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The Golden Lion Public House Goldington

The Golden Lion in 1983 [WL722/42]
The Golden Lion in 1983 [WL722/42]

The Golden Lion Beerhouse: 498 Goldington Road [Charles Wells]

The countywide licensing register, not always known for accuracy in these matters, states that the Golden Lion Beerhouse was first licensed in 1831. Deeds [WL1000/1/GOLD/1] begin the story of the property in 1809 when a number of cottages in Goldington were owned by Joseph Barker who ordered that after his death the property should pass to trustees who were to invest rents for the benefit of his widow Elizabeth, and, after her death his real estate was to be devised to a four female relatives [WL1000/1/GOLD/1/1]. Joseph Barker died in 1834 and Elizabeth in 1846.

Two of the women inheriting part of a cottage were Judith Pennyfather and Sophia Thompson who, in 1848, conveyed their half share of the cottage to James Flood of Goldington, wheelwright. [WL1000/1/GOLD/1/2]. The third woman to whom property was devised was Susannah Fisher. She had the other half of the cottage as she had originally had a sister, also left a share of the property, but who had died hitherto.

It seems likely that Susannah Fisher married James Bennett of Goldington, carpenter, because in his will of 1858 [WL1000/1/GOLD/1/6] Bennett devised a half share of the cottage, as well as a beerhouse and adjoining cottage, which were likely also formerly property of Joseph Barker, to trustees but stated that if his son-in-law James Flood, who occupied the beerhouse, paid £70 he should stand possessed of the beerhouse and its adjoining cottage and the half of the other cottage. Flood did buy the property but borrowed from Bedford brewer James Allen Piggot to do so [WL1000/1/GOLD/1/6].

In 1876 Joseph Allen Piggot transferred the mortgage to Charles Wells, who had bought Piggot’s business [WL1000/1/GOLD/1/7]. Flood redeemed the mortgage in 1882. The Golden Lion was described as a beerhouse with adjoining cottage, the cottage being built partly over a gateway used in common with occupiers of adjoining premises, which had been erected by James Bennett and was occupied by him, then by him and Henry Buck, then by James Flood and Samuel Marshall. It was bounded to the north by the cottage of which half was bought by Flood in 1848, south by the turnpike from Bedford to Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire], west by property of Samuel Reynolds (i.e. the Crown Beerhouse) and east by other properties of James Bennett [WL1000/1/GOLD/1/6].

In 1879 James Flood agreed to sell the beerhouse to Charles Wells for £300 [WL1000/1/GOLD/1/8]. Flood would remain as tenant for at least another twenty years.In 1891 the beerhouse still had no sign. It seems to have been known as the Red Lion, as that is the name used in the alehouse licensing register which runs from 1903 [PSB9/1], but the name is crossed out and Golden Lion substituted.

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 Golden Lion [DV1/C292/17] found it still owned by Charles Wells. The rent, set 23 years previously, was £10 per annum.

The valuer noted that the brick and slate building contained a tap room (“fair”), a ground level cellar, a lounge, a kitchen and a scullery. There were two bedrooms upstairs. Electric light was laid on and the place was: “Very clean and well-kept” - in contrast to the Crown a few doors to the west. Outside stood a brick and slate coal barn

Trade was about 30 gallons and about two dozen bottles of beer per week. Minerals sales were “poor”. About half a pound of tobacco was sold per week. At some point the beerhouse was converted into a fully-licensed public house. This often took place in the early 1950s.

The Golden Lion was demolished and rebuilt in 1983 [WL722/42]. It was built in eight months, cost £130,000, had two bars and 1,300 square feet of space [WL722/42]. The new pub was demolished in 2005. At the time of writing [2017] Frankie and Bennie’s restaurant stands on the site.


  • WL1000/1/GOLD/1/1: family settlement: 1809;
  • WL1000/1/GOLD/1/2: conveyance of half the cottage: 1848;
  • SL1/271 and WL1000/1/GOLD/1/6: will of  James Bennett: 1858;
  • WL1000/1/GOLD/1/6: purchase deed and mortgage: 1864;
  • WL1000/1/GOLD/1/7: transfer of mortgage: 1876;
  • WL1000/1/GOLD/1/8: agreement for sale: 1879;
  • PSB9/1: register of alehouse licenses: 1905-1935;
  • SL1/438: tithe redemption certificate: 1909;
  • PSB9/2: register of alehouse licenses: c.1955-1995;
  • WL722/42: article on Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot on rebuilding and re-opening: 1983;
  • WL722/77: refit mentioned in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1994;
  • WL722/89: mentioned as popular music venue in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1997.

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

1858-1899: James Flood, wheelwright;
1903-1904: Frederick William Tweed;
1904-1931: William Charles Baldwin;
1931: Jane Joy Baldwin;
1931-1936: Stanley George Williamson;
1940-1970: Claude Endersby;
1970-1977: F W Willett;
1977-1996: John Henry Browne;
1996: Ian Robert Rodney and Mark Remmington;
1996: John Eric Shields