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The Cock Inn Stevington

The Old Inn West End December 2009
The Old Inn West End December 2009

The Cock Inn [formerly The Catherine Wheel]; 6 West End, Stevington.

The early history of the Cock Inn is very confusing. There seem to have been two licensed premises in Stevington have been called The Cock, one was in Silver Street, and was later The Royal George, the other in West End. The only references to the Silver Street establishment are from 1783 to 1809, by which date it had already closed.

In 1864 Bedford brewer William Joseph Nash was admitted to a copyhold premises, held of the Manor of Stevington "formerly called The 'Catherine Wheel' since called 'The Cock' formerly in the occupation of Richard Jones" who had been admitted as tenant on 9th October 1809 [GK155/17]. The establishment had been called the Cock as early as 1822 as, in the countywide licensing register for that year, there are only two licensed premises in Stevington the Cock in the occupation of John Odell and the Red Lion in the occupation of Charles Randall. Clearly 6 West End is, at least in part, over two hundred years old.

William Joseph Nash died in 1884 and in 1894 his widow Susan was admitted as tenant [GK155/18]. In this manorial document the Cock, formerly the Catherine Wheel, was said to be in Silver Street. At that date the beerhouse later named the Royal George in Silver Street was owned by Jarvis & Company of Bedford. It seems likely that there has been a mistake and that the Cock referred to was not in Silver Street at all. There are two reasons why this mistake may have arisen. The first is that there had been a Cock in Silver Street, albeit nearly a century before. The second reason is that there were two Bedford brewing firms involving the Newland family.

The first of these firms was originally Whittingstall and Long, which began before 1784. The firm was bought out by Sir William Long in 1803 and by 1830 he was in partnership as Long & Pestell. This partnership as dissolved towards the end of Long's life and Pestell found a new partner in Robert Newland, Long's son in law. By 1861 the business was being run by Newland's son Bingham. Bingham Newland died in 1873 and his brewery was bought at auction by Thomas Jarvis. Jarvis was taken over by Charles Wells in 1910.

The other firm was begun in 1783 when Peregrine Nash bought the Saint Mary's Brewery, which had already been in existence since 1671. The firm became Nash & Company in 1810 when George Peregrine Nash, Peregrine's son, was taken into the partnership. William Joseph Nash, George Peregrine's second son then took on the business but died in 1884 and his widow Susan carried the business on, taking William Pritzler Newland (son of Bingham) into partnership in 1890 as Newland and Nash. This firm was taken over by Wells & Winch in 1922 which was, in turn, bought our by Suffolk brewers Greene King in 1961.

The Cock at West End was clearly owned by Newland & Nash and was enfranchised, that is the copyhold tenure was converted into freehold by paying a fine to the Lord of the Manor, in 1919 [GK155/41].

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. Stevington was assessed in 1926 and the valuer visiting the Cock Public House [DV1/C120/114] noted that it stood in about an eighth of an acre and that the rent was £10 per annum, which had been fixed seven years before.

The premises comprised a tap room, a smoke room ("small"), a parlour and a kitchen ("bad") downstairs with three bedrooms above. Outside stood old stud and tile stabling "used as a hen house" and a brick and tile barn and poultry house.

The valuer noted that trade was not exactly brisk: "He says not one bottle [of spirits] per week…orders about 7-8 half bottles [of beer] every month". He sold about half a barrel of beer per week. The valuer commented: "Looks a nice house".

The Cock remained in business until about 1958. In this year Wells & Winch conveyed the premises to new owners Howard Rollins Martindale and his wife Hilda Augusta [GK297/3]. At this point it presumably became a private house, which it remains today [2009], with the name The Old Inn

List of References:

  • PSB1/1: licensee Mary Odell: 1829-1934
  • GK155/17: admission of William Joseph Nash on death of George Peregrine Nash (admitted 1809): 1864;
  • GK155/18: admission of Susan Nash on death of her husband William Joseph Nash: 1894
  • GK3/3: schedule of deeds held by Newland & Nash: 1894-1897
  • GK3/1a: conveyance of public houses from William Pritzler Newland, Emily Cressy Nash, Florence Mary Nash, Rosa Gertrude Nash and Constance Eveline Nash to Newland & Nash Limited: 1897
  • GK3/1b: Newland & Nash trust deed to issue debenture stock with various public houses as security: 1897;
  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1935;
  • P71/28/21/19: Walter Tysoe, formerly of the Cock wounded at the front: 1917;
  • GK155/41: enfranchisement: 1919
  • GK155/42: conveyance to trustees in order to issue debentures: 1920
  • GK297/1: conveyance from Higgins & Sons Limited to Wells & Winch Limited: 1931;
  • GK297/3: Sale of the Cock to Howard Rollands and Hilda Augusta Martindale: 1958

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

1809: Richard Jones;
1822-1825: John Odell;
1826-1841: Mary Odell;
1841 -1865 : James Keetch
1864: Richard Jones;
1876-1903: Thomas Cox;
1910: Ralph King;
1910-1915: Walter George Albert Tysoe;
1915-1919: William Harry Bull;
1919-1940: Joseph Pearsall Price

Public House closed 1958