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The Swan Beerhouse Greenfield

Lilac Cottage - 39 Mill Lane February 2011
Lilac Cottage - 39 Mill Lane February 2011

The Swan Beerhouse: 39 Mill Lane, Greenfield

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has very little information on this beerhouse because it was owned by out-county companies. The countywide register of alehouse licences for 1876 states that the house was first licensed in 1854, in 1876 the owner was Hitchin [Hertfordshire] brewer Joseph Lucas. The countywide licensing register of 1891 gives the owner as Allfey and Lovell of Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire]. The countywide licensing register of 1901 notes: "repair bad, sanitary condition bad"; the property had both a front and a back door.

David Lloyd-George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced a pioneering budget in 1909 which, in many ways, paved the way for the later welfare state; for example he introduced old age pensions. To pay for his reforms more money was needed and so it was decided to do a complete survey of all property in the country to make sure that rateable values were up to date. This was a novel idea and the resulting rating valuation survey was known as the Domesday Survey as it was reckoned that there had been nothing so thorough since the Domesday Book of 1086!

This survey reveals that Allfrey and Lovell still owned a property in Mill Lane which was called a cottage and beerhouse, even though the beerhouse had closed in December 1909. The accompanying map shows that this property is the one today [2011] known as Lilac Cottage – 39 Mill Lane. This part of Greenfield lay in a detached part of the civil parish of Pulloxhill until 1933 when the area was transferred to the civil parish of Flitton, which became the civil parish of Flitton and Greenfield following further boundary changes in 1984.

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. It was as thorough in its reach as that of 1910. The valuer visiting 39 Mill Lane [DV1/C269/89] found that the owner was W. Arnold and the occupier J. Taylor who paid rent of £8 per annum. The property contained two kitchens ("one small"), two living rooms and four bedrooms in the roof. The valuer noted:  "used to be two". A thatched butcher's shop stood outside, measuring 11 feet by 8 feet.


  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927  

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

1876: William Wilsher
1891-1909: Joseph Weston;
1909: Mary Weston

Beerhouse closed 22nd December 1909.