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The Compasses Public House Clophill

WB-Flow-4-5-Clo-C-1 The Compasses in the 1960s
The Compasses in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Clo/C1]

The Compasses Public House [formerly the Red Cow]: 77 High Street, Clophill

The first reference to this public house in any document in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service comes in a conveyance of 1828 which recites a conveyance of 1816 when the Red Cow was bought by Joseph Morris from John Burrows and then two years later when a gang of poachers tried at the Quarter Sessions is noted as having met there before trespassing in Cainhoe Park. It stayed in Morris ownership until Morris & Company (Ampthill) limited was sold to Luton brewers J.W.Green Limited in 1927. Green merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and the new company took the Flowers name; in 1962 Flowers was taken over by Whitbread. The public house closed in 1992 and is now a private house.

In 1927 the Compasses was valued for rates under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act - the valuer found a brick and slate detached house with a "good draw-up, nice appearance" with a living room ("very large …could be used for dances"), taproom ("fair"), bar ("small") and kitchen ("fair") downstairs and five bedrooms above, there was also a cellar ("down 8 steps") and , outside, an earth closet, washhouse and urinal as wel las standing for three horses. He noted that the brewers called once a week and that trade ("saw book") consisted of one barrel of beer and a quarter of a gallon of spirits per week along with four dozen bottles - takings were "never reckoned up". The licensee also occupied an adjoining farm consisting of a calf pen, tie up for three cows (an old slaughter house), a loose box (an old butcher's shop), a mangel hovel (formerly a tying pen), a byre for three cows, a toolshed and another mangel hovel (formerly a bakehouse) as well as three pigsties; in addition there were 6.255 acres of land in three fields.

The former Compasses Public House February 2010
The former Compasses Public House February 2010

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

1822-1828: James Horn;
1839-1850: William Maddams;
1851-1854: John Gudgin;
1864-1869: Mrs Mary Gudgin;
1877-1906: James Liles Quenby;
1906-1908: John Fadden;
1908-1911: Amos Roberts;
1911-1912: John George Lynch;
1912-1935: Frederick Charles Butler;
1935: Ellen Winifred Butler;
1935-1944: David Sheppard;
1944-1954: Francis William Jeffcoate;
1954-1955: Edward George Atwell;
1955-1975: Clara May Atwell (later Eaton);
1975-1978: Alfred Harry Kerridge;
1978-1982: Rodney Michael Hewitt;
1982-1989: William John Charles Dennis Pearson;
1989-1992: Glyndwr John Gauntlett and Christine Patricia Moore
public house closed 1992


  • X21/629: recited conveyance of Red Cow. now Compasses from John Burrows and others to Joseph Morris: 1816;
  • QSR1820/276 and 278: account of a gang meeting at the inn before poaching with guns in Cainhoe Park: 1820;
  • QSM27 p.107: three of the gang of poachers noted above sentenced to transportation: 1821;
  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822 - 1828;
  • Z1048/1: listed in inventory of John and Joseph Morris, Ampthill brewers: 1827;
  • X21/629: one of many properties of which half was conveyed by Joseph Morris to Henry Ashley, Mary Ann Morris and Jane Morris: 1828;
  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • WB/M4/1/VP2: mortgage from John Thomas Green of Woburn, solicitor to Susanna Morris, Mary Jane Morris and Sophia Morris of Ampthill of brewery and licensed properties of what would later become Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: 1882;
  •  CCE5304/1: conveyed with other properties to Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited on formation of limited company: 1907;
  • WB/M4/1/VP8: abstract of title of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited to brewery and licensed premises: 1926;
  • WB/M4/2/1: List of properties of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: c.1926;
  • WB/M4/2/2: particulars of licensed properties of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: 1926;
  • CCE5304/3: conveyed, with other property from Morris & Company (Ampthill) limited to J.W.Green Limited: 1926;
  • DV1/C47: rating valuation: 1927;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: 1936-1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of licensed properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1936;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis ledger of J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: 1936-1947;*
  • WB/Green4/2/9: Schedule of Deeds and Documents regarding properties of J.W.Green Limited: c.1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of deeds to J.W.Green Limited licensed premises: c.1949;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Clo/C1: photograph: 1950s;
  • PCClophill9/4: changes of licensee: 1954-1955
  • WB/Green4/2/16: letter from J.W.Green to solicitors Lawrance, Messer & Company asking which licensed properties had been in continuous occupation: 24 Jul 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: Trust Deed of J.W.Green Limited with list of licensed premises: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: Various loose schedules of deeds and documents: c.1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Clo/C2-3: photographs: 1960s;
  • PCClophill9/11: transfers of licence: 1975-1978.