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The Sun Public House Woburn

The Sun used to stand on the site of this garden at the junction of George Street, Duck Lane and London Road - February 2007
The Sun used to stand on the site of this garden at the junction of George Street, Duck Lane and London Road - February 2007

Sun Public House: (also known as The Rising Sun): corner of Duck Lane, George Street and London Road, Woburn

The only early references to this public house in documents held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service are in a schedule of title deeds. Unfortunately this does not described exactly what each deed in the process means. What they do show is that the inn was copyhold, that is, held from the Manor of Woburn Abbotts, rather than being freehold. In 1733 the tenant seems to have been Brook Sheffard, who, became tenant of the George in 1738 [GA306].

In 1777 Abigail Sheffard was admitted tenant on the surrender of Catherine Reddall [GA306]. Abigail died in 1790 and in 1796 Katherine Reddall was admitted as tenant [GA306]. She was admitted for another term in 1817 [GA306]. Richard Ambrose Reddall was admitted tenant in 1824 after the death of his mother Catherine [GA306] and he was in turn succeeded by his widow Ann, who was admitted tenant in 1843 [GA306], she being succeeded by Colonel John Land [GA308].

In 1841 Richard Ambrose Reddall made out his will and devised the Sun to his cousin John Land, an officer in the Royal Marines [R6/29/2/8]. In 1863 Ann Reddall leased the Sun, with other licensed premises in Woburn (the Royal Oak and the Bell) and Husborne Crawley, to Bedford brewer George Higgins [R6/29/2/10]. The annual rent for the Sun was £20. John Land also leased the premises to George Higgins in 1868 [GA309] and sold it to him in 1879, the establishment remaining in the hands of Higgins and Company until sold to the Duke of Bedford in 1929 after closure in 1923.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 stated that every piece of land and building in the country had to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Woburn, like much of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting to old public house summed it up in one word: "derelict" [DV1/C126/15]. Shortly after closure the building was demolished and became garden ground. The inn stood in London Road, on the west side, immediately south of the junction with Duck Lane.

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

  • GA306 and GK89/9: schedule of deeds: 1733-1879;
  • P118/28/2: parochial assessment book: 1802-1833;
  • R1/78: Thomas Evans' map accompanying R2/69: 1821;
  • R2/69: Detailed survey of Woburn made by Thomas Evans for the Duke of Bedford: 1822;
  • R6/29/3/8: devised in the will of Richard Ambrose Reddall: 1841;
  • R6/29/2/10: leased to George Higgins: 1863;
  • GA308: license to John Land to demise: 1868;
  • GA309: lease from John Land to George Higgins: 1868;
  • GA313-314: lease from John Land to George Higgins: 1872;
  • GK4/4: part of agreement to raise shares in Higgins & Sons Limited: 1902;
  • GK4/6: included in schedule of deeds of Higgins & Sons Limited: 1927;
  • GK4/7: agreement for lease of water and sewerage rights: 1927

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

1733: Brook Sheffard;
1802-1812: Robert Pilkington;
1813: empty;
1814-1818: John Chamberlain;
1820-1842: Thomas Rosson;
1847: William Bodsworth;
1853-1864: George Kemp;
1869: William Lee;
1876: Robert Evans;
1877: William Jeffs;
1878: Robert Evans;
1879-1893: William Jeffs and Henry Charles Jeffs;
1893-1894: Ann Jeffs;
1898-1903: William Henry Sear;
1903-1906: William Gazeley;
1906: John Lenton;
1906-1912: Charles Drage;
1912-1915: Arthur James Pettit;
1915-1923: Moses Wickson;
Public House closed 3rd August 1923