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The Three Horseshoes Public House Kempston Rural

The former Three Horseshoes March 2012
The former Three Horseshoes March 2012

The Three Horse Shoes Beerhouse: West End Road, Box End, Kempston Rural

The countywide Licensing Register of 1876 reveals that this beerhouse was first licensed in 1836. It was owned by Robert Palgrave of London in 1876 and 1882 he left all his real estate in his will to Robert Palgrave Page and Samuel Palgrave Page [GK134/2]. They let the Three Horse Shoes to William Pritzler Newland, a Bedford brewer living in Kempston [Gk134/2].

Robert Palgrave sold his share of the Three Horse Shoes and other properties to Samuel in 1889 [Gk134/2]. In 1890 the tenant William Pritzler Newland made a partnership with Bedford brewer William Joseph Nash's widow Susan as Newland and Nash, which became a public limited company in 1897 but was taken over by Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch in 1924.

In 1927 Kempston Rural was valued under the Rating Valuation Act 1925; each piece of land and building was valued to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer at the Three Horseshoes [DV1/C2/53] noted that it was built of brick and tile; he was not impressed noting: "building itself miserable". Accommodation consisted of a small parlour, small tap room, scullery, living room, club room and cellar downstairs with three bedrooms above; outside was an earth closet. He also noted "No trade" which amounted to half a barrel and three dozen bottles of beer per week. He then noted: "I think trade underestimated must do at least ¾ barrel". The beerhouse also had 7.055 acres of good grassland with brick and tile barn, stable for three horses, loose box, piggery, two calf boxes, cart shed and poultry house which were, in contrast to the beerhouse itself "excellent".

In 1934 Samuel Palgrave Page sold the Three Horse Shoes to the tenant - Wells and Winch [GK134/4]. The former Newland and Nash properties were finally conveyed to Wells and Winch in 1948 [GK297/2]. The Three Horse Shoes became a fully licensed public house on 8th March 1956. Wells and Winch were taken over by Suffolk brewers Greene King in 1961 and the Three Horseshoes closed in 1987, becoming a private house.


  • QSR1864/4/5/10: a suspect’s use of the beerhouse: 1864;
  • QSR1875/1/5/3: a suspect’s use of the beerhouse: 1874;
  • GK134/2: abstracted will of Robert Palgrave: 1882;
  • GK134/2: abstracted conveyance: 1889;
  • GK3/1a: conveyance: 1897;
  • PSB9/1: register of licenses: 1903-1935;
  • GK134/1: lease for seven years: 1923;
  • GK134/1: lease for seven years: 1930;
  • GK134/4: conveyance: 1934;
  • GK297/2: conveyance: 1948;
  • Z1169/8/41/24C/1: plans of proposed alterations: 1949;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;
  • FSD/PC30 Newspaper report, with photo of lightning strike 1983

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

1853-1864: Philip Boston;
1869-1871: Joseph Boston;
1876-1877: Eli Burley;
1885-1894: (Thomas) James Odell;
1897-1946: George Odell;
1947-1949: Mrs Eliza Odell;
1949-1955: Frederick G Wells;
1956-1967: Archibald George Ashpole;
1967-1968: James Richard Smith;
1968-1970: Pearl Smith;
1970-1973: Stuart Ralph Smith;
1973-1987: Dennis Jessop.
Public house closed 6th September 1987.