Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Ravensden > Horse & Jockey Ravensden

Horse & Jockey Ravensden

The Horse and Jockey, Church End, Ravensden (previously The Horse and Groom)

This page was written by Trevor Stewart in association with Bedfordshire Archives

The original Horse and Jockey was situated next to the 20th century building which replaced it. This original building is now a private house. The first known licensee was William Grant, who in 1795 was described as a publican when he apprenticed his son-in-law Robert Westley to a wheelwright at St. Neots. By 1828 a John Westley appears as the landlord. John Westley died in 1837, leaving his property in Ravensden to his daughter, Ann Westley, but in 1840 his widow Hannah appears as the licensee. The widow Hannah Westley married James Farrer in 1841 and James continues as licensee until the 1860s.

The Horse and Jockey was acquired by the Bedford Brewery, and subsequently sold to Jarvis & Sons in 1874. By this date the name had changed to the Horse and Groom: a sale catalogue for the St Pauls Brewery Estate dated 11th July 1873 includes the Horse and Groom at Ravensden (formerly the Horse and Jockey) ‘with stabling, garden, and orchard, in the occupation of John Wildman, at the yearly rent of £8.’ The Horse and Jockey – back to its original name – was subsequently taken over by Charles Wells.

WL800-3(11) Horse & Jockey

Horse & Jockey, Ravensden c.1925 [WL800/3]

In 1924 or 1925 a new  Horse and Jockey was built by Charles Wells, on land which was part of the garden of the original public house. The 1925 design was very much like other public houses built at this time but it has been greatly extended and redesigned by the current owners.

It is the only public house now open in the village and sells a good selection of craft or cask ales. It is also a very popular and often recommended restaurant.

References of Documents held by Bedfordshire Archives:

  • X65/150: Apprenticeship of Robert Wesley to John Dumbleton of Saint Neots, wheelwright. 15 Jun 1795;
  • ABP/W1837/47: Will of John Westley of Ravensden, 1837;
  • GA487: Sale catalogue of the St Pauls Brewery Estate, 11th July 1873;
  • WL647: Report on the Bedford Brewery, 1874;
  • WL800/3 no.11: Photograph of the Horse and Jockey, Ravensden, c.1925

Licencees: note that this is not a complete list and that dates in italics are not necessarily beginning or end dates, merely the first/last date which can be confirmed from sources such as directories and deeds:

 [Bedford St. Paul’s Brewery; Jarvis & Company; then Charles Wells] [Horse & Groom in 1873]

  • 1795 -1822: William Grant;
  • 1828-1837: John Westley;
  • 1837-1842: Hannah Westley, widow
  • 1842-1861: James Farrer (2nd husband of Hannah Westley)
  • 1865-1876: John Wildman
  • 1890 - 1891: John Farrar;
  • 1901-1911: David Fensome;
  • 1911-1940: Harry Clarke;
  • 1965-1973: John Whitelock;
  • 1973-1975: Edward Stanley Bond Skinner;
  • 1975-1978: Thomas McDonald Clark;
  • 1978-1979: Eric Keith Nightingale;
  • 1979-1991: Raymond Joseph Munday;
  • 1991-1992: John Francis Campbell;
  • 1992-1993: Gary Vincent McCarthy;
  • 1993: Anthony William Thornton;
  • 1993-1994: Michelle Tracy McCarthy and John Ernest Gibbs;
  • 1994-1995: Richard Thomas Earl and Ann Margaret Earl