The Chequers Public House Yelden
The Chequers February 2014
The Chequers Public House, High Street, Yelden
The earliest known licensee in Yelden is Ridley Brown, whose son of the same name was baptised on 17th October 1703 [P119/1/1]. The innkeeper was buried on Christmas Day 1713. Elizabeth, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth Roughton was baptised on 6th May 1742 and Samuel Roddis was buried on 29th May 1796.
In 1803 the White Horse in Yelden was conveyed by brewer James Whittingstall to his partner William Long [BD815-816]. The tenant was Thomas Wagstaff who, in the first countywide licensing register of 1822 [CLP13] is listed as publican at the only public house in Yelden, the Chequers. This clearly raises the possibility of the Chequers having previously been called the White Horse.
The Wagstaff family had a longstanding relationship with the Chequers until the end of the 19th century. In 1849 the pub, with four other dwellings was sold by W York, a sale poster from the event surviving [WG2522]. It seems likely that it was at this point that Elizabeth Wagstaff bought the business because in the countywide licensing register of 1876 she is listed as licensee and owner. Around the turn of the century the family ceased to be connected with the establishment and it seems likely that it was then that they sold it.
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 Chequers [DV1/C190/5] found that the tenant, Matilda Waters, paid brewers Campbell Praed and Company Limited of Wellingborough [Northamptonshire] £15 per annum in rent. Accommodation comprised a tap room, a bar parlour, a skittle room, smoke room, a kitchen and three bedrooms. A weather-boarded and tiled stable for two horses, a store shed, a shed and stable and brick and corrugated iron lean-to stood outside. The tenant also leased a grass field of 0.861 of an acre adjoining.
The valuer considered trade would be about twenty gallons of beer per week on average, "Trade in bottled beers, minerals and spirits is negligible". On 10th June 1927 there were four barrels and one half-barrel in the cellar, three of them tapped. The valuer opined: "I think at least one barrel per week". It was the "only pub in parish".
The Chequers burnt down in 1950 and was rebuilt in 1953 in the form one sees it today, which resembles a village hall. The following year Campbell Praed were taken over by Northampton brewers Phipps. They, in their turn, were taken over by Watney Mann in 1960. Today  the Chequers remains the only public house in Yelden.
- BD815-816: conveyance of the White Horse: 1803;
- CLP13: Register of Alehouse Recognizances: 1822-1828;
- WG2522: sale poster: 1849
- PSS3/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: c.1901;
- PSS3/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: c.1903;
- PSS3/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Sharnbrook Petty Sessional Division: 1904-1930;
- RDBP3/47: additions to the public house: 1938;
- PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;
- PSBW8/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: c.1957-1995.
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:
1803 Thomas Wagstaff White Horse
1822-1828: Thomas Wagstaff;
1847-1876: Elizabeth Wagstaff;
1885-1898: Thomas Wagstaff;
1903: Frederick Clayton;
1906-1922: Benjamin Waters;
1922-1929: Matilda Waters;
1929-1936: Charles Watts;
1940: James Leonard George;
1963-1967: Elizabeth Louise Tathan;
1967-1972: Winifred Madge Walker;
1972-1981: Raymond Stanley Sturgess;
1981-1982: Robert Maurice Crooks;
1982-1985: David Stewart Walker;
1985-1986: Robert Sanders;
1986-1990: David James Lewis;
1990-1992: Michael Watson;
1992: Dorothy Joan Watson;
1992-1995: Peter Allan Long and Wendy Jill Long