the Crown in the sale catalogue of 1822 is as follows [SL1/124]: "All that well-known old-accustomed PUBLIC HOUSE (the Crown, Stanford), comprising a good Tap Room, Parlour, Kitchen, a roomy Cellar, Three airy Bed Rooms, large Yard with a Pump of excellent Water, Barns, Stables, Cow House, Cart Hovel, a large Orchard and Garden well planted with Fruit Trees, and a Field of rich (Part Pasture and Part Garden) GROUND adjoining, in a straight Line from the South-west Corner of Widow Crawley's Garden to the East Post of the Stile at the Top of the Field, and containing together TWO ACRES AND A HALF (more or less), in the Occupation of George Basterfield, Tenant at Will".

The sale catalogue does not say who was selling the Crown but the buyer was evidently John Harvey of Ickwell Bury, as in 1837 the following property is listed as owned by him in a disentailing deed [SL1/140-141]: a messuage sometime since divided into two where John Chambers and Elizabeth Bonfield dwelt, in Stanford, one known as "Old Crown" in occupation of George Basterfield and the other in occupation of Widow Crawley.

The reason for the disentailing deed was to allow Harvey to sell property and he sold the Crown the following year to Biggleswade brewers William Hogg and Robert Lindsell [GK37/1]. The firm run by Hogg and Lindsell in 1837 eventually became known as Wells & Company and in 1899 it was sold to Kent businessman George Winch, who bought it on behalf of his son Edward Bluett Winch - the company being renamed Wells and Winch Limited. At the time of the conveyance of Wells and Company's property to the new firm the Crown was described as: "Crown, Stanford with yard, garden, stable, orchard and outbuildings and a close of land partly cultivated, partly pasture of 3acres, 3 roods, 26 perches adjoining, all formerly in occupation of George Basterfield; also a building formerly a cottage, now part of the public house with yard and garden and outbuildings formerly in occupation of Widow Crawley; all now in occupation of James Walter Gray".

In 1927 Stanford 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 Crown found [DV1/C152] it occupied by Arthur W.Brown; it comprised a tap room ("fair"), a private room, a cellar, a kitchen and three bedrooms with a stable, barn, two bay cart shed, and three piggeries outside. Trade was hardly booming, consisting of one 36 gallon barrel and a dozen bottles of beer per week and just a gallon of spirits a year. The tied rent was £23 per annum and takings £7 per week. The valuer commented: "Poor place – on a side road". Not long after this the public house closed - it last appears in any directory held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service in Kelly's Directory for 1931 but does not appear in those for 1936 or 1940. The premises was demolished and today a modern private house called Poplars stands on the site.

Sources:

  • SL1/124 Sale Catalogue 1822;
  • CLP13: register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • SL1/140-141: "The Old Crown" part of a disentailing deed: 1836;
  • GK37/1: conveyance of public house by John Harvey to William Hogg and Robert Lindsell for £597/6/-: 1837;
  • SL1/140-141: reference to Old Crown, now two houses, in a deed: 1836;
  • 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;
  • GK1/36: three sales catalogues bound together: Wells & Company of Biggleswade 1898; Henlow Brewery 1899; Baldock Brewery Limited 1903;
  • Z1039/34/2a: conveyance of licensed properties from Frederick Archdale, Charles Samuel Lindsell, Henry Martin Lindsell and Arthur Knox Lindsell to Wells & Winch: 1899;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • DV1/C152: rating valuation: 1927  

List of Licensees:

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

1801-1837: George Basterfield;
1869-1891: Charles Finch;
1891-1902: James Walter Gray;
1902-1914: Frederick Joseph Rook
1920-1924: Charles Faulkner;
1928-1931: Arthur W.Brown;
Public house closed between 1931 and 1936