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The Bedford Arms Public House Shillington

The site of the Bedford Arms July 2015
The site of the Bedford Arms July 2015

The Bedford Arms Public House: 59 Bury Road

The Bedford Arms no longer exists, having been demolished to make way for a close of modern houses around 1992. The first reference to the building is in 1829 when it was sold by auction by the trustees of the will of Sarah Hine of Silsoe to Charles Burley of Shillington, miller [GK148/1]. It was not then a public house but was described as a messuage [that is a single dwelling], barn, stable, outhouses and buildings with an orchard or pightle [a small close] or sward ground adjoining of two acres. The cost, together with a close of meadow of three acres nearby was £420. The property was copyhold of the Manor of Shillington.

In 1851 Burley mortgaged the property to Hitchin [Hertfordshire] brewer Samuel Lucas. It seems likely that it was at this point that the building became a beerhouse. The mortgage was redeemed in 1873 and in that same year Henry Burley of Shillington, publican, together with Armigel Wade of Hitchin , executors of Charles Burley who had died in July that year, sold the property, mistakenly called a public house rather than a beerhouse, to Bedford brewers William Newland and Frederick Thomas Young [GK148/10].

Newland's brewery company became Newland and Nash in 1890, which became a limited company in 1897 [GK3/1]. William Pritzler Newland died in 1900 but it was not until 1911 that his heir, Richard Summers, was admitted as tenant to the Bedford Arms [GK148/11]. Newland and Nash was taken over by Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch in 1922.

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. The valuer visiting the Bedford Arms [DV1/C63/18} found it owned by Wells and Winch and tenanted by Arthur Dilley whose rent was £8 per annum.  The valuer considered it a: "Very poor looking place". It comprised a tap room, a beer cellar, a living room, a scullery and three bedrooms with a barn and a henhouse outside. Trade consisted of one 36 gallon barrel of beer per week and six to eight dozen bottles of beer per week. The valuer further commented: "Poor entrance". The tenant also rented 2.315 acres of grass adjoining for £4/15/- per annum.

On 5th February 1948 the Bedford Arms became a fully licensed public house. In 1961 Wells and Winch were taken over by Suffolk brewers Greene King, and the Wells and Winch name was dropped two years later. The Bedford Arms closed for the last time on 30th April 1992 and was subsequently demolished.


  •  GK148/1: conveyance: 1820;
  •  GK148/3: mortgage: 1851;
  •  GK148/10: bargain and sale: 1873;
  •  SF1/274: valuation of security of Captain Newland including the Bedford Arms: 1888-1891;
  •  GK160/6: Newland and Nash mortgage: 1890;
  •  GK3/1: deed: 1897;
  •  GK148/11: admission: 1911;
  •  GK297/2: conveyed by Newland and Nash to Wells and Winch: 1928;
  •  PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • Z1169/8/65/1: plans for alterations: 1948;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s;
  • PCShillington18/3: proposed building adjacent to the Bedford Arms: 1957-1994
  • PCShillington30/7: transfer of licence: 1967;
  • PSA5/5: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1968-1995;
  • PCShillington30/10: transfer of licence: 1970.

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

1853-1873: Charles Burley;
1873-1903: Henry Burley;
1903-1909: Caroline Burley;
1909-1927: Arthur Dilley;
1927-1959: William Twydell;
1967: Jack Taylor Cooke;
1967-1970: Michael Joseph Windebank;
1970-1976: Richard Dennis Whittish;
1976-1992: William Charles Stoten.

Public house closed 30th April 1992 demolished and replaced by modern housing in Bedford Close