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The Cock Inn Woburn

16 to 20 George Street March 2012
16 to 20 George Street March 2012

Cock Inn: 18 and 20 George Street, Woburn

There are few documents in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service relating to the Cock but enough to determine its position. It is first mentioned in Sir Jonas Moore's survey of the Duke of Bedford's estate in Woburn in 1661, where it is described as:

"TENEMENT called the Cock the corner howse betwixt duck Lane and George Streete two bayes one bay well planchered and tiled a Stable of two bayes a brew howse". The tenant was William Tyms who held it from the Manor of Woburn Abbotts.

In 1927 the property, by now simply 10 George Street (today numbered 18 and 20 George Street), was valued for rates under the 1925 Rating and Valuation Act. The inn had closed as long ago as 1832 but still the valuer noted "Was an old Coaching Inn. Great deal of waste room inside". It also was "Right on road no garden adjoining". The property consisted of three lounges, a hall, kitchen, two sculleries and a pantry downstairs; upstairs were seven bedrooms, a W. C. and bathroom with hot and cold running water. Outside were a lumber room, W. C., toolshed, barn, three stables for two horses, a coachhouse and washhouse. Gas was laid on and so were mains water and drainage. The valuer knocked 20% off the valuation "for road and disadvantages of old inn". Interestingly Thomas Evans' 1821-2 survey seems to indicate that the substantial No.16 George Street may also have been part of the inn

16to 20 George Street were Grade II Listed in 1961 when the former Ministry of Works considered them to be early eighteenth century, with Number 16 the reworking of an earlier structure. The properties are built of colourwashed brick with 20th century tiled roofs. The block facing the road has two storeys with a single storey and attics block projecting from the rear.

The most likely explanation for this may be the great fire of June 1724 which destroyed thirty nine houses in Woburn, implying that 16 was so badly damaged it had to be substantially rebuilt and that 18 and 20 were new built at that time or a few years either side of the fire. Even in the 19th century George Street was referred to as Cock End.

The rear of 20 George Street March 2012
The rear of 20 George Street March 2012

List of Sources Held at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service:

  • X1/33/2: mentioned in Sir Jonas Moore's Survey of Woburn Estate: 1661;
  • P118/1/2: burial of a strange man who died at inn: 1692;
  • P118/3/1: parochial dues: 1709-1796 [1727-1796];
  • P118/1/3: burial of Rebecca Beall, a stranger who died at the inn: 1740;
  • P118/28/2: parochial assessment book: 1802-1833;
  • R1/78: Thomas Evans' map accompanying R2/691821;
  • R2/69: Detailed survey of Woburn made by Thomas Evans for the Duke of Bedford: 1822;
  • R3/3723: "has been done away with": 1832

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

1661: William Tyms;
1727-1728: Widow Timbs;
1731-1739: John Foster;
1740-1754: Thomas Burbidge;
1757:
Bayley;
1785-1813: John Preston;
1816-1832: George Williams Baker - commercial and coach inn

1832 inn closed