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The Cat and Custard Pot Public House Shelton

The former Cat and Custard Pot Public House May 2011
The former Cat and Custard Pot Public House May 2011

The Cat and Custard Pot Public House, Shelton

The Cat and Custard Pot is the only public house recorded in Shelton. Before it opened the Neal family were beer sellers in the village. The countywide licensing register of 1876 lists George Neal as having an off-licence, probably run from his cottage. Directories and later licensing registers record Elizabeth Neal as running an off-licence selling beer between at least 1890 and at least 1903. The countywide licensing register of 1903 states that the Neals’ business was first licensed prior to 1869, that their premises were in “fairly good” condition and that they stood a mile and a quarter from the nearest licensed property.

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. It is likely that Shelton, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting the Cat and Custard Pot [DV1/C121/20] found it owned by a Mrs. Whitehead, of Shelton Hall, leased to Higgins and Sons Brewery of Bedford and occupied by Henry Chattle who paid rent of £2/18/4 per month, which included 14 acres of land as well as the public house. Henry Chattle had been licensee of the Crown public house in nearby Lower Dean between at least 1906 and 1922.

The valuer noted: “Newly built place. Built 1913”. Accommodation comprised a tap room (“good”), a parlour, a cellar, a pantry, a living room, a skittle room and three bedrooms. Trade consisted of half a barrel of beer and half a gallon of spirits per week as well as a “fair tobacco trade”. The cellar was on the ground floor, rather than being subterranean, and may either have been part of the house or a separate outbuilding.

Higgins and Sons was taken over by Biggleswade brewery Wells and Winch in 1927, the business being officially conveyed in 1931 [GK297/1]. New sanitary accommodation was built in 1947 [RDBP3/861]. In 1961 Wells and Winch was taken over by Bury Saint Edmunds [Suffolk] brewer Greene King. The owner of the property has indicated to Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records service that deeds show the property ceased to be a public house in 1968.  It then became a private house called Three Ways. One of the old signs is held by the Northamptonshire Museum.


  • GK4/7: schedule of deeds: 1927;
  • GK297/1: conveyance from Higgins and Sons to Wells and Winch: 1931;
  • BTNegOB50/4a-b: negative image: 1931;
  • Z951/12/1: lease of a cottage to the licensee: 1940;
  • RDBP3/861: plans for additional sanitary accommodation: 1947  

Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known

1913-1922: William Holmes;
1922-1936: Harry Chattle;
1938: William Headland;
1938-1947: George Arthur Slope;
1947-1948: Peter Humphrey Crane.