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The Queens Head Public House Toddington

6 High Street nearest the camera about 1920 [Z50/126/62]
6 High Street nearest the camera about 1920 [Z50/126/62]

The Queen's Head Public House, 6 High Street, Toddington

The Queen's Head and another messuage in Toddington were purchased from Elizabeth Bright, widow, by the Morris brewery of Ampthill in 1803 [X1/629]. An inventory of 1827 [Z1042/1] and a deed of 1831 [WB/M/4/1/VP1] show that by this time the Queen's Head was in the occupation of William Baker .

In 1844 landlord Edmund Wildman gave evidence in the trial at Quarter Sessions of James Waller, charged with stealing money from William Strange [QSR1844/3/5/4]. Wildman said that on a Saturday morning William Strange came into the pub and presently James Waller came in. He heard Strange ask Waller how much money he had got. Waller took two shillings and a half crown out of his pocket and said that was all he had got. Strange said he had more and Waller said with an oath he had not. Then Waller said: "I had 42 shillings of your money Mr Strange". Strange made no answer except that he, Waller, had got more. Strange then asked Waller for some money and Waller gave him half a crown. Strange charged Waller with picking his pocket and Waller denied it. Waller was 44 years old and had been in trouble before. He was acquitted of stealing pigs in 1827, a year later he was imprisoned for debt and in 1843 was given two months' hard labour for stealing fowls.  This time he was transported for ten years [QGV10/2].

In 1886 the tenant of the Queen's Head, John Gilbert, owed six years' rent amounting to £54 to Morris and Company who appointed bailiffs to distrain Gilbert's personal property. Furniture, a pianoforte, the contents of the bar, kitchen utensils, and other effects were put up for sale to recover the money owed to the brewery [SF69/40].

The Queen's Head closed in 1909 on the recommendation of the Overseers of the Poor of Toddington who were concerned to reduce the number of licensed premises in the village as its population decreased. The Overseers proposed refusing to renew the licenses of the Hare, the Queens Head and the New Inn, but after much discussion only the first two were closed. In 1910 the former Queen's Head premises was sold by Morris and Company to Julius Weir Partridge of Toddington, a tailor who appears in directories of Toddington in 1910 and 1914; the purchase price was £250 [HN10/347/6/1].

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. When the valuation was carried out for Toddington the former premises of the Queen's Head at 6, High Street were owned and occupied by George Hart. Downstairs were a parlour, a living room, a kitchen, a scullery and a shop (Hart was a newsagent, still there when the last directory for the county was published in 1940); upstairs were three bedrooms, a boxroom and a new bathroom and WC; the outbuildings were a barn and a warehouse. The property enjoyed main drains and gas light, but water came from a well. It had previously been rented to a social club for £19 per annum The valuer commented that it had a "good" cellar [DV1/C85/44].

References:

  • Z1042/1: inventory of John & Joseph Morris, brewers of Ampthill, 1827;
  • X21/629: deed relating to Morris brewery properties, 1828;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP1: mortgage of Morris brewery properties, 1831;
  • QSR1844/3/5/4: theft at the Queen's Head: 1844;
  • SF82/1/7/1: tenancy agreement of John Gilbert: 1858;
  • SF82/1/7/2: note of understanding of rent due from John Gilbert: 1867;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP2: mortgage of Morris and Company: 1882;
  • SF69/40: sale of effects of John Gilbert, 1885/6;
  •  HN10/347/6/1: agreement for sale of former Queen's Head, 1910 

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:

1822-1826: Samuel Briden;
1827- 1828: William Baker;
1844-1854: Edmund Wildman;
1858-1887: John Gilbert;
1887: Alexander Hutchinson;
1887-1888: William Henry Gorrow Monk;
1888-1889: Tom Vant;
1889-1890: Joseph Figg;
1890-1891: Edward Henderson;
1891-1892: Reuben Hollingshead;
1892-1893: Josiah Hodder;
1893-1895: John Cooper;
1895-1897: Charles Puzey;
1897-1898: Arthur Frederick Ayers;
1898: Henry Randall;
1898-1899: John Gee George;
1899-1901: Fred Kempster;
1901-1902: George Burr;
1902: Peter Henry Horn;
1902-1904: Frank Constable Brown;
1904-1905: Richard Thomas Adams;
1905-1906: George Cleveland Purchon;
1906-1909: Alfred Lett
Public house closed 1909