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The Swan Inn Goldington

 The Old Swan by A W Baldwin about 1920 [AD3572-36]
The Old George by A W Baldwin about 1920 [AD3572/36]

The Swan Inn: 405 Goldington Road, 403 Goldington Road from 1925

The Swan was Goldington’s oldest recorded public house. In 1723 Robert Clayton made his will devising four cottages in Goldington to his cousin Helen Hope, widow. On her death one of the cottages (occupied by James Butcher) was to be devised to Robert, the eldest son of his brother Thomas Clayton [X444/1]. Robert Clayton the elder died in 1727. His nephew Robert became a maltster and in 1762 conveyed the cottage, now a public house called the Swan, with an orchard or pightle adjoining, in occupation of Ann Goddard, widow, to Silvester Addington [X444/1].

In his will of 1766 Addington devised all his real estate in Goldington to his brothers Joseph and Peter ad his cousin Samuel Sutton as trustees to lease it to pay off debts, then devise it to Joseph’s son William and his heirs, if William died childless then the estate was to pass to Peter’s son Silvester [X4441].

Silvester Addington eventually inherited the Goldington estate and in his will of 180[6 and devised all his real estate in Goldington to his son William Silvester Addington [X444/1]. Addington mortgaged his estate in 1816 [SL1/198-199]. In 1832 Addington put up the Goldington estate for sale by auction [X290/83, GA2088, GK124/1 and SL1/249]. Much of the estate was purchased by Robert Elliott but not the Swan. In fact, it is unknown who bought the public house but it may have been Bedford brewer Sir William Long or his partner William Pestell because in 1873 it was owned by Long’s grandson Bingham Newland, who sold his (formerly Long’s) firm in that year to Thomas Jarvis. The sale catalogue [GA487] states the the Swan included a smallholding of 2½  acres and farm buildings, the rent being £18 per annum.

Thomas Jarvis’ firm was bought by rival Bedford brewer Charles Wells in 1917. The Swan moved to a new building next door to the old one in 1925, the old pub being renamed Swanleigh Cottage. Plans for the new building [Z1169/8/33/4-7] are dated 1923. 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 Swan commented: “New - I say a white elephant”and, a bit less unkindly, ““Large and very modern”. Wells now asked a rent of £30 per annum including a paddock of half an acre.

The building comprised: a cellar; a jug department; a public bar; a private bar; a tea room and catering area; a billiard room (“no table, unused”); a living room; a kitchen; a scullery and a pantry. Upstairs were: a bathroom with hot and cold running water and WC; two bedrooms; a sitting room and  two boxrooms. Outside stood: an old weather-boarded and tiled barn; an old weather-boarded and thatched barn (“poor”) and an old weather-boarded and tiled three-bay hovel (“not used”).

Trade was 1½ barrels of beer, three dozen pint and six dozen half-pint bottles of beer and half a gallon of spirits per week.

Swanleigh Cottage, next door, was now owned by a man named Gurney and  occupied by W A Downes at ten shillings per week rent. The detached plaster and thatched building comprised a living room, a parlour, two kitchens, a scullery and four bedrooms. Outside was an old plaster and thatch barn and a brick and tiled washhouse. The valuer stated: “Note 2 families live in house”. Sadly the old cottage, which must have dated back to at least 1762, burned down in 1975. Scotts Veterinary Surgery now [2017] stands on the site.

The Swan was later acquired by Aylesbury Brewery Company and then Ind Coope and was renamed the Wayfarer. At the time of writing the building is a Toby Carvery, a chain of restaurants operated by Mitchells and Butlers.

The former Swan Inn June 2017
The former Swan Inn June 2017


  • X444/1: will of Robert Clayton: 1723;
  • X444/1: conveyance of the Swan: 1762;
  • X444/1: will of Silvester Addington: 1766;
  • X444/1: will of Silvester Addington: 1806;
  • SL1/198-199: mortgage: 1816;
  • CLP13: register of alehouse licenses: 1822-1828;
  • PSB1/1: Bedford Petty Sessional Division minutes: 1829-1834;
  • X290/83, GA2088 and SL1/249: sale catalogue: 1832;
  • GA487: sale catalogue: 1873;
  • PSB9/1: register of alehouse licenses: 1903-1935;
  • AD3572/36 pen drawing of the Old Swan: c. 1920;
  • Z1169/8/33/4-7: plans for rebuilding: 1923;
  • WW2/AR/CA/2/5/1: refusal to move ARP alternative control point to the Swan: 1942
  • PSB9/2: register of alehouse licenses: c. 1955-1995;
  • BorBTP/87/2232: plans for 29 bedrooms, conservatory and car park: 1987

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

1794-1818: John Perkins;
1822-1834: James Brazier;
1835-1853: William Joice;
1853-1865: John Hood/Flood
1869-1885: Henry Blackwell;
1891: Thomas Haynes;
1894-1898: George Franklin;
1903-1910: Joseph Giggle;
1910-1911: Vincent Joseph Taylor;
1911-1914: Joseph Ashworth;
1914-1917: Ralph Farrer;
1917-1919: Albert Henry Pearse;
1919-1920: Owen Spice;
1920-1929: John Harry Sheargold;
1929-1957: Gordon Thomas Linger;
1959-1966: Brendan Benedict Campling;
1966-1972: Gerald William Watson Biswell;
1972-1975: Hubert Crowsley and George Henry Hornsey;
1975-1976: Hubert Crowsley, Michael Frank Wright and John Pattison Gaunt;
1976-1977: Richard Rawson Wolstenholme Hancock, Michael Frank Wright and Christopher Joseph Bainbridge;
1977-1988: Alex B Findlay;
1988-1990: John Eddlster;
1990-1991: Robin Lewis;
1991-1993: Susan Sheila Kearney;
1993-1996: William Frank Smallwood