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The Hop Vine Beerhouse Westoning

The Hop Vine Beerhouse [WL800/3]
The Hop Vine Beerhouse [WL800/3]

The Hop Vine Beerhouse: 36 Flitwick Road, Westoning

In 1849 Frederick Redden of Bedford made his will, devising all his real estate to his wife Penelope Coorie Redden, dying in 1851. She then contracted to sell to Bedford brewers Joseph Allen Piggot and Henry Collings Wells. Included in the purchase was a triangular shaped piece of land in Westoning bounded on the front by the road from Toddington to Ampthill. Included were four cottages lately erected on the same piece of land, one of them occupied by Richard Higgs. Wells sold out his interest to Piggot in 1862 [WL78]

In 1854 the former Three Goats Heads Inn was conveyed and the description indicates that a "retail beer house in occupation of Richard Higgs" lay to the west - which would put it in the rough location of the Hop Vine. Directories of 1853, 1854 and 1861 simply list Higgs as a shoemaker. Nevertheless, these two piece of evidence suggest that Higg's property was the Hop Vine, which was established on Piggot and Wells purchasing the newly built cottages in 1851. For most of its life the beerhouse was owned by Bedford brewer Charles Wells. He bought Piggot's business in 1875.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Westoning, like most of Bedfordshire, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting The Hop Vine [DV1/C135/115-116] found that the part of the building to the west was owned by Charles Wells and occupied by T. Hilliard as a dwelling - it comprised a living room and kitchen downstairs with three bedrooms above and a brick and tiled barn outside. The tenant paid £5/4/- per annum rent.

The Hop Vine itself was tenanted by William Davis and comprised a living room and kitchen, "small" tap room and parlour downstairs with three bedrooms ("1 very damp") upstairs. A cellar lay underground. The tenant paid £3 per annum in rent. Outside stood a timber and tiled open shed with a brick and slate stable with a loft over.

Trade comprised nine to twelve gallons of beer per week was well as a "small trade" in wines, minerals and tobacco. The Hop Vine closed in February 1956 and remains a private house.

The former Hop Vine January 2010
The former Hop Vine January 2010

General References:

  • WL78: cottages conveyed to Joseph Allen Piggot and Henry Collings Wells: 1851;
  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • WL800/3: photograph album: c. 1925;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • PSA5/3: list of premises taken over by Wells & Winch on voluntary liquidation of Newland & Nash: 1936;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s  

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:

1851-1854: Richard Higgs;
1861-1893: George King;
1893-1898: Lucy King;
1898-1911: William Bonner;
1911-1914: Charles Frederick Anderson;
1914-1932: William Davis;
1932-1934: Henry Hayes;
1934-1937: James William Stringer;
1937-1938: Alfred Walter Plummer;
1938-1949: Frederick Challoner;
1949-1956: Edith Maud Challoner.
Beerhouse closed 9th February 1956