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The White Horse Beerhouse Humbershoe

22 High Street site of the White Horse January 2010
22 High Street site of the White Horse January 2010

The White Horse Beerhouse: 22 High Street, Markyate

The White Horse beerhouse 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 1851 when the licensee was stated to be a victualler. It is described as the White Horse Beerhouse, four cottages, garden and yard; the owner was William Puddefoot, the tenant of the beerhouse William Ellingham and the cottages tenants were Joseph Hobbs and Samuel Fossey, with two empty.

The Bedfordshire Times reports a case before the Luton Petty Sessions on 7th April 1856: "William Ellingham, of Market-street, beer retailer &c., appeared in answer to a summons to show cause why an order should not be made on him to contribute towards the maintenance of his mother, Margaret Ellingham, who is now chargeable  to the common fund of the Luton union. The defendant stated he was unable to pay anything. It appeared that he is a beer retailer, grocer, and [straw] plait dealer, and has no family. the Bench made an order for 3 shillings a week. Costs allowed".

The 1851 census has William Ellingham living with his wife Sarah on the Main Street (i.e. the High Street in Markyate, clearly at the White Horse, though the property is not given a name). Both were 40 years of age, he is listed as a victualler and she as housekeeper. He was born in Eaton Bray and she in Toddington. Margaret Ellingham lived further down the High Street, four doors down from The Swan. She was then 74 and a widow, she had been born in Berkhamstead [Hertfordshire]. Living with her were her daughter Mary, an unmarried 30 year old bonnet sewer, who had been born in Eaton Bray and her two grandchildren, Mary, aged 19 and also a bonnet sewer and Matthew aged 12, a servant, both of these had been born in Barton-le-Clay. Margaret is not mentioned as a tenant in the Tithe Apportionment of 1853 and so had, presumably, already entered Luton Workhouse by that time.

The Luton Petty Sessional Division licensing register for 1872 to 1901 states that the White Horse was then owned by brewer Francis Parsons of Saint Albans [Hertfordshire]. In 1897 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. The Markyate Local History Society in Markyate's Past of 1999 devoted to Humbershoe state that the beerhouse closed on 31st December 1909. The Hertfordshire Heritage Environment Record [HER 12104] states that the building was demolished in the 1960s and a new house built on the site.


  • MAT43/1: Humbershoe tithe apportionment map: 1853;
  • AT43/1: Humbershoe tithe apportionment reference book: 1853;
  • PSL6/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Luton Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1901.

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: 

1851-1856: William Ellingham;
1872-1888: James Goodman;
1888-1890: Mary Goodman;
1890-1895: Matthew Burgess;
1895: Ealen Burgess;
1895-1896: Joseph Hill
1896-1897: Charles Brooks