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The Horseshoes Public House Blunham

 The Horseshoes about 1900 [Z1306/19]
The Horseshoes about 1900 [Z1306/19]

The Horseshoes Public House: High Street, Blunham [also known as Old Horseshoes and Three Horseshoes]

This public house was owned by the Lucas family of Wrest Park and the first mention of it in any record held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in 1769 when Marchioness Grey leased it to Thomas Ekines, a carpenter, the previous tenant having been Mary Newmill. The public house was leased by the Bedford brewer Thomas Jarvis in 1880 and the freehold was sold by the Lucas estate in 1907, it as assumed to Jarvis although no document in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service reveals this. Today the public house is owned by Charles Wells and this firm took over Jarvis' business in 1910.

In 1907 at its sale the pub was described as the Old Horse Shoes and containing a sitting room, parlour, bar, tap room, kitchen and scullery, larder, wine and beer cellars downstairs and six bedrooms upstairs with a brick wood shed, coal house and wash house with a garden overlooking the church.

A deed of 1907 of the public house (then called the Old Horse Shoe) is still held by Charles Wells Limited. The public house was still called the Old Horse Shoes when valued under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act in 1927. At that time the tenant had "not been here 12 months" and was selling a little over a barrel of beer a week along with 8 to 10 dozen bottles but "not much spirits". The premises was built of brick and tile with a tap room, kitchen and scullery, bar, bar parlour, dining room, cellar and larder downstairs and six bedrooms above. Outside were a barn, washhouse, garage or coachhouse (two bay with a loft over), wood shed and garden. Water was obtained from a pump.

A small farm was owned and occupied with the public house consisting of 8.225 acres in two fields with a brick and tile stable for three horses, two cow sheds (tying up five cattle), a large barn, another cow shed, two further cow sheds (tying up eight beasts), a store, three bay cart lodge, granary, two hen roosts and a range of three pigsties - the area of buildings was "much too big for the amount of the land".

The Horseshoes remains a Charles Wells pub at the time of writing [March 2007].

The Horseshoes Public house
The Horseshoes in March 2007


  • L1/115: lease of Horse Shoes from Marchioness Grey to Thomas Ekines, carpenter: 1769;
  • HF147/26/3: Claim by the landlady of the Horseshoes that she was entitled to gice fishing rights in the River Great Ouse: 1882;
  • L23/997: sale of Lord Lucas' estates in Blunham including Old Horse Shoes: 1907;
  • X154/2/36: account of money owed by Leeds Smith, solicitors, to J. Gilbert of Three Horseshoes for use of room and refreshment of tenants: 1908;
  • PK1/4/169: auction sale at Old Horse Shoes: 1946;
  • PCBlunham18/5: Correspondence regarding land at The Old Horseshoes: 1972;
  • PCBlunham8/5: Street lighting correspondence regarding the public house: 1972;
  • PCBlunham9/6: Applications for licences: 1972-1983;
  • WL722/7: article on Horseshoes in Charles Wells in-house magazine "Pint Pot": 1973;
  • PCBlunham9/17: transfer of licence: 1985;
  • PB64/7/1: The Horseshoes seen in a village photograph: 1989

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

1769: Mary Newmill;
1769: Thomas Ekines;
1822-1828: John Elliott [Three Horseshoes];
1847: Elizabeth Elliott;
1853-1869: Thomas Elliott;
1869-1885: Thomas Preston Elliott;
1885-1887: Noah King;
1887-1895: Jerome Danes;
1895-1905: William Liles Hayden;
1905-1909: Jesse Gilbert;
1909-1910: Percy May;
1910-1924: Thomas Smith;
1927-1957: Herbert Currant;
1957-1974: Thomas Edwin Maries;
1974-1980: Frederick Howard Matthews;
1980-1983: Noel William Fitzsimmons;
1983-1985: Keith John Deakin;
1985-1996: Lawrence Harold Charteress;
1996-1997: Peter Moffat;
1997-2000: Eric Hoy;
2000-2005: David Armitage