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The Star Public House Chalton

 The Star February 2016
The Star February 2016

The Star has been a feature of life in Chalton for a very long time. The first countywide licensing register, in 1822, lists the public house [CLP13]. In 1842 someone stole a scythe from Joseph Medcraft. About a month later a man named Thomas Gobby tried to sell a scythe to other patrons at the Star [QSR1842/4/5/15]. He was duly convicted of theft and spent six weeks doing hard labour in Bedford Gaol.

Later that year the licensee of the Star, John Washington, had three lodgers: William Brandom had one room and another was shared by John Scrivener and David Poulton. One Saturday morning Washington, Scrivener and Brandom all set off at 4 am to work on the harvest. That evening Brandom and Scrivener found that they had had clothing stolen. The police caught up with David Poulton at South Mimms in Hertfordshire and he was arrested wearing some of the stolen clothes! [QSR1842/4/5/29].

The Bedford Gaol register [QGV10/2] tells us that Poulton was then eighteen years of age. He was 5 feet 3 inches in height with brown hair and grey eyes. He had been born in Dunstable. He was duly sentenced to six months' hard labour and, whilst inside, his behaviour was "orderly". He did not, however, learn his lesson. In 1846 he was again imprisoned, this time made to walk the wheel, milling corn, for three months for being a "rogue and vagabond" [QGV11/2].

By the time of the countywide licensing register of 1876 the Star was owned by Richard Medcraft of Toddington. In 1877 Ann Medcraft, Joseph Smith and William Seamons, presumably after Richard's death, conveyed the Star to William Anstee [HN7/1/CHA1]. By at least 1873 [Z210/81] Medcraft had leased the Star to Dunstable brewer Benjamin Bennett.

In 1921 the trustees of the estate of J H Anstee put that estate up for sale by auction. The particulars [HN7/1/CHA1] describe the Star as "in a very advantageous position on the main road and motor bus route between Toddington and Luton" and as a "substantially built brick and tiled house" which contained a tap room, a bar, a sitting room, two cellars, a scullery, a store room and four bedrooms. There was also an "adjoining and communicating" cottage comprising a sitting room, a scullery and two bedrooms. This seems to have been taken into the public house a few years later [see below] when the number of bedrooms has risen to five. In front o the property, near the road, were farm buildings comprising: a cart lodge, a pigsty, four loose boxes, a barn and coal place, a stable for four horses and a stock yard. There were also "two productive vegetable gardens", an orchard and paddock totalling just over two acres. The lease to Benjamin Bennett expired at 29th September that year and was for £70 per annum

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. The valuer visiting the Star [DV1/C127/29] found it was, unusually, owned and occupied by Charles Henry Tayler rather than being tied to a brewery, so he must have brought it at auction in 1921 and ended the elase to Benjamin bennett. The building sat in 0.885 of an acre. Downstairs accommodation comprised a bar, a "fairly good" smoke room, a kitchen, a scullery and a pantry. Upstairs were five bedrooms. A timber and corrugated iron stable and cart shed stood outside along with a timber and thatched barn and wood shed. In the adjoining field was a corrugated iron tea hut, match-boarded inside and measuring nine yards by five yards. It had "hardly any use except for children in wet weather". Trade consisted of 1 and one half barrels of beer per week and forty gallons of spirits per annum.

By 1956 the Star was in the ownership of London brewers Mann, Crossman and Paulin and it seems likely that they brought it from Ellen Tayler in 1947. In 1958 the brewers merged with Watney, Combe and Reid Limited to form Watney Mann, which was taken over by Grand Metropolitan in 1972. Att he time of writing [2016] the Star is owned by Chef and Brewer, which was sold by Grand Metropolitan by Scottish & Newcastle in 1993 and sold again, in 2003, to Spirit Group, which merged with Punch Taverns in 2005, and demerged in 2011. Chef and Brewer was acquired by Suffolk brewers Greene King in 2015


  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • QSR1842/4/5/15: Star used to fence stolen property: 1842;
  • QSR1842/4/5/29: clothing stolen from lodgers at the Star: 1842;
  • QSR1865/3/5/5-6: landlord's son giving evidence in a case unrelated to the Star: 1865;
  • PSLB4/1: Leighton Buzzard petty sessional division licensing register: c.1860s-1949;
  • PSW3/1: Woburn petty sessional division licensing register: 1868-1949
  • Z210/81: leasehold property listed in draft agreement: 1873;
  • HN7/1/CHA1: sale particulars: 1921;
  • WW2/AR/CO/2/2: seven bombs fell at the rear of the Star: 1940;
  • Z889/2/14: Mann Crossman and Paulin file on refurbishing the inn sign, including photographs: 1956-1962;
  • PSLB4/4: Leighton Buzzard petty sessional division licensing register: 1967-1992;
  • Hi/PH12/16/1: photograph of the road outside the Star: 1982

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

1822-1827: Elizabeth Briden;
1828: Samuel Briden;
1842-1876: John Washington;
1885-1891: Joseph Washington;
1894-1898: Emanuel Fletcher and son;
1903-1907: James Harris
1907-1913: Charlotte Harris
1913-1921: Herbert Edward Swaffield
1921-1940: Charles Henry Tayler
1940-1947: Ellen Tayler
1949-1954: Ellen Elizabeth Brett;
1954-1960: Frederick James Thompson;
1960: Kenneth Thompson Smith;
1980: Brian Dennis Treadaway;
1986-1988: Brian Dennis Treadaway and Juan Vidal;
1988-1989: Juan Vidal;
1989: Norman Milton and Brian Johnson;
1989-1990: Richard Carr and Brian Richard Johnson;
1990: Simon Broadbridge and Richard Bodek.