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The Jolly Plough Boys Beerhouse Chawston

RDBP1-315 Jolly Plough Boys elevation 1915
Elevation of Jolly Plough Boys in 1915 [RDBP1/315]

The Jolly Plough Boys Beerhouse: Colesden Road, Chawston 

The first known reference to this beerhouse in any document in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in 1885 when it was for sale by auction, along with the Beehive Beerhouse in Colesden. It is described as a public house (which may be a misunderstanding as it is definitely described as a beerhouse in the licensing register beginning in 1903 and does not appear in any directory, a feature of beerhouses rather than public houses). The premises is described as being of brick, stud and thatch and containing a tap room, cellar, sitting room, dairy, small room and three bedrooms; it also had a stud and thatch wash house, board, stud and thatch pig stye, large board and tile corn barn, board and tile three bay cart hovel with onion loft over, board and tile stable and cart house with a loft over and 2acres and 5 perches of "very rich and productive garden land" in the rear.

Directories list a Cambridgeshire Hunter public house in the village in 1861, The licensee of which was a Henry Hill. By the time of the 1864 directory Henry Hill is listed simply as a beer retailer. Licensee of the Jolly Plough Boys was noted as Henry Hill in 1885 and so it is possible that the former Cambridgeshire Hunter public house was down graded to a beerhouse sometime between 1861 and 1864, changing its name to the Jolly Plough Boys in the process. Other, perhaps more likely, explanations might be that these were two separate H. Hills or that the Cambridgeshire Hunter closed and Hill moved to a new or existing beerhouse, the Jolly Plough Boys.

The premises was auctioned again in 1902 along with Darrington's Eagle Brewery at Eaton Socon, the Beehive and three other drinking establishments. It was purchased by Day & Son of St.Neots [Huntingdonshire], brewers. Day & Son were taken over by Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch in 1920.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed as to its rateable value. Chawston was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting the Jolly Plough Boys [DV1/C197] found a detached brick and slate building with a tap room ("good"), parlour ("fair"), kitchen, cellar and three bedrooms; outside was a washhouse. Trade was small and as the valuer noted "position not good", the beerhouse sold about 18 to 20 gallons of beer per week.

At some point after 1940 the beerhouse closed and is now a private residence called North View.


  • WG2466: sale catalogue: 1885;
  • WG2594: sale catalogue: 1902;
  • PSB9/1: register of licences: c.1903-1932;
  • RDBP1/315: building plans: 1915.

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

1885: H.Hill;
1890: George Mark;
1894-1904: James Bartram;
1904: George Charlich;
1904-1905: James Austin;
1905-1909: Albert Whitney;
1909-1910: Harry Woodward;
1910-1920: Samuel Stewart;
1920-1940: Nathan Reed