Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Blunham > The White Horse Public House Blunham

The White Horse Public House Blunham


site of White Horse
modern houses built on the site of the White Horse, photographed in March 2007

The White Horse Public House: 1 Park Lane, Blunham

The first mention of this public house in any document at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in 1767 when John Ravens was admitted tenant of a cottage and land. At this date the cottage and land were copyhold of the Manor of Blunham. Ravens' daughters, Elizabeth Palmer and Mary Eyre (also known as Eyres, Ayre and Ayres) became tenants following their father's death and Elizabeth sold her share to Mary in 1794. Mary eventually sold the cottage (now two cottages) and a newly built cottage to Isaac Pendred in 1805, he selling them to John Dale in 1811.

The next mention of the property comes with its sale by Mary Peters, executrix of Sarah Sowle (who had inherited it from her aunt, the widow of John Dale), to Thomas Strickland, the Potton brewer in 1836 who held it until his death in 1873, after which a Chancery suit regarding the administration of his estate led to sale of this and other properties to Alfred Richardson, the Biggleswade brewer. These deeds make it clear that the later public house was the cottage built by Mary Ayres which, presumably, became a beerhouse following its purchase by Thomas Strickland although it is not recorded as such until its sale in 1874.

Alfred Richardson sold the public house to William Pritzler Newland and Susan Nash, who ran the brewery firm of Newland & Nash of Bedford, in 1894. In 1934, considerably after the 1925 act which abolished copyhold land, the public house was finally enfranchised, i.e. made freehold.

In 1922 Newland & Nash was bought out by Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch, though the property was not officially conveyed until 1938. Wells & Winch, in turn, merged with Suffolk brewers Greene King in 1961, taking on the Greene King name in 1963. At around this date a new White Horse was built, replacing the old building. This new public house ceased trading in 1986. The sites of both public houses are now modern housing.

In 1927 the beerhouse was valued under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act; the valuer found a brick and roughcast and slate building with a tap room, private sitting room, kitchen and scullery and cellar downstairs and three bedrooms above; outside were a one horse stable, cart lodge, hovel, pig stye and garden. Trade consisted of 1¾ barrels of beer per week along with six dozen bottles of beer. Water was laid on to the scullery.


  • GK113/12: abstracted admission: 1767;
  • GK113/12: abstracted admission: 1785;
  • GK113/12: abstracted sale of a share: 1794;
  • GK113/12: abstracted surrender: 1801;
  • GK113/12: abstracted mortgage: 1801, redeemed 1811;
  • GK113/12: abstracted sale: 1805;
  • GK113/12: abstracted sale: 1811;
  • GK113/1: renouncement of executorship of will of Sarah Sowle: 1836;
  • GK113/2: affidavit regarding the children of Sarah Sowle: 1836;
  • GK113/3: sale: 1836;
  • GK113/7: admission: 1837;
  • GK113/8-9: mortgage: 1840;
  • GK113/10: discharge of mortgage: 1863;
  • GK113/11: new mortgage: 1863;
  • X501/12 and GK113/14: sale by executors: 1874;
  • X501/12: provisional deed of charge of a number of public houses: 1877;
  • GK113/13: discharge of mortgage: 1878;
  • GK3/3: schedule of deeds of properties of Wells & Winch including White Horse: 1879-1897;
  • GK113/16: mortgage: 1880;
  • GK118/17: recital of further mortgage: 1881;
  • GK118/17: recital of deaths of William Thomas Chapman (1886), Henry Raynes (1888) and Simeon Brown (1893) and sale by representatives of mortgages and Alfred Richardson to William Pritzler Newland and Susan Nash: 1894;
  • GK113/19: mortgage: 1894 (redeemed 1897);
  • GK3/1a: conveyance: 1897;
  • GK3/1b: trust deed to secure debenture stock for Newland & Nash Limited listing all properties: 1897;
  • GK113/23: enfranchisement of White Horse and one acre of land: 1936;
  • GK297/3: conveyed with other properties from Newland & Nash Limited to Wells & Winch Limited: 1938;
  • PCBlunham9/17: transfer of licence: 1984;
  • PCBlunham9/23: note that public house ceased trading on 11 Sep: 1986
  • PCBlunham18/26: application with plans to turn public house into a private dwelling: 1987

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: George Goodship;
1879-1882: William Corman;
1882-1891: James Russell;
1891-1908: Stephen Russell;
1908-1914: Caleb Prout
1927: W.Hawkins;
1957-1961: Herbert John Harding;
1961: Alec William Hughes Taylor;
1961-1965: Donald Stephenson;
1965: Anthony John Dennis;
1965-1966: John Robert Dennis;
1966-1968: Albert Tomlinson;
1968-1970: Hugh Shaw Baird;
1970: Thomas Davies;
1980-1984: Nigel Charles Gudgion;
1984-1986: Roy Thomas Walsh
Public house closed 11th September 1986.