The Musgrave Arms Public House Shillington
The Musgrave Arms April 2015
The Musgrave Arms Public House [formerly the Royal Oak]: 16 Apsley End Road, Shillington
The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that this public house, owned by Charles Bottoms of Shillington, was then called the Royal Oak, although the Post Office Directory of 1869 calls it by its current name of the Musgrave Arms! The name Musgrave Arms is first mentioned in a directory of 1864, it is taken from the family who were Lords of the Manor of Aspley Bury. Charles Bottoms is referred to as a beer retailer in directories of 1847, 1853, 1854 and 1862 so it seems likely that his establishment was a beerhouse before becoming fully licensed between 1862 and 1864. There is no corresponding licensed premises on the countywide licensing list for 1828 so it seems the pub had its genesis between 1828 and 1847.
In 1904 the property was acquired by Baldock [Hertfordshire] brewers Simpson and Company. 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 Musgrave Arms in 1926 [DV1/C62/97] found that the tenant, James Hillyard, paid rent of £10 per annum.
The property comprised a tap room ("fair), a beer cellar, a kitchen, a living room and four bedrooms. A pigsty lay outside. Trade was less than a barrel of beer per week, having sold 38 barrels the previous year. Eight dozen bottles of beer per week and one gallon of spirits per month were also sold. The valuer commented: "Poor as pub" and "Very poor place!" The tenant also leased 1.367 acres of arable adjoining.
In 1935 the brewer was floated on the stock market, the name changing to Simpson's Brewery Limited. In 1954 the firm was taken over by Suffolk brewer Greene King. Today  the Musgrave Arms remains a public house, one of just three left in the village.
- CRT110/102: Baldock Brewery deeds: 1816-1885;
- PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
- Z1229/2: photograph: c. 1900;
- Z1229/4: photograph: c. 1930s;
- PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
- PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s;
- PSA5/5: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1968-1995.
- CR/OH1/5: reminiscences of growing up in a house next door: 1995;
- Z1062/1/1/3: photograph: 1998.
Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known
1847-1880s: Charles Edward Bottoms;
1880s-1896: Charles Edward Bottoms junior;
1896-1917: George Hillyard;
1917-1922: Emma Hillyard;
1922-1954: James Hillyard;
1954-1987: John Hillyard;
1987-1988: Jonathan George Hillyard;
1988-1990: Richard Frank Jepps;
1990-1992: Clifford Charles Stuckey;
1993: Carole Ann Vanstone and Michael Joseph Kane;
1993-1995: Carole Ann Vanstone and Bernard Vanstone