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The Rose and Crown Public House Girtford

The Rose and Crown March 2010
The Rose and Crown March 2010

The Rose and Crown Public House: 14 London Road, Girtford

There have been two licensed premises called the Red Lion in Girtford. The earlier of these was first mentioned in 1735 [PM2812] when it had already ceased to be an inn. It was a copyhold premises, held of the Manor of Girtford and at that date it was surrendered by John Bishop of Girtford to John Willshire of Sandy, joiner. The former inn was later divided into four tenements. A deed of 1875 includes a map showing the location of the property which proves to be at 7 London Road. Today’s building stands where the outbuildings of the old inn stood, the rest of the building ran directly east.

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for the Rose and Crown [HER 16453] reads: “It is a large brick construction on a plith wall with a tile roof. The building is on a three bay plan with casement dormer windows , the central window has a pointed arched upper. On the ground floor is a sash window to the left hand side of the entrance and to the right hand is a bay window with a hipped roof. There is a pointed dripstone over the front door. On the side elevation is another door which is covered by a porch”.

The first reference to this Rose and Crown is in 1815 when a half share in a public house called the Rose and Crown (“now and for many years in the occupation of  Ann King of Sandy widow”) with a yard and garden comprising two roods, twenty poles and a piece of garden ground of one acre, one rood, eleven poles two furlongs from the public house was conveyed by Francis Nellis of New Bond Street, London, hosier to Ann King for £225 [GK34/2]. Ann immediately mortgaged the house to Samuel Wells of Biggleswade [GK34/3], this mortgage being redeemed in 1844. Wells was the son of Samuel Wells who founded Biggleswade brewery in 1764 and the firm which would become Wells & Company.

In her will [GK34/4] Ann King left her half share in the Rose and Crown to her stepson William. He succeeded Ann as licensee in 1828 and was still licensee in 1847. He died in 1858 and in August that year his furniture and effects were sold at auction. The particulars [GK34/10] are as follows:


1. Copper tea kettle and three iron saucepans
2.  Tin ditto, iron boiler and brass skillet
3. Iron boiler, copper saucepan, fry pan and two tin warmers}
4. Tin coffee pot, bowl, two saucepans and sundries.
5. Wood pail, chamber ditto, iron horse, shovel and two sieves}
6. Round deal table, bellows, brush etc.
7. Six-fold screen and sundries.
8. Potato smasher
9. Corn bin.

Tap Room

10. Fender, Poker, three flat and one Italian irons
11. Pair brass and four iron candlesticks, snuffers and tray
12. Brass bottle jack, mincing knife and iron skewers
13. Square deal table and round ditto
14. Deal dining table and two forms
15. Seven wood bottom chairs
16. Seven pewter dishes
17. Sixteen ditto plates
18. Three quart, nine pint and four half-pint pewter beer mugs and funnel
19. Five pewter liquor measures, funnel and two tankards
20. Three quart, fourteen pint and four half-pint earthen beer mugs
21. Ten Tumblers


22. Table, two stools and one chair
23. Meat screen, bottle rack, ham and pork pot
24. Knives and forks and box
25. Meat safe
26. Sundry earthenware and brown ware
27. Pair copper scales, iron horse and sundry tin ware

Club Room

28. Fender, Tongs, three clothes baskets, line and pegs
29. Wainscot dining table
30. Round table. Rug and seven prints
31. Six wooden bottom chairs
32. Dining board, trussels and three forms
33. Ten pair onion sheets
34. Ditto ditto
35. Ditto ditto
36. Ditto ditto
37. One large ditto.


38. Iron fender
39. Mahogany dining table and cover
40. Round ditto
41. Mahogany card table
42. Six and two [sic] elbow Windsor chairs
43. Barometer and one elbow chair
44. Pier glass and seven prints
45. Two corner cupboards
46. Tea caddy, stuffed bird and chimney ornaments
47. Cocoa matting, rug and ottoman
48. Three japanned waiters, iron horse etc.
49. Thirty-hour clock
50. Sundry earthenware
51. Pair glass decanters, three salts and five other glasses
52. Three volumes Illustrated News
53. Sundry books

Bed Room Number 1

54. Four-post bedstead with chequered furniture
55. Feather bed, bolster and two pillows
56. Two blankets, quilt, paliasse and straw bed
57. Dressing table, glass and suite
58. Mahogany chest drawers
59. Oak linen chest
60. Bedside carpeting, tea caddy and cupboard

Bed Room Number 2

61. Tent bedstead and dimity furniture
62. Bordered feather bed, bolster and two pillows
63. Wool bed, blanket and coverlid
64. Dressing table and mahogany frame swing glass
65. Arm chair with feather cushions, covered with chintz
66. Six black rush bottom chairs
67. Mahogany commode and bedside carpeting
68. Painted wardrobe
69. Three pair sheets and three pair pillow cases
70. Three table cloths and six small towels
71. Sundry item

Yard and Outhouses

72. Twelve four bushel sacks
73. Ditto ditto
74. Ditto ditto
75. Ditto ditto
76. Forty onion bags
77. Ditto ditto and onion seed sheet
78. Horse rug and five wire sieves
79. Four sieves and three riddles
80. Bushel measure, fan and three corn forks
81. Cucumber seed and sack
82. Fifty small cucumber frames
83. Ditto ditto
84.Deal chest
85. Dung fork, sundry tools, line etc.
86. Four pins and ball
87. Chaff box and knife
88. Two short ladders and cart ladder
89. Iron armed gardener’s cart, with cops &c. complete
90. Ditto ditto ditto
91. Set cart harness
92. Two pair cart chains &c.
93. Sundry harness
94. Pair iron harrows
95. One five beamed ditto
96. Taylor’s iron plough
97. Scuffler
98. Two cart trussels, shovel, fork &c.
99. Two iron bound wood tubs
100. Ash poles and Faggots
101. Fire wood
102. Useful gardener’s black horse
103. Chestnut ditto mare and foal 

The countywide register of licences of 1876 reveals that the Rose and Crown had been bought by its former leaseholder – Wells and Company. In 1898 Wells and Company and all its licensed premises was put up for sale by auction and was purchased by Kent businessman George Winch for his son Edward Bluett Winch. The following year the company name changed to Wells and Winch. The countywide register of licences of 1903 reveals that  the nearest licensed house was 218 yards away, that the state of repair of the Rose and Crown was good and that it had one front and one back door.

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 Rose & Crown [DV1/C29/102] found it still owned by Wells & Winch and occupied by Sydney James Smith who paid rent of £25 per annum, set eight years before.

The brick and tiled detached building comprised a bar, tap room, living room, kitchen, cellar and coal house with three bedrooms and a box room above. Outside stood two w. c.’s and a urinal, a wood and tiled barn, an “old tumbledown” cart shed and stable wit ha loft over, an old wood and tiled two bay cart shed, a two stall stable, a double stall stable ad a wood and thatched pig sty.

Trade was about thirty six gallons of beer and a gallon of spirits per week. Takings were about £2 or £3 per week.

In 1961 Wells and Winch were taken over by Suffolk brewers Greene King. In 1988 alterations at the Rose and Crown were approved [PSBW8/4] and at the time of writing [2010] the public house was closed and undergoing more alterations.

The Rose and Crown under renovation March 2010
The Rose and Crown under renovation March 2010


  • PM2812: deeds to the property formerly the Rose and Crown Inn: 1735-1875;
  • GK34/1-2: agreements: 1815;
  • GK34/3: conveyance: 1815;
  • GK34/4: mortgage: 1815;
  • GK34/4: will of Ann King: 1821;
  • CLP13: Register of Alehouse Licenses: 1822-1828;
  • Gk344/10: auctioneer’s bill of sale: 1858;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • GK1/36: sale catalogue of Wells & Company and their licensed premises: 1898;
  • Z1039/34/2a: conveyance of Wells & Company to George Winch as Wells & Winch: 1899;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • Z50/99/68 and X758/1/11/142: photograph of carrot bunchers at the rear of the Rose & Crown: c. 1910;
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  • X758/1/11/139: photograph: c. 1970.  

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

Before 1815-1827: Ann King;
1828-1847: William King;
1864-1888: Joseph Adams;
1888-1903: Henry Clemons Usher;
1903-1911: Henry Bywaters;
1911-1920: Thomas Spencer;
1924-1928: Sidney James Smith;
1931-1936: Charles Sherlock;
1940-1956: Charles Edward Butterfield;
1956: Albert Harold Clark;
1956-1960: Edwin Arthur Walton;
1960-1965: Percy John Siebert;
1965-1974: Leonard George Ball;
1974-1980: Peter Ivan Hemmings;
1980-1983: Keith Leslie Beddau;
1983-1992: David John Hall;
1992-1995: Stephen Roy Goodyear