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The Rose and Crown Public House Ridgmont


Rose and Crown in 1961 [Z53/95/3]
Rose and Crown in 1961 [Z53/95/3]

The Rose & Crown Public House: 89 High Street, Ridgmont

For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Ridgmont had three public houses in the High Street, the Rose & Crown, Red Lion and White Hart. All three buildings survive but only the easternmost of these, the Rose & Crown is still a public house.

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has surprisingly little on this Charles Wells house, unlike other Wells houses the deeds not having been deposited with us. The first reference to the house is in the countywide licensing records for 1822 [CLP13]. The inclosure map of Ridgmont of 1799 [MA15] shows the property but describes it (in 1803) as a cottage owned either by William Whitbread or Thomas Linnell [ABookE]. This suggests that the Rose & Crown first opened at some date netween 1803 and 1822.

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county's historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for the Rose & Crown [HER 5037] acribes the building to the mid 18th century. It has a red and yellow brick front and a modern, machine-tiled roof. There is a single storey 19th century extension to the right hand side with a Welsh slate roof.

In 1827 the public house was owned by Ampthill brewer John Carte who at that date leased it for three years to Abraham Fox of Wilshamstead [WE110]. At some point Carte sold the public house to Woburn brewer James Fowler as he sold  the property of the previous tenant Dickens at auction in 1862 [SF51/21]. It seems likely that when Fowler's business was sold in 1881 the new firm of Charles Wells of Bedford (formed 1875) purchased the public house at that time, as it is known to have purchased several other ex-Fowler houses in the area at that date. Deeds of 1949 to 1953 for this property are still held by Charles Wells Limited.

Notice advertising sale of the former licensee's stock and furniture in 1871 [SF51/21]
Notice advertising sale of the former licensee's stock and furniture in 1871 [SF51/21]

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. Ridgmont was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Rose and Crown [DV1/C54/99] noted that it was a brick and slate detached property with a long frontage; downstairs were a tap room, reception room, lounge, kitchen and cellar with five bedrooms upstairs; outside were two wcs, a coal barn and store. Trade comprised one 18 gallon barrel of beer per week, two or three dozen bottles of beer per week and one gallon of spirits per month, the cellar held three eighteen gallon barrels.

 Rose and Crown - February 2007
Rose and Crown - February 2007


  • MA15: Ridgmont inclosure map: 1799;
  • A Book E: Ridgmont inclosure award: 1803;
  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822 - 1828
  • WE110: three year lease from John Carte of Ampthill, brewer to Abraham Fox of Wilshamstead, yeoman; 1827;
  • SF51/6: auction sale of farming stock and produce: 1862;
  • SF51/17: sale of farming stock and furniture of leaving licensee: 1865;
  • PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
  • SF51/21: sale of leaving landlord's livestock and furniture: 1871;
  • SF51/31: probate inventory of public house: 1886;
  • SF51/34: inventory of public house: 1887;
  • SF51/46: inventory of goods of deceased licensee: 1898;
  • SF51/48: sale of farming stock and furniture of deceased licensee: 1898;
  • X347/124: High Street showing Red Lion and Rose & Crown: early 20th century;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • PSW3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1949-1953;
  • Z1105/1: Liquor Licence Traders Survey Form: 1958;
  • Z53/95/3: photograph: 1961;
  • PSA5/5: Register of Licences - Ampthill Petty Sesional Division:1968-1995;
  • WL722/94: article in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot on refurbishment: 1998;
  • WL722/96: article on long standing licensees in Pint Pot: 1998.

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

1822-1826: William Battams;
1827: William Beech;
1827-1828: Abraham Fox;
1839: Frances Fox;
1847: Francis Fox;
1854: Woods Rayner;
1862: Dickens;
1862-1865: Charles Fox;
1869-1871: William Herbert;
1877-1879: William Slough;
1879-1886: William Tompkins [died 1886];
1886-1887: Elizabeth Tompkins;
1887-1898: Thomas John Miller [died 1898];
1898-1904: Charles Sinfield;
1904-1907: John Chapman;
1907: Henry James Ashley;
1907-1937: Charles William Parrott;
1937-1939: Matthew Bacon: convicted 24 Feb 1939 of supplying intoxicating liquors out of permitted hours, fined £2;
1939-1955: Reuben Ralph Hildreth;
1955-1959: Dennis A.Farmers;
1965-1978: Frank Cyril Scott;
1978-1998: Neil Campbell McGregor.