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The Green Dragon Public House Upper Gravenhurst

The former Green Dragon September 2017
The former Green Dragon September 2017

The Green Dragon Public House: 69 High Street, Upper Gravenhurst

Court rolls for the Manor of Upper Gravenhurst alias Tewelsbury tell us the early history of the Green Dragon [CRT130 Gravenhurst3]. In May 1744 Samuel Paine surrendered the copyhold Green Dragon, occupied by his niece Ann Peirson, to the use of his will. In that will he devised the pub to his niece for her life and, after her death, to his brother John Paine. As it happened both Ann and John died before Samuel and the Green Dragon went to Samuel’s friend Joseph Cole of Shefford for sale. In October 1771 Enoch Hine was admitted to half the property and John Burley to the other half [WJ195].

In 1807 John Burley’s son Thomas was admitted tenant to the Green Dragon, under the will of his father [WJ196]. Thomas Burley made his will in 1830 and in 1833 his son, also Thomas, was admitted to the Green Dragon [GK125/1].

Thomas Burley junior died In 1845, his will of 1844 being proved that year, leaving everything to his wife Mary [WJ197] who was admitted tenant in 1846 [GK125/2]. In 1871 Mary Burley mortgaged the Green Dragon to William George of Sharpenhoe, butcher, for £3,800 [GK125/3]. There was now an adjoining house, newly built, and occupied by Mary. In 1875 the pub was enfranchised, or made freehold [GK125/4]. The owner was now William George, Mary Burley having forfeited her mortgage payments in 1874. The same year as the Green Dragon was enfranchised George sold it to Bedford brewers William Pritzler Newland and Frederick Thomas Young for £610 [GK125/6]. In 1876 Newland dissolved his partnership with Young and formed Newland and Company. In 1890 he entered a business partnership with Susan Nash, widow of Bedford brewer William Joseph Nash of Nash and Company, the new firm being called, not unreasonably, Newland and Nash. This firm was taken over by Biggleswade brewer Wells and Winch in 1922. Wells and Winch was bought by Suffolk brewer Greene King in 1961 under which ownership the Green Dragon remained until its closure.

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 Green Dragon [DV1/C214/48] found that it comprised the following: a tap room; a kitchen; a scullery; a parlour and three bedrooms. Outside was a brick and tiled outbuilding for fowls and a loose box and standing for a single horse. Trade comprised an eighteen gallon barrel of beer per week along with seven or eight dozen bottles, along with thirteen gallons of spirits per annum. The valuer commented: “Only Pub in the place. Just a barrel a week. Tied Rent £20 a year. Poor Tenant”.

In red another, later had has noted that a washhouse was now used as a servery and that a blacksmith’s shop was now a washhouse. Neither building was mentioned in the original valuation. Rent was still £20 per annum. The Green Dragon continued in business until about 2012. It is now a private house, though the Greene King plaque is still attached to the outside wall.


  • CRT130Gravenhurst3: history of the Green Dragon;
  • WJ195: admission of John Burley to half a cottage: 1771;
  • WJ196: admission of Thomas Burley senior: 1807;
  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822 - 1828
  • GK125/1: admission of Thomas Burley junior: 1833;
  • WJ197: will of Thomas Burley junior: 1844-1845;
  • GK125/3: mortgage: 1871;
  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • GK125/4: enfranchisement: 1875;
  • GK125/6: conveyance: 1875;
  • Z760/1/5: photograph: c. 1900;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • PSA5/3: list of premises taken over by Wells & Winch on voluntary liquidation of Newland & Nash: 1936;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s

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:

1807-1828: Thomas Burley;
1847-1854: Mary Burley;
1862: John Cooper, shoemaker;
1869: Mary Cooper;
1876-77: Henry Burley;
1877-1886: John Dennis;
1886-1887: Frederick Readman;
1887-1889: Thomas Miller;
1889-1922: Elizabeth Miller, shopkeeper;
1922-1924: Wilfred James Harper;
1924-1932: Charles Burley;
1932-1933: Sarah Burley;
1933-1954: Charles Henry Burley;
1954-1959: Jack Davis;
1963-1973: Frederick Arthur Mills;
1973-1976: Richard Thomas Pool;
1976-1991: Brian Robert Reed;
1991-1992: Brian Joseph Coyne;
1992-1995: William Charles Stoten