Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > SheepLane > The Flying Fox Public House Potsgrove

The Flying Fox Public House Potsgrove

The Flying Fox Public House (formerly the Fox and Hounds): corner of Sheep Lane and Watling Street, Potsgrove

The Fox and Hounds about 1960 [PL/PH2/1]
The Fox and Hounds about 1960 [PL/PH2/1]

The land on which this building stands was sold by the Guardians of the Woburn Poor Law Union to John Phillips of Woburn, victualler in March 1838 [R6/44/1/1]. Phillips moved to London at some point because in 1862 he mortgaged the premises he had built on the land and he was noted as formerly of Woburn, carpenter but now of 39 Goswell Road, Clerkenwell, baker [R6/44/1/2]. The house is simply noted as a messuage and other buildings formerly in occupation of Thomas Phillips, now George Belgrove. However, the fact that Phillips was a ictualler, or publican, suggests that he may have built the Fox and Houdns as a pub shortly after buying the land.

Two years later the premises was conveyed to William Odell of Sheep Lane, carpenter, for £270 and at this time it is referred to as a beerhouse called the Fox and Hounds [R6/44/1/3]. The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Fox and Houdns was a fully-licensed public house. In 1881 Phillips sold the public house to Henry Mann Roberts and William Wilson, brewers of Ivinghoe [Buckinghamshire] for £510 [R6/44/21/7] and they, in 1895, sold it to the Duke of Bedford for £870 [R6/44/1/9].

The countywide licensing register of 1903 states that the property was clean and in good repair, was 390 yards from the nearest licensed premises (the Red Cow) and had two front doors, one back door and a door from the outside into the kitchen. In 1914 tenant David Giltrow went bankrupt and an inventory and valuation of the inn was made previous to sale of the tenancy, the valuation of the stock, furniture etc. coming to £64/4/8 [HN10/373/Giltrow6].

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. Potsgrove, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Fox and Hounds [DV1/C132/1] found that it consisted of a tap room ("fair"), a bar parlour ("good") and a kitchen downstairs with four bedrooms upstairs. Outside were an earth closet, a coal shed, a “rough” garage and workshop, a trap house and a stable for three horses. It sold, on average, a barrel of beer and a bottle of spirits per week. Rent was £16 per annum. The valuer noted it was a "Nice little corner house, smart looking" but drawbacks were "Right on main Road, no apartment accommodation and no pull up".

In 1934 Howard Fowler Stimpson gave up the tenancy and the Duke of Bedford leased the pub to Flittons Brewery Limited [WB/Flitt4/1/Pots/FH1]. This firm was taken over by national brewers Whitbread in 1948. Whitbread gave up its brewing and public house business in 2001 and at the time of writing [2006] the public house is a Vintage Inns restaurant pub renamed the Flying Fox.

The Flying Fox September 2007
The Flying Fox September 2007


  • R6/44/1/1: conveyance of the site: 1838;
  • R6/44/1/2: mortgage of the site and buildings: 1862;
  • R6/44/1/3: conveyance of the Fox and Hounds: 1864;
  • R6/44/1/4: mortgage: 1864;
  • R6/44/1/5: conveyance: 1865;
  • PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
  • R6/44/1/7: conveyance: 1881;
  • R6/44/1/9: conveyance: 1895;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow1: lists of debts owed by David Giltrow: c.1914;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow2: letter from David Giltrow to L. P. Hall: unable to pay rent: 1914;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow3: rent due from David Giltrow's estate: 1914;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow4: bankruptcy proceedings against David Giltrow: 1914;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow5: inventory and sale catalogue of effects: 1914;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow6: inventory and valuation of inn: 1914;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow7: transfer of licence: 1914;
  • HN10/373/Giltrow9: disclaimer on tenancy of David Giltrow: 1914;
  • WW1/AC/OP2/128: claim for compensation: 1918-1920;
  • Z50/90/12: photograph: c.1930
  • WB/Flitt4/1/Pots/FH1: lease: 1934;
  • WB/Flitt4/1/Pots/FH2: counterpart lease: 1936;
  • WB/Flitt4/1/Pots/FH3: counterpart lease: 1938;
  • Z1105/1: Liquor Licence Traders Survey Form: 1939;
  • WB/Flitt4/1/Pots/FH4: counterpart lease: 1939;
  • WW2/AR/CO2/2: bomb dropped nearby: 1940;
  • WB/Flitt4/2/1: schedule of deeds: 1949;
  • PSW3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1949-1953;
  • Hi/PH2/1/27: photographs: 1959;
  • PL/PH2/1-4: photographs: 1960s;
  • Z50/90/9-11: photographs: 1972;
  • PCWoburn30/12: transfer of license: 1991.

Licensees: 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:

1876-1881: William Odell;
1881-1889: Charles Bowler;
1889-1914: David Giltrow (bankrupt early 1914);
1914-1934: Howard Fowler Stimpson;
1934-1936: William Cecil Robinson;
1936-1938: Albert Rogers;
1938-1939: Frederick Dudley Gerald Taylor;
1939-1953: Ethel Maud Taylor;
1991: Ronald Balfour McCartney;
1991: Stephen Barrie Swan