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The Fox Public House Keysoe

The Fox about 1925 [WL800/2]
The Fox about 1925 [WL800/2]

The Fox was originally a beerhouse. The first record of it by this name is the countywide licensing register of 1891. Its owner at this time was W. H. Murfin. The countywide licensing register of 1876 has two unnamed beerhouses owned by Murfin. One, judging by the name of the licensee is clearly the Brickmakers Arms, meaning that the other is almost certainly the Fox. This register states that the property was first licensed in 1869, a date given for a number of properties in Keysoe. This seems to mean the date at which the present license was granted because the licensee, John James, can be traced as a beer seller in Keysoe back to at least 1854 in directories.

In 1904 the owners of the Fox were Marshall Brothers of Huntingdon [PSS3/3]. They were replaced a little later by Paine and Company of Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire]

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 Fox [DV1/C211/25] found it now owned by Charles Wells and tenanted by Charles Brightman (“9/6/1927 is leaving as soon as a new tenant is found”) who paid rent of £10 per annum.

The property comprised a parlour, a tap room, a cellar, a pantry and four bedrooms, two of them small. The valuer commented: “No competition. Fair number of cottages around” but “Tenant does not keep the place clean” so “Does absolutely no trade” having “been in house for 3 weeks not yet tapped this week (today Friday)”. Outside stood a washhouse, an old stable, a cart shed and two hen houses. The license of the Fox, which by then would have become a fully-licensed public house, was not renewed in 1983 [PSB9/2]


  • PSS3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: c.1901;
  • PSS3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: c.1903;
  • PSS3/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: 1904-1930;
  • WL800/2 page 28: photograph: c. 1925;
  • WL801/50: negative: c. 1925;
  • PSB9/2: Register of Alehouse Licences – Bedford Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 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:

1854-1885: John James;
1891: William Swepstone;
1903-1910: James Farrer;
1910-1926: William Meadows;
1926: Walter Bull;
1926-1927: Charles Shadrach Brightman;
1927-1928: Arthur Samuel Maile;
1928: Walter Stapleton;
1978-1979: Lilian Nash;
1979: Barrie David Sharp
Closed 1983

The Fox March 2016
The Fox March 2016