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The Three Horse Shoes Public House Cotton End

The only references to this establishment held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service are in a series of deeds in the Whitbread archive [W]. In 1752 Samuel Coast of Cotton End, blacksmith (son and heir of Samuel Coast of Cotton End, dairyman) mortgaged a cottage in Cotton End known as the Three Horse Shoes in the occupation of Matthew Howkins immediately south of the “common green” for £30 to William Farrer of Haynes [W1042]. The mortgage was assigned to Ann Hensman, widow in 1754 [W1043].

In a smart move Coast later married Ann Hensman and in 1757 mortgaged the Three Horse Shoes to John Fowler of Oakley for £30 [W1048]. This mortgage was later assigned by AnnCoast, now a widow, and John Fowler to Jeremy Fish Palmer of Bedford in 1769 [W1050]. This was paid off in 1773.

The final deed in the series was a conveyance in 1781 from John Hensman of Cheshunt [Hertfordshire], carter and dealer and eldest son of AnnCoast to Samuel Whitbread for £36 [W1051-1052]. By this date the cottage was noted as formerly having been a public house “but since converted into two dwelling houses” occupied by William Cook and William Berwick.


  • W1042: mortgage of the Three Horseshoes: 1752;
  • W1043: assignment of mortgage: 1754;
  • W1048: mortgage: 1757;
  • W1050: assignment of mortgage: 1769;
  • W1051-1052: conveyance of a cottage: 1781.

List of Licensees:

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

1752-1769: Matthew Howkins.