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The Chequers Public House Kempston Hardwick

The Chequers Public House, Kempston Hardwick

A packet of deeds in the Whitbread archive [W] is entitled “Purchase of the Chequers, Kempston, with Elstow land, from King” and has documents dating from 1715 to 1795. The Whitbreads' Southill Estate ended up as owners both of the public house and Kempston Hardwick Farm.

In 1715 a farmhouse, formerly in the occupation of Richard Penn, then Garner in Hardwick End, Kempston, together with 26 acres and land in Keysoe was conveyed by Elizabeth Ashers of Coventry, widow, sister and heir of Thomas Ellis of Sandy, gentleman, to Thomas Rolfe of Sandy, gentleman [W2910-2911]. William Rolfe, presumably Thomas’ son or grandson, was admitted to this copyhold property in 1761 [W2912]. In 1784, following William’s death his daughters Catherine of Westminster [Middlesex] and Lucy Poole of Middlesex, widow, were admitted to the property [W2913]. Lucy conveyed the property to Catherine in 1785 [W2914]. By then it is described as a public house called the Chequer at Kempston Hardwick with three closes of pasture comprising twelve acres, another twelve acres in the common fields of Kempston and four acres in the common fields of Elstow. In 1795 Catherine, who had then married Thomas King of Surrey, joined her husband in conveying the Chequer to Samuel Whitbread of Cardington for £750 [W2915-2916].

Byu 1847 The Chequers formed a part of Kempston Hardwick Farm. This is shown on the revision of the inclosure map of 1847 [X1/25] where one entry is marked as both the farm and the public house.

The Chequers is last mentioned in the countywide licensing register of 1903 when it is described as being in a bad state of repair, having no urinal and being apparently insanitary. It was 1¼ miles from the nearest licensed house and had two front doors, a back door and a side gate entrance. The beerhouse is no longer mentioned in directories after this date nor in the Bedford District licensing register dating between 1903 and 1935 [PSB9/1] strongly suggesting that it closed in 1903.


  • W2910: conveyance: 1715;
  • W2912: admission: 1761;
  • W2913: admission: 1784;
  • W2914: conveyance: 1785;
  • W2915-2916: conveyance: 1795;
  • P60/11/1a: poor rate assessment: 1803;
  • CLP13: Register of Alehouse Recognizances: 1822-1828;
  • PSB1/1: licensee William Teedon September: 1829;
  • PSB1/1: licensee William Teedon: 1834

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

1822-1834: William Teedon;
1847-1876: Daniel Henman (and farmer);
1877: Thomas Harrison (and farmer)
1891: Daniel Day and son;
1894-1898: John Day
1903: Thomas John Day.