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The Fox and Hounds Public House Kempston

The Fox and Hounds public house July 2007
The Fox and Hounds public house July 2007

The Fox & Hounds Public House: 22 High Street, Kempston

This public house was older than the 20th century buildings suggested. In 1827 four cottages were mortgaged by John Saunders to John Beale [GK128/1]; he assigned this mortgage to Harriett Halfhead in 1844 and she to Edward Swann, Richard Halfhead and Ezra Eagles in 1849 [GK128/1]. Because of non-payment Swann, the only surviving mortgagee, sold the property to Bedford brewer William Joseph Nash in 1869 when it is referred to as a licensed premises for the first time [GK128/2]. the countywide licensing register of 1876 notes that the Fox and Hounds had been licensed thirty two years before which would put the date of first licensing at 1844.

In 1897 William Pritzler Newland, Emily Cressy Nash, Florence Mary Nash, Rosa Gertrude Nash and Constance Eveline conveyed the Fox and Hounds beerhouse, along with all their other licensed premises to their newly formed public limited company Nash to Newland and Nash Limited [GK3/1a]. The firm was bought by Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch Limited in 1924 although a conveyance of properties from one firm to the other was not carried out until 1938 [GK297/2]. Wells and Winch were taken over by Suffolk brewers Greene King in 1961.

In 1927 Bedfordshire was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building was valued to determine the rates to be paid for it. The valuer visiting the Fox and Hounds [DV1/R25] noted that it was still a beerhouse and accommodation consisted of a bar, parlour, tap room, cellar, larder, scullery, W. C. and urinals downstairs with four bedrooms and a bathroom above. Weekly trade was between one and a half and two barrels of beer, two dozen bottles of beer, four to five dozen half bottles of beer and a dozen bottles of  minerals. In conclusion the valuer noted: "Fairly good front. No draw up".

Following alterations in 1931 [UDKP584] the premises was revalued [DV1/X92], the valuer noting: "As before, addition to cellar, urinal moved to other side of yard and wash house placed on land where it was. Rent not increased. [Licensee] Says only doing 1 barrel a week now trade completely fallen off". Not surprisingly there was no increase in rates. As a glance at the modern photograph and the older plans reveals the Fox and Hounds was completely rebuilt in the late 20th century. The public house closed in 2010 and was demolished in Spring the following year with dwellings being built on the site in 2013.


  • GK128/1: abstracted mortgage: 1827;
  • GK128/1: abstracted further advance: 1830;
  • GK128/1: assignment of mortgage: 1844;
  • GK128/1: memorandum of assignment of mortgage: 1849;
  • GK128/1: abstracted death of Ezra Eagles: 1862;
  • GK128/1: abstracted death of Richard Halfhead: 1868;
  • GK3/3: schedule of deeds of properties of Wells & Winch including Fox & Hounds: 1868-1874;
  • GK128/2: conveyance: 1869;
  • GK128/3: right of way granted by William Joseph Nash to three adjoining cottages: 1874;
  • SF1/274: valuation for security: 1888-1891;
  • GK3/1a: conveyance from William Pritzler Newland, Emily Cressy Nash, Florence Mary Nash, Rosa Gertrude Nash and Constance Eveline Nash to Newland & Nash Limited of all properties: 1897;
  • GK3/1b: trust deed to secure debenture stock for Newland & Nash Limited listing all properties: 1897;
  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1935;
  • UDKP368: new scullery: 1915;
  • UDKP584: alterations: 1931;
  • GK297/2: conveyance of properties from Newland & Nash to Wells & Winch: 1938;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995. 

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1869: J.Robinson;
1876-1885: William Sharp;
1891: Richard Dunkley;
1897: Ann Ashpole;
1903-1905: Joseph Blaney;
1905-1909: James Rust;
1909-1920: Alfred Underwood;
1920-1926: Edward Smith;
1926-1929: Florence Smith;
1929-1940: Louis Lord;
1974: Herbert Sansom;
1974-1077: Eric Blake;
1977-1982: Barry Victor Cable;
1982: Arthur Francis Walter Gray;
1982-1983: Peter Gravestock;
1983-1984: Michael Francis Byrne;
1984-1986: Michael Rosebridge;
1986-1992: Alan Firman;
1992-1993: Graham John Dyke;
1992-1995: Colin Arthur Roberts and Valerie Ann Roberts
Public House closed 2010