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The Fox and Crown Public House Potton

The Fox & Crown Public House: Biggleswade Road, Potton

The Fox and Crown was one of Potton’s longer established public houses. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that it had then been lisensed for over a century.

In 1789 Thomas Wagstaff of Potton, a carpenter, devised the Fox and Crown in his will equally to his two sons William and Jarman. The last name may actually be Germain as this seems to have been a family name [ABP/W1789/10]. William made his will two years later and devised his half of the business to his brother Thomas [ABP/W1791/6].

For such a well established public house we known very little about it. We know, from census returns, that it was at the north end of Biggleswade Road, the 1851 census goes from a house in Blackbird Street to German Wagstaff and his family in Biggleswade Road, so it suggests that the Fox and Crown was close to the junction of the two roads. The census states that Wagstaff, born in Potton, was then 51 and was not only a victualler but a tailor, too. His 50 year old wife Sarah had been born in Radwell [Hertfordshire] and all their children, Elizabeth aged 21, Thomas aged 13, Emma aged 11, John aged 8 and Michael aged 4 had been born in Potton. Sarah and Elizabeth have no occupation in the census, presumably they helped to run the pub. The other person living at the address was journeyman tailor Thomas Duncombe, aged 51, from London.

The annual licensing meeting of the Biggleswade Petty Sessions in August 1881 noted that the house had been pulled down and cottages built on the site.

References:

  • ABP/W1789/10: will of Thomas Wagstaff: 1789;
  • ABP/W1791/6: will of William Wagstaff: 1791;
  • CLP13: register of alehouse licenses: 1822-1828.
  • P64/5/3/418: beer provided to church bell ringers: 1842-1843;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licenses - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1877-1881.

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1822-1824: John Parker;
1825-1881: Germain Wagstaff;
Public House closed between August 1880 and August 1881