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Red Lion Public House

The Red Lion Public House: Station Road, Potton

The Red Lion at potato harvest about 1900 [Z50/91/39b]
The Red Lion at potato harvest about 1900 [Z50/91/39b]

In 1813 Christian Franklyn made her will and devised all her property to her sons [WL1000/1/POTT1/1], she died in 1815. In 1842 the sons sold the land, including two acres, one rood south of the turnpike road leading to Sandy to Thomas Strickland [WL1000/1/Potton/1/6]. Strickland mortgaged the property in 1845 [WL1000/1/Potton/1/7]. This may have been to recoup the expenses of building the Red Lion which, the mortgage tells us was “lately built”; the countywide licensing register of 1876 tells us that the pub was first licensed in 1843.

In 1879 Thomas Strickland’s trustees (he was now dead) conveyed the site of Red Lion to Alfred Richardson [WL1000/1/POTT1/10]. The deed tells us that the Red Lion had been burned down so today’s building must date to about this time. Richardson had just moved to Potton from Biggleswade and was a brewer, with a brewery in King Street. The final document in the packet is an abstract of Richardson’s title to the Red Lion and is dated 1893, when he was in the process of selling his business. One therefore assumes that it was at this date that Bedford brewer Charles Wells bought the pub because the deed packet is part of their archive.

The countywide licensing register of 1903 confirms that the Red Lion was owned by Charles Wells. The property was in good repair and was 140 yards from the nearest licensed premises (The Railway beerhouse). It had two front and two back doors.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. Potton, like much of the county, was assessed in 1927. the valuer visiting the Red Lion [DV1/C9/44] found that it contained a bar, a parlour, a tearoom and a kitchen downstairs with four bedrooms above - no cellar, however. Outside was a dilapidated wood barn, a two stall two bay hovel with a loft over and a derelict barn. It sold one 18 gallon barrel of mild per week and a nine gallon barrel of bitter. It had two acres of market gardening land at the rear which the tenant also occupied.

By 2006 Charles Wells had ceased to own the premises which became a free house. At the time of writing [2013] the Red Lion is up for sale.

The Red Lion March 2007
The Red Lion March 2007

References:

  • WL1000/1/POTT/1/1: copy will: 1813;
  • WL1000/1/POTT/1/6: conveyance of land: 1842;
  • WL1000/1/POTT/1/7: mortgage: 1845;
  • QSR1849/1/5/12/a: alleged thief confronted in the Red Lion: 1848;
  • WL1000/1/POTT/1/8: assignment of mortgage: 1862;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • X501/12: provisional deed of charge: 1877;
  • WL1000/1/POTT/1/9: reconveyance: 1878;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • WL1000/1/POTT/1/10: conveyance: 1879;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • X501/15 and WL1000/1/POTT/1/11: mortgage: 1880;
  • X501/16 and WL1000/1/POTT/1/11: mortgage: 1881;
  • WL1000/1/POTT/1/11: assignment of mortgage: 1889;
  • X501/15 and WL1000/1/POTT/1/11: mortgages redeemed: 1894;
  • X758/2/7/1: photograph of carts lined up outside: c.1900;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • X704/51: Potton and District Slate Club and Benefit Society: c.1909-1909;
  • WL800/4 p.19: photograph: c.1925;
  • WL801/38: negative of above: c.1925;
  • X704/123: Red Lion Thrift Club: 1950s;
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980
  • WL722/26: Pint Pot in-house magazine of Charles Wells with photograph of public house: 1979

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

1854-1864: Samuel Manning;
1869-1878: James Manning (and timber merchant);
1878-1882: Samuel Manning;
1882-1893: Elizabeth Manning;
1893: Amos Glenister;
1893-1896: Walter Thomas Wills;
1896-1898: Helen Wills;
1898-1927: Frank Lawson;
1931: George E Fowler;
1936: John H. Tansley;
1940-1961: John William Askem;
1961-1964: Owen Percy Cousins
1964-1965: James Rayner Wilkin;
1965-1966: Ralph William Winterbottom;
1966-1969: Anthony John Smith;
1969-1978: Stanley Allanson;
1978-1979: John Ernest Gibbs;
1979-1980: David Latham;
1980-1982: John Anthony Murray;
1982-1986: Danny Ronald Michael Florence;
1986-1990: Richard Charles Burley;
1990-1992: Andrew James Mitchell;
1992-1993: Anthony William Thornton;
1993-1995: Ian Trevor Sheppard.