The Plough Public House Wingfield
The Plough November 2014
The Plough was listed by the former Department of Environment in September 1980 as Grade II, of special interest. They date the building as 18th century. It is built of colour-washed brick and comprises two storeys beneath a thatched roof. The place might have been built as a public house or may have become one later, without deeds it is impossible to say. We know, however, that it was certainly a pub by 1822 when it was included in the countywide register of alehouse recognizances [CLP13]. It seems to have been kept by the Floyd family for over thirty years in the first half of the 19th century. At this date the public house was not owned by Ampthill brewers John and Joseph Morris, as it was later, because an inventory of their property made in 1827 [Z1043] does not include it.
In 1846 Joseph Floyd kept the Plough and he had an earthenware pot stolen [QSR1846/1/5/29-30]. On Monday November 24th 1845, at about 9 pm men named Henry Barley and John Hart, as well as others were drinking there. Several of them went out. Directly afterwards Barley left carrying an earthenware quart pot. Floyd supposed Barley took it out to drink beer in the yard. Within a minute he went to the door to look for Barley but he and the others (including Hart) were gone, with his pot. He gave information to PC Samuel Hornal. Hart and some others (not Barley) came to him late that night and said they had come to pay for the beer. Either Hart or a man named Franklin said they would pay for the pot too but Floyd refused to be paid for it as it was in the policeman’s hands. He had heard that Barley was in custody before the others came to him so clearly they were worried that they were in trouble. Floyd thought "they all seemed rather fresh when they came to his house on Monday", in other words, they were a bit unruly.
PC Hornal reported that Barley said, when taken into custody: “I know I did very wrong and I must stand the racket”. The policeman said that he went to Hart’s to search for the pot but could not find it. He reported Hart as saying: “I know we took the pot and done wrong but I think Floyd will settle it with us”. He then also took Hart into custody, Hart begging Hornal to go and see Floyd as he would "settle it with them".
Henry Barley himself said that they went to the railroad after work. This would, presumably, be the Leighton Buzzard-Dunstable railway line, then in the process of being built. It must have been a diversion to the locals to see something so new. Barley added that they "had no victuals all day". They called at Floyd’s and he had some beer which, on an empty stomach "got the better of him". He said he know nothing about the pot and was "off his guard" and if he did take the pot he did not know what he did with it.
The Bedford gaol register [QGV10/2] tells us that at his trial at quarter sessions Henry Barley escaped a prison sentence as the bill was ignored. He does not seem to have been in trouble before and was never so again. He was 32 years old and the only time he spent in prison was on remand, immediately before trial, being committed on 6th January 1846. John Hart was 24 and the same applied to him.
By 1882 the Plough was in the ownership of Morris and Company, brewers of Ampthill as it was mortgaged in that year to Susanna, Mary Jane and Sophia Morris in order to raise capital [WB/M/4/1/VP2]. It is described as having a yard, garden, barn, buildings and premises adjoining as well as 1.5 acres of land.
The countywide licensing register of 1903 noted that the pub was: "in fairly good repair, but kept untidy". It had one back door, one front door and one side entrance to a yard.
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 stated that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine the rateable value. The valuer visiting the Plough [DV1/C23/54] found that it now belonged to Luton brewer J. W. Green Limited. Green had bought out Morris & Company in 1926 [CCE5304/3]
The tenant, F W B Kingham, would pay £12 tied rent per quarter including an adjoining orchard of 1.352 acres (probably the 1.5 acres of land noted in 1882). The brick and thatch structure comprised a tap room, a sitting room, a kitchen, a cellar and three bedrooms. Outside stood a weather-boarded and tiled three bay open hovel, two old weather-boarded and tiled stables for two horses each, a coal barn and a weather-boarded and tiled earth closet.
The valuer noted: "This house will be transferred to a new tenant on 3rd December 1926". This new tenant was Kingham, the previous tenant having been Thomas King Major. Trade consisted of 1.5 barrels of beer per week, two dozen pint bottles of beer per week, 2.5 dozen bottles minerals per week and one gallon spirits per month. The valuer noted: "Tenant does not keep any account but estimates about 15/0 per day on a yearly average". His final comment was: "Isolated spot".
In 1954 J. W. Green Limited merged with Midlands brewer Flowers and though Green was the senior partner the new business took the Flowers name. Flowers was taken over by Whitbread in 1962. Whitbread divested itself of its brewing and public house business in 2001. the Plough, however, survives, the only licensed premises in Wingfield and one of only two in the parish of Chalgrave.
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1822-1828: Mary Floyd
1847-1853: Joseph Floyd;
1854-1869: William Baker;
1877-1881: James Willison;
1881-1882: James Page;
1882-1886: Thomas Brewer;
1886-1888: John Hill;
1888-1901: William Bird;
1901-1908: Albert Arthur Gibbs;
1908-1922: John Turner;
1922-1926: Thomas King Major;
1926-1953: Frederick William Breed Kingham;
1985-1990: Norman Bryan Costin and Clive Costin;
1990-1991: Dennis R. Billington;
1991-1992: Patricia Diane Rose Barny;
1992: John Given.
- CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822 - 1828;
- QSR1846/1/5/29-30: theft of an earthenware quart pot from the Plough: 1846;
- PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956
- PSW3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1868-1949;
- WB/M/4/1/VP2: mortgage of Morris & Company properties: 1882;
- WB/M/4/1/VP8: abstract of title to Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited properties: 1900-1926;
- CCE5304/1: conveyed, with other properties, to the newly formed Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: 1907;
- WB/M/4/2/1-2: lists of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited properties: c. 1926;
- CCE5304/3: conveyed, with other properties, to J. W. Green Limited: 1926;
- WB/Green6/4/1: trade analysis register: 1936-1947;
- WB/Green4/2/4: certificate of title to J. W. Green Limited properties: 1936;
- WB/Green4/2/10: schedule of J. W. Green Limited deeds and documents: c. 1949;
- PSW3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Woburn Petty Sessional Division: 1949-1953;
- WB/Green4/2/20: descriptions of J. W. Green Limited properties of historic interest: c. 1950;
- WB/Green4/2/5: list of J. W. Green Limited properties: c. 1952;
- WB/Green4/2/16: letter regarding titles to J. W. Green Limited properties: 1952;
- WB/Green4/2/17: J. W. Green Limited trust deed: 1952;
- WB/Green4/2/19: various loose J. W. Green Limited schedules of properties: c. 1954;
- WB/Green4/2/18: certificate of title of J. W. Green Limited properties: 1954;
- WB/Flow8/1/1A: photograph: 1954;
- WB/Flow8/1/1B: Flowers Breweries Limited prize winners: 1956;
- WB/Flow8/1/1C: list of pick-up points for a coach going to Flowers Breweries Limited annual convention: 1957;
- WB/Flow8/1/1D: list of Flowers Brewries Limited prize winners: 1957;
- WB/Flow4/5/Win/P1-2: exterior photographs: c. 1960;
- PCChalgrave18/4: need for a fence between properties: 1973.