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The Royal Oak Public House Roxton

Royal Oak about 1925 [WL722]
Royal Oak about 1925 [WL722]

The Royal Oak Public House: 33 High Street, Roxton

The first mention of the Royal Oak in any document at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in 1819 when James Ayers devised it to his son John Wood Ayers in his will, which was proved in 1820 [WL1000/1/Rox1/1]. James Wood Ayers sold the place in 1866 to Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire] brewer Thomas Chapman [WL1000/1/Rox1/2] who only kept it for a year before selling to Bedford brewer Bingham Newland who was using Sir William Long's old brewery in Saint Paul's [WL1000/1/Rox1/3]. This business was sold to Thomas Jarvis in 1874 and Jarvis' business was sold to Charles Wells Limited in 1910 and the Royal Oak remains a Wells house at the time of writing [2010]. Today's building is not the original inn but a building very much in the Charles Wells style. The original building was, presumably, pulled down and rebuilt some time just after 1910.

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. Roxton, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the public house was valued under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act and the valuer considered it a "very good building…well built" consisting of a tap room, parlour, kitchen, scullery and three bedrooms and "no land at all" although it did have a stable and cow shed, barn "very old & dilapidated" and a pail closet. He did note that "Trade ought to be more" in fact it consisted of only 18 gallons of beer a week along with a small bottles and spirits trade.

Royal Oak Roxton March 2007
Royal Oak - March 2007 


  • WL1000/1/Rox1/1 and X478/62: Royal Oak devised in will of James Ayers to John Wood Ayers, son of his nephew: 1819, proved 1820;
  • CLP13: register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • PSB1/1: register of licences: 1829-1834;
  • WL1000/1/Rox1/2: conveyed by John Woods Ayers to Thomas Chapman of St.Neots, brewer: 1866;
  • WL1000/1/Rox1/3: conveyed by Thomas Chapman to Bingham Newland of Bedford, brewer: 1867;
  • WL1000/1/Rox1/4: mortgage by Bingham Newland to James King: 1867, redeemed 1873;
  • GA487: sale particulars of public houses of St.Paul's Brewery, Bedford: 1873;
  • WL647: report of Sir William Long's Bedford Brewery licensed premises before sale to Jarvis: 1874;
  • PSB9/1: register of licences: c.1903-1932;
  • WL800/4 p.36: photograph: c.1925;
  • WL801/110: negative of above: c.1925;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995;
  • PSBW8/3: register of licences: 1976-1980;
  • WL722/32: "Pint Pot" in-house magazine of Charles Wells with article on refurbishment: 1981;
  • PCRoxton9/1: removal of offending advertisement: 1989;
  • WL722/98: "Pint Pot" in-house magazine of Charles Wells with article on Royal Oak: 1999;
  • WL722/100: "Pint Pot" in-house magazine of Charles Wells with article on refurbishment: 1999-2000

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

1819-1822: James Ayres;
1823-1835: Joseph Baxter;
1853-1861: William Bass (pig dealer);
1861-1866: Thomas Mardlin;
1867-1911: James Mardlin (butcher);
1911-1936: Francis James Mardlin;
1940: Frederick A. J. Ball;
1979: David Paul Miller;
1995: Raymond George Gaines