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The Star Public House Wootton

The Star about 1900 with William Gilbert and family standing outside [Z50/136/19]
The Star about 1900 with William Gilbert and family standing outside [Z50/136/19]

The Star Public House: Cause End Road, Wootton

According to a note in the countywide register of alehouse licences of 1876 the Star beerhouse was first licensed in 1847. The deeds to the property go back to 1802 when a house divided into three tenements (flats in more modern parlance) was sold by James, Thomas, Richard and Dorothy Emmerton, John Pateman, Richard Bass and William Smith to John Curtis [GK150/1]. He sold the cottage, by then divided into just two tenements, to Thomas North in 1823 [GK150/4], at which date it was described as adjoining the Methodist chapel (not then on the site of today's chapel). North sold three "newly erected messuages" in 1824 [GK150/6], strongly suggesting that he pulled the old cottage down and built them on the site. The owners of these three messuages all sold them to a Bedford grocer, Charles Bradley, in 1832 [GK150/10].

In 1855 the following notice appeared in the Bedfordshire Times "Wootton, Beds. To be sold by auction at the Hop Pole Inn, Cauldwell Street Bedford by Mr C Stafford on Tuesday May 22nd 1855 at six o’clock in the evening: LOT 1: The old-established Freehold Beerhouse known as the ‘Star’ situate at Wootton, near the Church, in the occupation of George Hight, postman, comprising 10 rooms, with stable, barn, capital orchard of about an acre in extent, well stocked with fruit trees, together with FIVE COTTAGES, small gardens and necessary outbuildings, adjoining the Wesleyan Chapel, brick, timber & plaster built, cheifly tiled; in the respective occupations of Pateman, Hakes, Hill, S Cooper, & J Thompson; the whole realising a very moderate rental of £25s 10s per annum. Land Tax on the whole 24s per annum".

Interestingly the premises was owned by Benjamin Bradley in 1859 [GK150/11]suggesting either that the sale fell through or that Charles Bradley, or his executors if he had died, ended up selling to a relative. He sold the Star to Bedford brewer William Joseph Nash in 1864 [GK150/13]. Nash & Company had been created in 1783 by George Peregrine Nash and when his grandson, William Joseph died in 1884 his widow Susan continued to run the company. She took William Pritzler Newland as a business partner in 1890 and the company was renamed Newland & Nash which survived until acquired by Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch in 1922.

The countywide licensing register of 1903 states that the Star was in fair consition, clean and apparently sanitary. It was 686 yards from the nearest licensed premises (The Chequers) and had two front doors, two back doord and a side entrance. In 1927 Wootton was valued under the Rating Valuation Act of 1925; every piece of land and building was surveyed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting the Star noted that by then it had become a fully licensed public house; it was a brick and tile premises comprising a club room ("good"), tap room, parlour, living room, cellar and kitchen downstairs with three bedrooms above; outside were a barn and earth closet, stables for two horses, a loose box and coachhouse. the valuer noted that it was an: "Old fashioned place". Trade was 1 barrel and 8 dozen bottles of beer per week, a gallon of spirits per month and a bottle of wine per month. 

There is no record at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service to indicate when the Star closed but it must have been between the end of the Second World War and the mid 1950s as a licensing register for Bedford Petty Sessional Division beginning at that time does not have entries for it.

Astra House December 2007
Astra House December 2007

References:

  • GK150/1: recital of feoffment: 1802;
  • GK150/1: mortgage: 1802;
  • GK150/2: further advance: 1816;
  • GK150/4: conveyance: 1823;
  • GK150/6: conveyance: 1824;
  • GK150/7: conveyance: 1824;
  • GK150/8: conveyance: 1824;
  • GK150/9: conveyance: 1824;
  • GK150/10: conveyance: 1832;
  • Bedfordshire Times: notice of sale by auction of Star: 1855;
  • GK150/11: scaled block plan: 1859;
  • GK150/12: scaled ground plan: 1859;
  • GK150/13: conveyance: 1864;
  • GK161/5: mortgage: 1882;
  • GK161/8: mortgage: 1892;
  • GK3/1b: Newland & Nash printed Trust Deed to secure issue of 50,000 4% Debenture Stock: 1897;
  • Z50/136/19: photograph with William Gilbert and family standing outside: c.1900;
  • PSB9/1: Register of Alehouse Licences, Bedford Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1935;
  • GK297/2: conveyance of public houses etc. of Newland & Nash Limited to Wells & Winch Limited: 1938.

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1851-1855: George Hight (moved to Kempston by 1861);
1864-1894: Thomas Bigg (and carpenter);
1898-1907: William Gilbert;
1907-1909: William Neale;
1909-1940: William Charles Adams;
1945: Jessie Lane, William Adams, Albert Chignell and Alice M Lucas