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The Bull and Butcher Beer Shop Humbershoe

The former Bull and Butcher in January 2010
The former Bull and Butcher in January 2010

The Bull & Butcher Beer Shop: 42 High Street, Markyate

The Bull & Butcher lay in the parish of Studham until 1866 when the new Bedfordshire civil parish of Humbershoe was formed for those properties north of Buckwood Road and west of Markyate High Street from the junction with Buckwood Road north. It is not mentioned on the countywide licensing register for 1822-1828 but was in existence by 1843 when it formed part of a sale catalogue, being one of the forty three licensed premises attached to Dunstable Brewery [BH409].

The sale catalogue describes the property thus: "The BULL and BUTCHER, Beer Shop, at MARKYATE STREET, About four miles from Dunstable ; containing Parlor [sic], Tap, Bar, Cellar underground, two Bed Rooms, Loft and Attic. Wash-house and range of four Out-houses (two of them occupied with the after-mentioned Tenenemts), Yard and Well of Water. In the occupation of HENRY CLIFTON, at an Annual Rent of £10. iAlso a COTTAGE adjoining, divided into two Tenements, in the occupation of COSTIN and TARBOX, at Rents amounting to £11. The Title to a small piece of the site at the back, and the Right of Road through the Gateway of the adjoining Premises, shall commence with the will of Samuel Ames, in 1806". A beer shop suggests something more like an off-licence, but for beer only, than a beerhouse which was basically the same as a public house with the important exception that it only sold beer and, perhaps, non-alcoholic beverages.

In 1851 as it for the beer shop was sold again, as one of the licensed premises of Benjamin Bennett [X95/251]. In the catalogue it was described as containing a tap room, parlour, cellar, two bedrooms, loft and attic; outside stood a washhouse, two outhouses, a yard and well. It was in the occupation of Thomas Burgoine and was sold with two adjoining cottages in the occupation of Ellingham and Harris.

The Humbershoe tithe apportionment map and reference book [MAT43/1 and AT43/1 respectively] show that the Bull and Butcher stood just north of today's Albert Street, on the site of number 42 High Street. The map shows that the property was then owned by John Dixon, who had presumably bought it at the auction of 1851.

At some point Dixon or one of his successors must have sold the property to Luton brewer John William Green. In 1897 he turned his business into a limited company and the Bull & Butcher was one of the properties he conveyed from his ownership to trustees on behalf of the new company.

In the same year the civil parish of Humbershoe was abolished, and combined with parts of the Bedfordshire parish of Houghton Regis, the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire portions of Caddington and the Hertfordshire parish of Flamstead, to form the new Hertfordshire civil parish of Markyate. A note on J. W. Green Limited's trust deed [WB/Green1/1/1] notes that the property ("house and off-licence") was sold to E. W. Spary on 12th June 1930 for £220. At the time of writing [2010] the property is a post office.


  • BH409: sale catalogue: 1843;
  • X95/251: sale catalogue: 1851;
  • PSL6/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Luton Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1901;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: register of successive tenants: 1887-1926;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: record of J. W. Green Limited properties on flotation as a limited company: 1897;
  • WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of deeds and documents held by J. W. Green Limited: c. 1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/14: list of deeds held by J. W. Green Limited: c. 1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: various loose schedules of deeds held by J. W. Green Limited: c. 1954.

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known. The list goes up to 1897 at which date Humbershoe became part of the new Hertfordshire civil parish of Markyate: 

1843: Henry Clifton;
1851: Thomas Burgoine;
1851-1853: William Tyler
1881-1889: William Batchelor;
1889-1890: William Howe;
1890-1891: Ernest Stourton;
1891-1896: Arthur Tompkins;
1896-1897: Edwin Waters.