The Two Brewers Beerhouse Potton
The Two Brewers Beerhouse: 20 Chapel Street, Potton
20 Chapel Street August 2013
The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Two Brewers was first licensed in 1838. A record of the site goes back to 1623 when Henry Godfrey of Potton, gentleman, demised the leasehold property to Robert Ball of Potton, yeoman, a house divided into two tenements occupied by Ralph Draper, Richard Emery and Thomas Aynesworth and bounded by the Market Place to the east, Horslow Street to the west (Chapel Street was then regarded simply as the southern portion of Horslow Street), the Adam and Evah Inn to the north and property of Henry Wallis in the occupation of George Searle and others to the south. Clearly the property extended all the way back to the Market Square [X501/22]. The deed adds that the property once belonged to a Peter Mayes who surrendered it to John Burgoyne who then demised it to Robert Godfrey, father of Henry for a period of 4,800 years at a rent of 2/6 per annum as a leasehold property. A property was surrendered if it was copyhold, that is to say, it was part of a manor. People held copyhold properties from the manor and instead of conveying them to someone else had to surrender them to the Lord of the Manor at a manor court and the new owners then had to seek admission from that manor court or a subsequent one. This allowed the manor to claim a fee (or fine) for the privilege.
In 1802 the property was assigned by Potton barber and grocer William Bigg to George Sampson of Hatley Saint George [Cambridgeshire]. It was described as a messuage or shop in the occupation of Richard Richardson, George Croot and Thomas Strickland. It obviously extended back all the way to the Market Square because it was described as being bounded north by property of Charles Edwards, south and west by property of Thomas Strickland and east by the Market Place. It had formerly been described as being bounded west by Horslow Street (Chapel Street was then regarded simply as the southern portion of Horslow Street), east by the Market Place, north by the former Adam and Eve Inn and south by the Sun Inn [X501/22].
In 1833 Susannah Baker assigned the property to Thomas Strickland [X501/22]. Strickland made his will in 1871 and devised all his real estate to his sons-in-law as trustees to sell it and raise money. He died in 1872 [X501/22]. In 1879 the property was duly assigned to Alfred Richardson of Biggleswade, common brewer [X501/22], who later moved to Potton and ran a brewery in King Street.
In 1894 Richardson sold his business and covenanted to surrender the Two Brewers to the unfortunately named John Brown Staines Holden, a brewer from Henlow [GK164/16]. He put his business up for sale by auction in 1899 and the Two Brewers was listed as being in Post Office Street, an alternative name for Chapel Street. The property was described as: “A brick fronted and slated House, and containing Club Room, tap Room, Kitchen, cellar in Basement, and Four good Rooms over; side entrance to Yard with Coal House, W. C. &c. in the occupation of Mr. F. Langley, at £10 per annum. Long Leasehold for residue of about 4,800 years, at the nominal rent of 2s. 6d. per annum”. An annotation in the margin states that the leasehold status was converted to freehold in 1900.
The countywide licensing register of 1903 states that the beerhouse was owned by Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch, presumably they had purchased it in 1899. The property was in need of repair. It was 70 yards from the nearest licensed premises and had one front and one back door. The Two Brewers closed its doors for the last time during the First World War, becoming a private house.
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 most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 20 Chapel Street noted that the property was a “former public house”. It was now owned by William Tear of 4 Sun Street and tenanted by Charles Taylor, who paid rent of twelve shillings per week for a living room, parlour and scullery with four bedrooms upstairs. The valuer commented: “Extra over passage”.
- X501/22: recited demise: 1623;
- X501/22: recital of assignment of cottage: 1802;
- X501/22: recited assignment: 1833;
- X501/22: will of Thomas Strickland: 1871;
- 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;
- HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
- X501/22: assignment: 1879;
- X501/15: mortgaged: 1880;
- X501/16: mortgaged: 1881;
- HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
- HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
- GK164/16 and 18: covenant by Alfred Richardson to surrender Two Brewers to John Brown Staines Holden: 1894;
- X501/15-16: mortgages redeemed: 1894;
- GK1/36: Wells & Company sale catalogue: 1898;
- HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
- PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915.
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1872-1879: Thomas Parkin;
1879-1880: Henry Parkin;
1880-1883: Henry Mountain;
1883-1886: Thomas Charter;
1886-1898: Charles Head;
1898-1899: Eliza Head;
1899-1900: Francis Langley;
1900-1907: Frederick Sambrook;
1907: Thomas Owen;
1907-1908: Morgan Carwell;
1908-1909: George Wright;
1909-1910: Henry Warren;
1910-1914: Martha Warren.