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The Black Horse Public House Tempsford

The former Black Horse - 51 Station Road February 2016
The former Black Horse, 51 Station Road, February 2016

The Black Horse Public House: 51 Station Road, Tempsford

An abstract of title of the Black Horse survives [WG2257]. It tells us that in 1779 the cottage and ground behind it was sold by Lord of the Manor of Tempsford, Sir Gillies Payne to Roxton labourer Daniel Key. In his will of 1795 key left the cottage to his son John and John’s two sons Thomas and John after him. In 1839 John Key, son of Thomas and nephew of John, sold the cottage to William Mobbs of Tempsford. At this point the cottage had been divided in two and half of it was operating as the Black Horse, described as a public house, but clearly, from later evidence, actually a beerhouse. The Black Horse does not appear in the countywide licensing registers for 1822-1828 [CLP13] and so musy have first been licensed between 1828 and 1839.

In 1855 the beerhouse was sold by Charles Mobbs to Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire] brewer J H Day [GK175/1-2]. The Black Horse was described as: “all that messuage or cottage situated and being in Langford End in the Parish of Tempsford in the County of Bedford (formerly divided into and occupied as two tenements) called or known by the name of sign of the Black Horse Public House occupied by William Gostling with the garden or orchard lying behind the same & continuing together about one rood”. Despite this description the place was obviously a beerhouse, not a public house.John Hill Day. Francis Day succeeded as brewery owner in on his death in 1863 his wife Emily Ann took over until their son Frank took charge. In 1920 the brewery was sold to Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch.

The countywide list of licensees of 1903 [CLP19/2] recorded that the beerhouse’s sanitation was poor and it was in need of repair. The sale particulars for the Saint Neots Brewery of 1919 [GK175/2] had the Black Horse as Lot 1 describing it as being built of brick with a thatched roof. It had two bedrooms and ground floor accommodation comprised a taproom and a sitting room. There was a cellar, a coal place and a washhouse. At the rear was a large timber and tiled barn and stable, and two brick and tiled pigsties with enclosed runs. The tenant, Jemima Russell, paid rent of £11 per annum and had been in occupation for sixteen years. She had sold over 112 barrels of beer in 1912, 127 barrels in 1913 and 109 barrels in 1914.

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 Black Horse [DV1/C157/15] found that the new tenant, Percy Bone, paid rent of £15 per annum. The brick and thatched premises comprised tap room, living room, scullery, cellar and two bedrooms. Outside was a barn, pigsties, cart lodge and stables. The valuer noted: “Trade: varies from nothing to ½ barrel per week, bottles from none to 3 dozen.”

The current building was apparently built in 1933 to replace the existing beerhouse. Licensee Percy Bone died in 1940 and had a brief obituary in the Biggleswade Chronicle of 15th November: “We regret to record the sudden death of Mr Percy Bone of “The Black Horse”, Tempsford, which occurred on Saturday morning, at the age of 50 years, after a short illness. Mr Bone was also in business as a market gardener and farmer at Roxton. He was of a very quiet nature and was held in very high esteem by his very large circle of private and business friends. He was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs A Bone of Roxton and came to reside at Tempsford on his marriage to Miss F Russell and they have lived first at “The Old Black Horse” and at the new house ever since it was built. His widow survives him and for her great sympathy is felt”.

On 13th March 1957 the Black Horse was granted a full licence, changing from a beerhouse into a public house. It closed for the last time on 13th June 1967 and is now a private house.

List of Sources

  • WG2257: feoffment: 1779;
  • WG2257: will: 1795;
  • WG2257: conveyance: 1839;
  • GK175/1-2: sale of the beerhouse: 1855;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • CLP19/2: list of licensees: 1903;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • Z1306/121/1/3-5: photographs showing the Black House: c. 1905;
  • GK175/2: sale particulars: 1919;
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972.

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.

1839: John Key;
1847-1889: William Gosling;
1891-1892: Susan Gosling;
1892-1902: Charles Butler;
1902-1914: John Russell;
1919-1924: Jemima E Russell;
1924-1940: Percy Bone;
1940: F M Bone;
1957: Charles Edward Robert Vernum;
1957-1958: Edgar George Russell;
1958: James Lawford;
1958-1964: James Whitehead;
1964-1966: Douglas Richard Bunker;
1966-1967: Robert Maris

Public house closed 13th June 1967