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The Bricklayers Arms Beerhouse Sandy

The Bricklayers Arms nearest the camera about 1910 [Z1306/99]
The Bricklayers Arms nearest the camera about 1910 [Z1306/99]

The Bricklayers Arms Beerhouse: 29 High Street, Sandy

The Bricklayers Arms Beerhouse stood at 29 High Street.The countywide register of alehouse licences of 1876, when the Bricklayers Arms was owned by Wells & Company states that the building was first licensed in 1832. The deeds to the property survive in the archive of local solicitors Hooper and Fletcher [HF]. The first one is a deed of 1822 when William Christmas of Sandy, cordwainer (shoe maker) assigned two newly built cottages to John Foster of Biggleswade. This was a mortgage and the cottages had been built on land made leasehold in 1572 when Sir Robert Catlin and John Marrow had leased it to Robert Rawlin of Sandy, butcher, for 5,000 years. At that date the land included a cottage and an adjoining croft of land [HF40/2/15/1]. Three years later the mortgage was assigned to Thomas Yoxen of Northill, grocer [HF40/2/15/2]. The newly built cottages are unlikely to be the Brickmakers Arms, given the date suggested by the Department of Environment but the cottage of 1572 could be, unless it was pulled down and a new house built on the site in the 17th century.

In 1836 William Christmas of Sandy, “now out of business” assigned the two new cottages, stated to have been a barn (meaning, perhaps, on the site of a barn) formerly belonging to the older house, to James Weston of Biggleswade, brewer for £225. At the same time he further mortgaged the older house, now described as a messuage in Sandy formerly in the occupation of Richard Cooper, since of Susan Bishop, late of John Ball now occupied as two properties by William Christmas and Widow Osborn [HF40/2/15/3]. There is no mention of this property being a public house or beerhouse, which casts some doubt on the date of 1832 given by the 1876 register. The beerhouse is not mentioned either in an assignment of 1844 by Maria, wife of Thomas Christmas of Sandy, baker, who had been granted the property by William Christmas, to Weston for £60 [HF40/2/15/5]. However, a directory of 1847 states that George Haynes was a beer seller and bricklayer in Sandy and, as he is known to have been tenant of the Bricklayers Arms in 1875, it seems reasonable to suppose that he was the first tenant, named the establishment after his trade and was in business there by 1847.

The first actual reference to the Bricklayers Arms is in 1875 when James Joseph Weston sold his business, including his licensed houses at auction. The sale catalogue [WG2563] includes the following entry as Lot 16:


Consists of a stud-built and Tiled



Containing tap room with lean-to brick-built and slated bar, capital parlour, sunk cellar, 2 bedrooms, 2 attics and a brick-built and slated kitchen and shed, with a large club room on the same, having separate staircase from yard, with gateway entrance at side, pump and well of water, a brick-built and pantiled shed, timber-built and pantiled stable and lime house with loft over, being bounded on the South by property of Mr. Scott; North and East by that of Mr. Porter, having an extensive frontage on the West to the High Street in the centre of the village near the Church, as now in tenure of Mr. George Haynes,

A very capital business is being done at this House, which is only let at a very low rent.

This Lot is Leasehold for the residue of the term of 5,000 years, of which about 4,800 years are unexpired, thereby making it equal to Freehold.

There is no evidence that the Bricklayers Arms was ever a fully licensed public house, just a beerhouse and so the sale particulars must be seen to be misleading. Following the auction the Bricklayers Arms was assigned to the partners in Biggleswade brewers Wells and Company for £550 [HF40/2/15/6]. The property was made freehold in 1898 [HF40/2/15/7]. That same year Wells and Company was bought by Kent businessman George Winch for his son Edward Bluett Winch being conveyed to a new company called Wells and Winch Limited in 1899 [Z1039/34/2a].

The countywide register of alehouse licences of 1903 reveals that  the nearest licensed house was 72 yards away, that the state of repair of the Bricklayers Arms  was good and that it had one front and two back doors. The last mention of the Bricklayers Arms is in Kelly’s Directory for Bedfordshire of 1914 when it was in the occupation of Charles Laybourn. A number of Bedfordshire licensed houses closed during the First World War, particularly around 1917, and the Bricklayers seems to be another of them.

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. Sandy, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting 29 High Street [DV1/C147/74-75] found it divided into two dwellings, both owned by Mark Young, a considerable landowner in Sandy and Willington.

Part of the building was Young’s own office. Accommodation comprised a lobby and an office measuring 14 feet by 12 feet 6 inches with two store rooms above. Outside stood a shed, a corrugated iron coal shed, a wood and corrugated iron shed measuring 7 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 6 inches and a private petrol pump.

The other part of the building was occupied by George Pyant, who worked for Mark Young. His accommodation comprised a living room, kitchen, scullery and larder with two bedrooms and a box room.



  • HF40/2/15/1: assignment by way of mortgage: 1822;
  • HF40/2/15/2: assignment of mortgage: 1825;
  • HF40/2/15/3: assignment: 1836;
  • HF40/2/15/5: assignment: 1844;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • WG2563: sale catalogue: 1875;
  • HF40/2/15/6: assignment: 1875;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • HF40/2/15/7: conversion to freehold: 1898;
  • GK1/36: Wells and Company sale catalogue: 1898;
  • Z1039/34/2a: copy conveyance from Wells and Company to Wells and Winch: 1899;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915.  

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

1847-1854: George Haynes, bricklayer;
1856-1864: Charles Haynes;
1869-1899: George Haynes, builder;

1899-1900: Ann Haynes;
1900-1905: James Thomas Sutton;
1905-1909: Henry Woodthorpe;
1909-1915: Charles Laybourn
Beerhouse closed during World War One?