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The Goat Inn Woburn

13 Bedford Street May 2012
13 Bedford Street May 2012

The Goat Inn [also The Bedford Arms]: 13 to 15 Bedford Street, Woburn

The Goat inn closed in 1841 but the building still exists, being two or all of the modern Numbers 13 to 15 Bedford Street. Over eighty years later Numbers 13 and 14 were still associated with the inn. 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 Woburn in 1927 [DV1/C137/100] stated: “Rambling, was part of Goat Inn”. About Number 14 [DV1/C137/99] he again commented: ““Was part of the Goat Inn”.

The inn was an old one, being noted as early as 1649. In 1661 Sir Jonas Moore undertook a survey of the properties belonging to Woburn Manor [X1/33/2]. He noted: "THE GOAT a tenement or Inn beinge a goode howse of fower bayes a brew house a Stable and barne cont. six bayes with a garden orchard and way to the closes below". The tenant was Edward Dicks.

Evidence suggests that the 1661 Goat is in the position occupied by the later public house as it is two doors south of another public house (then called the Woolsack, the previous name for Long’s Hotel) on Bedford Street. Woburn suffered a disastrous fire in 1724 and it is possible that the old Goat was so damaged by this that it necessitated rebuilding, hence the early eighteenth century date ascribed to the buildings by the former Ministry of Works when they were listed in 1961, though noting that both the properties were re-fronting of earlier buildings. In 1818 in his Account of Woburn Stephen Dodd describes the inn as the "Goat of Bedford-Arms, Inn, Bedford Street, for Families and Commercial Travellers".

The inn was always in the ownership of the Earls, then Dukes of Bedford as Lord of the Manor of Woburn. Correspondence of the duke’s agents gives us information about the closure of the inn. In 1832 it was noted: "Gilbert [the current licensee] talked of giving it up, never cared for it except as accommodation for coaches" [R3/3723]. Closure of the inn was mooted in 1839 [R3/4098] and the duke agreed [R3/4106]. The following year the tenant, George Attwood wished to rent the George [R3/4204]. It was noted of him that: "if he had more to do [he would have] less time to imbibe strong waters". The inn finally closed in 1841 and Attwood did, indeed, move on to the George, being there at least until 1854.

14 and 15 Bedford Street May 2012
14 and 15 Bedford Street May 2012

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1661: Edward Dicks;
1709-1713: Clark;
1714-1723: Mrs.Clark;
1724-1748: Henry Clarke;
1757: Mrs.Clark;
1785-1792: Henry Clark:
1794: John Goodman;
1802: William Goodman;
1806-1809: not listed;
1810: Daniel Skinner;
1811-1814: George Baker;
1815-1839: John Gilbert;
1839-1841: George Attwood.
Inn closed 1841

List of Sources Held at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service:

  • RBox 237: manorial Court Roll: 1641;
  • P118/1/1: burial of a Welshman who died at inn: 27th April 1650;
  • X1/33/2: mentioned in Sir Jonas Moore's Survey of Woburn Estate: 1661;
  • P118/1/2: burial of a stranger who died at inn: 25th May 1663;
  • P118/1/2: burial of a strange woman who died at inn: 25th February 1687;
  • R5/79/5: accounts for building stable: 1693-1694;
  • P118/1/2: burial of a man who died at inn: 3rd November 1727;
  • L12/36-37: Henry Clarke witness to deed at inn: 1744;
  • L5/517: Henry Clarke witness to deed at inn: 1748;
  • P118/28/2: parochial assessment book: 1802-1833;
  • RBox351a: stables built: 1803;
  • P118/1/5: burial of William Goodman, late of inn: 26th October 1812;
  • Northamptonshire Mercury: John Gilbert had taken over inn: 23rd December 1815;
  • R1/78: Thomas Evans' map accompanying R2/691821;
  • R2/69: Detailed survey of Woburn made by Thomas Evans for the Duke of Bedford: 1822;
  • R3/3723: letter denigrating the inn: 1832;
  • R3/4098: closure suggested: 1839;
  • R3/4106: Duke of Bedford agreed to closure: 1839;
  • R3/4204: tenant wished to rent George: 1840