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The Bricklayers Arms Public House Potton

The Bricklayer's Arms: 1 New Town [formerly The Star and Garter]

Bricklayers Arms Sep 2007
The Bricklayer's Arms September 2007

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has deeds of this property dating back well before it was built, to 1775. In that year a piece of land in Windmill Field was conveyed by Thomas and Elizabeth Miller and William and Mary Jarratt to Henry Sheffield [GK286/1]. Later that year, when the western portion of Potton was inclosed, Henry Sheffield and Edmund Bumberry exchanged the land they were allotted [GK286/2]. When Bumberry made his will in 1802 he devised all his land to his wife Mary to be passed, at her death, to their son John. Edmund Bumberry died in 1807 [GK286/4]. Mary and Edmund Bumberry mortgaged the land to Potton surgeon Henry Verrall, of 9 King Street between 1809 and 1811 [GK286/5-7].

The land temporarily left the Bumberry family in 1812 when Edmund conveyed it to John Dennis [GK286/8]. In 1821 Dennis conveyed it to Thomas Hagger in trust for sale [GK286/10] and Hagger duly sold it to Thomas Seamer [GK286/11-12]. When Seamer made his will in 1843 he devised the land, described as in Sandy Lane, to his nephew, Thomas Bumberry [GK286/13]. Seamer died in 1845.

In 1849 the land and twelve properties "built by Thomas Seamer" and one premises built by Thomas Bumberry were mortgaged to Charles Bailey and George Milton [GK286/14]. The property built by Bumberry became today's Brickmaker's Arms as it is described in a mortgage of 1880 as a beerhouse [GK286/18]. This 1880 mortgage [GK286/18] was to Baldock [Hertfordshire] brewers Joseph Simpson, Thomas George Simpson and John Phillips Nunn. The premises is first mentioned in a licensing register in 1872 [HF143/1] when it was a beerhouse known as the Star and Garter. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Star and Garter had first been licensed in 1851 and that the owner was Thomas Bumberry.

The Petty Sessional licensing registers from 1874 to 1900 do not name beerhouses [HF143/2-5] but one is able to follow through the succession of licensees. The register of 1900 [HF143/6] once again names beerhouses by which time the Star and Garter has become the Bricklayer's Arms. This new name is also used in the countywide licensing register of 1891: perhaps the name changed when Simpson's bought the property. The countywide licensing register of 1903 states that the premises was in good repair, had one front and three back doors and was 160 yards from the nearest licensed premises.

In 1880 Bumberry sold the twelve houses and the beerhouse to John Dear for £380 [GK286/19-20]. The following year Thomas James Bumberry and Joseph Bumberry, both of London, paid off the Simpsons' mortgage and bought the properties back from Dear for £460/19/1 [GK286/21]. In 1881 the Bumberrys mortgaged the properties to Louis Marino Casella of Holborn [Middlesex] for £1,000 [GK286/24], conveying the property to him in 1889 [GK287/27]. In 1907 Casella leased the properties, including the Brickmaker's Arms, to Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire] brewer Day and Son [GK286/28a-b].

Day and Son were bought out by Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch in 1920 and an abstract of title, prepared for Louis Casella at that date suggests that he may then have sold the premises to them, but Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service does not possess a conveyance. Wells and Winch merged with Suffolk brewers Greene King in 1961, taking the Greene King name in 1963 as Greene King (Biggleswade) Limited; the Biggleswade reference in the company name was dropped in 1990.

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. Potton, like much of the county, was assessed in 1927. The visiting valuer found a tap room, a living room, a parlour and a sitting room downstairs and four bedrooms above, he did not note any cellar [DV1/C9/106]. Business consisted of about 1½ barrels and two dozen bottles a week "nearly all mild sells @ 5d per pint. Open 10-2 6-10. Sundays 12-2 7-10".

A full licence was granted on 28th April 1959, turning the beerhouse into a public house. The Bricklayers Arms is still open for business at the time of writing [March 2007].


  • GK286/1: conveyance of land: 1775;
  • GK286/2: extract from Potton inclosure award: 1775;
  • GK286/4: copy will of Edmund Bumberry: 1802 (proved 1807);
  • GK286/5-7: mortgages on land: 1809-1811;
  • GK286/8: conveyance of land: 1812;
  • GK286/10: conveyance of land: 1821;
  • GK286/11-12: conveyance of land: 1821;
  • GK286/13: copy will of Thomas Seamer: 1843 (proved 1845);
  • GK286/14: mortgage: 1849;
  • GK286/15: mortgage: 1853;
  • GK286/16: transfer of mortgage: 1854;
  • GK286/17: transfer of mortgage1872;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • GK286/18: mortgage: 1880;
  • GK286/19-20: sale: 1880;
  • GK286/21: conveyance: 1880;
  • GK286/24: mortgage: 1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • GK286/27: conveyance: 1889;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • FAC127/1: service papers of Edward Hutchinson, photographed in Z50/142/708 below: 1895-1927
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • Z50/142/708: door shown in wedding photograph: 1904;
  • GK286/28a-b: fourteen year lease: 1907;
  • GK175/2: sale catalogue: 1919;
  • GK286/29: abstract of title: prepared 1920;
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980

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

1872 [1879?]-1880: Thomas Bumberry;
1880-1882: Joseph Pool;
1882: William Henry Earl;
1882: Frederick Hurdle;
1882-1883: John Bearley;
1883-1911: William Henry Earle;
1911-1914: Sophia Earle
1927-1940: George S. Dennis;
1957-1961: Alice Dennis;
1961-1975: George Edward Leigh;
1975-1987: Gwendoline Lucy Leigh;
1987-1991: Peter Charles Cherry;
1991-1994: Martin Francis Spearman;
1994-1995: Martin Francis Spearman and Valerie Spearman