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The Leg of Mutton Beerhouse Kempston Rural


Beerhouse at Green End, c.1914 [Z50/67/130]

No Sign Beerhouse [also The Leg of Mutton]: 30 Green End Road, Kempston Rural

The first mention of this beerhouse is in a sale catalogue of Bedford Brewery of 1874. This brewery had been around a long time. Thomas Woodward the elder was a maltster at the White Horse in Bedford and also had a brewery in Saint Paul’s Square, Bedford. He was the administrator of the estate of John Bunyan meaning he was alive in the mid 17th century. His business passed to his son Thomas Woodward the younger. He was dead by 1776 and left four daughters one of whom married James Belsham and their son William inherited the brewery. At some point before 1784 Belsham leased a new brick brewery in Saint Paul’s to William Long and the brothers Henry and James Whittingstall. Long bought the brothers out in 1803. Long was mayor of Bedford four times and was knighted in 1814. By 1830 he was in partnership with William Pestell trading as Long and Pestell. At his death he left 28 public houses and his son-in-law Robert Newland continued the business. By 1861 Newland’s son Bingham was running the business but he died in 1873, hence the auction of the business the following year.

The sale particulars [GA487] describe a freehold beerhouse in Green End without a name and tenanted by James Folkes at a rent of £12/10/- per annum. It seems to have been bought, along with most of Newland’s brewery and business, by Thomas Jarvis. He already owned a brewery, the Phoenix in Midland Road, Bedford, built around the time he took the firm over and the Saint Paul’s Square brewery was discontinued. In 1874 he owned 37 public houses. An abstract of title of Jarvis and Company [DC/NB/E409/1] states that the following year, 1874, when Jarvis mortgaged some of his properties the beerhouse at Green End, Kempston with its outbuildings, garden and orchard was formerly in the occupation of a man named Bradshaw, then Folkes and now John King. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the no sign beerhouse owned by Jarvis and tenanted by King had first been licensed in 1841.

Thomas Jarvis ran Jarvis and Company with his two sons Lewis Page Jarvis and Robert Page Jarvis and in 1883 the firm was conveyed to a trustee, James Peter Piper, in trust for the two sons and another son, Walter Jarvis [DC/NB/E409/1]. Lewis Page Jarvis died in 1900 and in 1905 his widow transferred her interest in the firm to the two surviving brothers [DC/NB/E409/1]. Robert Page Jarvis died in 1912 [DC/NB/E409/1] and Walter Jarvis in 1915 [DC/NB/E409/1]. Two years later, after being run for a while by a receiver, the company was sold at auction to Bedford rival Charles Wells.

The no sign beerhouse at Green End was also, confusingly, known in some sources as The Leg of Mutton. The Shoulder of Mutton was just four doors to the west along the same road. Is it fanciful to imagine that The Shoulder was the original drinking establishment and that, when the Leg of Mutton was given this name it was to suggest that it was a cut above its older rival? At any rate this beerhouse closed in 1915 [PSB9/1].

30 Green End Road June 2013

 30 Green End Road June 2013

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. The valuer visiting the former beerhouse [DV1/C35/22] found it owned and occupied by Mrs. S. G. Smith and called, presumably in an attempt to give it a name without any vowels, “Rhydymwyw”. It stood in just over a third of an acre and comprised a front room, a kitchen and a larder with three bedrooms above. A barn and an earth closet stood outside, together with a wood and felt garage which contained an Austin 7. The valuer commented “Very good cottage and garden” and, intriguingly, “Texts on wall”.


  • DC/NB/E409/1: mortgages: 1874;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: conveyance to trustee: 1883;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: mortgage: 1883;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: assignment of mortgage: 1894;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: assignment of mortgage: 1899;
  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1935;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: reconveyance: 1904;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: conveyance: 1905;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: assignment of mortgage: 1905;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: reconveyance: 1909;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: reassignment: 1909;
  • DC/NB/E409/1: conveyance: 1915.

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

1847: Joseph Bradshaw
1853-1873: James Folkes;
1874-1877: John King;
1885: Joseph Haynes;
1890-1891: George Brummell;
1903-1913: George Breed;
1913-1915: Edward Keech.
Beerhouse closed 24th December 1915