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The Legstraps Public House Wootton

A 20th century drawing of the Rose and Crown [AD3572/84]
A 20th century drawing of the Rose and Crown [AD3572/84]

The Legstraps Public House [formerly the Rose and Crown]: 20 Keeley Lane, Wootton

The first mention of this public house in any record held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is of its purchase in 1820 by Ampthill brewers John and Joseph Morris from William Bigg, indicating that it was already a public house [X21/629]. An inventory was made in 1827 of all property of John and Joseph Morris, and the Rose and Crown was then described as a freehold public house, occupied by William Biggs [presumably the William Bigg from whom it had been bought], with a cooper's workshop, wood barn and garden.  A few yards distant from the house was a barn and three enclosures of pasture land containing together 8 acres 2roods and 2 perches [Z1043/1].

The Rose and Crown remained in the ownership of the Morris family and, from 1907, their limited company of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited until 1926. In that year the company was bought by Luton brewer J. W. Green Limited [CCE5304/3]. In 1903 the countywide licensing register stated that the building was in bad repair, clean and apparently sanitary. It was half a mile from the nearest licensed premises and had plenty of entrances and exits with two front doors, one back door, a side door and a side gate.

The next year Wootton was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building was surveyed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting the Rose & Crown [DV1/C50/150] noted that it comprised a tap room ["low pitched and small"], living room, 2 cellars and kitchen downstairs, with four beds above; outside were a barn & earth closet, a stable for two horses and a store place. Trade was 1½ barrels and 1½ dozen bottles of beer and a bottle spirits per week, "cannot estimate wine, practically nil". No record of takings was kept. The valuer summed up: "Nice tenant. Very poor house".

J. W. Green Limited merged with Warwickshire brewery Flowers in 1954, taking the Flowers name and the new company was bought by Whitbread in 1962, who, in 2001, divested themselves of their brewing and most of their public house trade. The public house underwent refurbishment in 2012 and when it re-opened the name was changed to The Legstraps.

 Rose and Crown in the 1960s
Rose and Crown in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Woot/RC1]

References:

  • X21/629: recital of purchase: 1820;
  • CLP13: Register of Alehouse Recognizances: 1822-1828;
  • Z1043/1: listed in inventory of John and Joseph Morris: 1827;
  • PSB1/1: register of alehouse licences: 1829-1834;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP1: transfer of four fifths of Morris & Company public houses by Edmund Lucas to John Morris: 1831;
  • SF77/16: sale of furniture held at Rose & Crown: 1869;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP2: mortgage of Morris & Company properties by John Thomas Green to Susanna Morris, Mary Jane Morris and Sophia Morris: 1882;
  • AD3572/84: pen drawing of Rose & Crown: 20th century;
  • PSB9/1: Register of Alehouse Licences, Bedford Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1935;
  • CCE5304/1: conveyed to Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited on incorporation of firm: 1907;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP8: abstract of title of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited to public houses: 1926;
  • WB/M/4/2/1: list of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited properties: c.1926;
  • WB/M/4/2/2: particulars of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited properties: 1926;
  • CCE5304/3: conveyed to J W Green Limited: 1926;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: Trade Analysis ledger: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: Negative photocopy certificate of title to properties belonging to J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: Schedule of Deeds and Documents of various public houses: c.1949;
  • WB/Green6/2/9: Transfer book of beer, wines, spirits, cordials etc. to public houses: 1950-1951;
  • WB/Green4/2/16: Letter as to Titles: 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: Second Schedule of Trust Deed from J. W. Green Limited to London Assurance to secure 1,205,000 5% First Mortgage Debenture Stock: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: Various loose schedules of deeds and documents including the Fox & Duck: c.1954;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: List of licensed houses of J.W.Green Limited: c.1954;
  • PSB9/2: Register of Alehouse Licences, Bedford Petty Sessional Division: c.1955-1995;
  • Z1105/1: Liquor Licence Traders Survey Forms: 1960;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Woot/RC1: exterior photograph: 1960s;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980 

The Rose and Crown December 2007
The Rose and Crown in December 2007

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1822-1855: William Bigg or Biggs;
1855: Mary Biggs;
1855: James Biggs;
1865: Thomas Ayres;
1876-1881 Joel Keep (also boot and shoemaker);
1890-1891: George Stanley;
1894: Amos Odell;
1898: James Caleb Summerfield;
1903-1905: Frank Parrott;
1905-1913: Thomas Parkins;
1913-1934: George W.Morgan;
1934-1940: Jane Morgan;
1945:Albert E & Elsie Munday;
1954-1960: Leonard Henry Thomas Beckett;
1965-1967: Ronald Henry Roberts;
1967-1979: Jack Bowden-Rooke;
1979-1982: Terence William Nald;
1982-1985: Brian Stanley Gibbs;
1985-1995: Graham Richard Watts