Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Aspley Guise > The Maypole Beerhouse Aspley Guise

The Maypole Beerhouse Aspley Guise

Maypole about 1925
This photograph of the Maypole was taken about 1925 by Charles Wells Limited, the building and the adjoining premises are still standing, at the bottom of Aspley Hill [WL800/3]

The Maypole Beerhouse: Aspley Hill, Aspley Guise (now Woburn Sands)

The boundary between the parishes of Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands, hence the county boundary between Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire has changed over the years. The building is now [2006] a shop selling flooring and carpeting and is in Buckinghamshire but the beerhouse was, throughout its existence, always in Bedfordshire, the boundary changing only in 1965. The building lies at the bottom of Aspley Hill on the right hand side and had, in the early twentieth century a local reputation for roughness, the "Maypole Yard" being a local byword for a place of very ill-repute! 

The beerhouse was conveyed on 4 Jan 1872, along with other properties, by William Goodman of Eversholt, yeoman to Charles Wells of Bedford, common brewer and it was then described as a messuage used as a beerhouse and called by the sign of the Maypole erected by Henry Fowler and John Charles Fowler [Woburn brewers] on the site of two cottages or tenements situate and being at Woburn Sands in the Parish of Aspley Guise formerly in occupation of James Collins and then of John Scott. The two cottages had been bought by the Fowlers in 1867 from Joseph Cook and they presumably set about demolishing and building the new beerhouse soon after the land was transferred.

In 1927 this part of Bedfordshire was valued under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and property was inspected to determine the rates to be paid on it. Valuers found that it contained a tap room, beer room and smoke room (all described as "good") together with a jug and bottle department, kitchen and scullery downstairs, with a cellar beneath. Upstairs were three bedrooms and WC. Outside were a coachhouse and stable (both described as "very poor"), WC and barn. Mains water and drains were provided as was gas. The beerhouse sold a barrel a week on average. Rent was £25 per annum. By that stage, the beerhouse had less than two more years of trade left, being closed and sold, on 9 Jan 1929, by Charles Wells Limited to Herbert Latchford of Tilsworth, a retired furniture dealer, for £400.

former Maypole in February 2006
The former Maypole in February 2006

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list ; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

c.1867-1881: John Scott;
1881-1883: Ebenezer Hankin;
1883-1889: John Clark;
1889: Joseph Elice Chandler;
1889-1890: George Kilsby;
1890-1895: George Webb;
1895-1899: George Woodhams;
1899-1918: John Williams;
1918-1921: Madeline Williams;
1921-1926: John Ernest Chinn;
1926-1927: Edward Cornelius Chandler;
1927-1928: Edward Thomas Smith;
1928: Lt.Col.Talbot Jarvis;
Beerhouse closed 29 Dec 1928

List of Sources at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service:

  • WL1000/2/WS/1/1: nursery ground sold by Richard How the elder to William Nickols: 1798;
  • WL1000/2/WS/1/2: nursery ground (minus that part with a house newly built on it) on it sold by William Nickols to William Perciful: 1806;
  • WL1000/1/WS/1/4: memorandum regarding sinking of a well: 1812;
  • WL1000/2/WS/1/7: nursery ground with house on it sold by William Perciful to Elizabeth and John Readman: 1829;
  • WL1000/2/WS/1/8: two cottages replacing one destroyed by fire and nursery ground sold by William Perciful to Edward, John and Robert Heighington: 1829;
  • WL1000/2/WS/1/10: two cottages sold by Edward and John Heighington to Joseph Cook: 1842;
  • WL1000/2/WS/1/11: two cottages sold by Joseph Cook to Henry and John Charles Fowler of Woburn, brewers: 1867;
  • PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
  • X395/55: abstract of deeds, researched by Arthur W.Parker: 1876-1948;
  • WL1000/10/1/1: sold at auction with other properties of James Fowler of Woburn, brewer: 1881;
  • WL800/3: photograph: c.1925;
  • PSW3/10: expiration of licence: Dec 1928.