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The Cock Beerhouse Tebworth

4 Hockliffe Road February 2013
4 Hockliffe Road, February 2013

4 Hockliffe Road is a 19th century red brick building comprising two storeys beneath a slate roof. During the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th century it was a beerhouse called The Cock. We do not know when it was first licensed but it does not appear in the countywide licensing register of 1822 to 1828 [CLP13], so clearly post dates this period. There is a gap in local licensing registers until the countywide licensing register of 1876 and the Cock is included in this, owned by John Warner Adams of Hockliffe.

Directories were not published every year for Bedfordshire but every few years. A directory of 1869 lists a John Lidgate as a beer retailer in Tebworth. He is also listed in 1864, 1854 and 1853 (as Lidgett). The first directory to list Chalgrave trades, that of 1847 lists no beer retailers. If Lidgate was a previous licensee of the Cock, and this is not provable from records available at Bedfordshire and Luton Archive and Record Service, this suggests that it may have first been licensed between 1847 and 1853.

The Leighton Buzzard Division licensing register [PSLB4/3] states that the beerhouse was closed between October 1878 and October 1879 "through neglect in taking out a licence" presumably due to death or other indisposition of Thomas Chapman as when the licence is renewed it is by Sarah Chapman.

The countywide licensing register of 1903 notes that the beerhouse was leased by Benskins & Company of Watford [Hertfordshire] and owned by trustees of late J. W. Adams of Hockliffe. It notes: "licensed prior to 1869". The rehister also notes that the house was: "in bad repair, dirty, sanitary arrangements bad". It was 44 yards from the nearest licensed premises [the Queen's Head] and had one front and one back door.

In 1909 Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, brought out a pioneering budget which can be seen as foreshadowing the welfare state in that it introduced old age pensions. To pay for this and other facets of the budget Lloyd George decided that he needed an overhaul of rates and to do this he needed a complete survey of all buildings and land in the country to determine new rateable values, to be undertaken in the year following the budget. Surprisingly this was the first nationwide survey of property since the Domesday Book of 1086 and so came to be known as the 1910 Domesday Survey. The surveyor visiting Tebworth [DBV2/4] found that the property was owned by the executors of J J R Adams of Hockliffe and occupied by Ruth Harris. It is described as: "beerhouse Cock Inn garden and premises". The beerhouse closed for the last time in 1911.

In 1919 the former beerhouse was put up for sale by auction along with a number of other local properties [HN7/1/HOC2]. The occupier was then Mrs. A. Harris whose annual rent was £10 per annum. A further nationwide rating valuation exercise was taken out by direction of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925. The valuer visiting Tebworth [DV1/C15/116] found that the owner was now J. Osborn and the occupier F. Harris. The property occupied just under a quarter of an acre and comprised a reception room, a living room and a scullery downstairs with three bedrooms above. Outside were two old beer cellars, a brick and slate earth closet and a slate barn. the valuer commented: "old pub".

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list ; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

1876-1878: Thomas Chapman;
1879-1892: Sarah Chapman;
1892-1898: Frederick Barnes;
1898: Lewis Smith;
1898-1905: William Harris;
1905-1911: Ruth Harris.
Public house closed 1911


  • PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956;
  • HN7/1/HOC2: sale particulars of the former beerhouse: 1919.