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The Red Lion Alehouse Cardington

Pleasant Place Christmas Eve 2010
Pleasant Place Christmas Eve 2010

The Red Lion Alehouse: Pleasant Place, Bedford Road, Cardington [formerly the Greyhound]

This beerhouse is known from two stray references shown below dating from 1692 to 1700 and from its inclusion in a survey of 1782. In 1692 a mortgage was taken out by owner Giles Tayler on an alehouse called the Greyhound [Z8/3]. In 1700 the Red Lion, formerly the Greyhound was conveyed by Giles Tayler of Cardington, blacksmith and his son, Henry and their mortgagee John Howard to Henry

We are fortunate that three surveys of the parish of Cardington from the late 18th century survive. The first of these was undertaken in 1782 by James Lilburne. He was the parish schoolmaster and later agent for Samuel Whitbread, who owned large estates in the parish and also the sole Enclosure Commissioner for the parish. He produced a list of all the inhabitants of the parish arranged by house and hamlet [P38/28/1/1]. This was published, with extensive analysis by County Archaeologist David Baker in 1973 as Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume 52.

Since publication a second list has been found [P38/28/1/2]. It carries revisions up to the year 1789. Sadly neither of these surveys includes a map. Finally, in 1794 Lilburne produced another survey [W2/6/1-3] and this one had a map with a key showing where each house was. One can use this to plot the houses of the previous surveys and this work was carried out by John Wood of Bedfordshire County Council’s Conservation Section in October 1982 [CRT130Cardington29].

In 1782 the alehouse was occupied by Thomas Wilson, a carpenter, born at Cardington. He died on 9th March that year, aged 55. His wife was Elizabeth, née Swepson who had been born in Bedford. She died at Potton on 4th April 1788 and was buried there. She moved to Potton in October 1782. A Mrs. Smith from Barton moved in on 10th October 1782 along with her daughter Francis, who married a Mr. Hampson of Luton on 13th July 1786. Mr. House and Miss Newton also lived at the property. Mrs. Smith moved to Offley in Hertfordshire on 10th October 1788 and on December 3rd Henry Sharratt and his wife Elizabeth moved in. The entry notes: “This House now diverted & repaired 1782 For a genteel Family” [P38/28/1/2]. This clearly gives us the date at which the Red Lion closed. By 1794 the occupier was Edward Augustus, butcher [W2/6/1-3].

Today the property is known as Pleasant Place. The building was listed by the former Department of Environment in May 1984 and was judged to have 17th century origins along with 18th and mid 19th century work. Thus the old Greyhound of Giles Tayler seems to have survived the "diversion and repair" of 1782.


  • Z8/3: mortgage: 1692;
  • Z8/4: Lease for a year (first document in a conveyance by lease and release) of Red Lion, formerly Greyhound, from Giles Tayler of Cardington, blacksmith with his son and heir, Henry and his mortgagee John Howard to Henry Whitbread: 1700;
  • P38/28/1/2: Survey of Cardington: 1782-1789;
  • W2/6/1-3: Survey of Cardington: 1794.

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

1692-1700: Giles Tayler;
1782: Thomas Wilson, carpenter
Alehouse closed 1782.