The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

Licensed premises

Up until 1959 Clophill had six public houses for a population of about 1000. They were the Flying Horse, the Green Man, the Compasses, the New Inn, the Rising Sun and the Stone Jug. It is difficult to find a reason for the large number. Clophill was always an agricultural community. There was some passing trade on the A6 but apart from that there is no obvious reason why the village supported so many licensed premises.


From 1522, a person wanting to sell alcoholic drinks had to apply for a licence from the Quarter or Petty Sessions. From 1617 licences were required for those running inns and in 1828 a new Alehouses Act followed by the Beerhouse Act of 1830 overhauled the system creating looser regulations for those applying for a licence which resulted in a significant rise in the numbers of licensed premises selling alcohol. As a result, drinking in pubs became increasingly popular in the 19th century.

Beerhouses, Taverns and Inns

Originally beerhouses and alehouses only sold ale or beer whilst taverns sold additional beverages such as wine and spirits. Inns and especially coaching inns were bigger establishments offering larger more comfortable rooms and accommodation.

Tied houses

From the 17th century breweries often bought pubs and tied them into only selling their beer. Eventually around 90 per cent of pubs were tied to one brewery.

The Flying Horse Public House

The earliest mention in the records of this inn is in the will of Joseph Hill, the late owner in 1731. Its position at the crossing of the north-south and east-west roads meant that it probably developed as a coaching inn. As late as 1927 it still had "stables for 5 used (for) bikes etc., stables for seven used (for) bikes etc., stable for 6 used (for) car, two loose boxes used (for) stores." as recorded in the 1925 Rating Valuation. So there was plenty of room to stable the horses of passing travellers. At the same time it is recorded that the National Omnibus & Transport Co. Ltd. had a "garage for three buses" in the adjacent yard and that the pub "Gets charabanc parties. Best pub in village." The inn remained in Morris ownership until the company (then Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited) was sold to Luton brewers J.W.Green Limited in 1927.


The Flying Horse

J.W.Green merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and thereafter took the Flowers name until the company was purchased by Whitbread in 1962. Whitbread ceased to brew and to keep public houses in 2001 but the Flying Horse remains open at the time of writing [Jan 2007] as part of the company's subsidiary Beefeater. It is now owned by Mitchells and Butlers.


1731: Joseph Hill
1741-1751: Abraham Perrin
1797 - 1828: James Maddams
1831: Welch
1839: James Maddams
1851: Mary Maddams
1854: Robert Young
1861: Daniel Brightman
1864 -1880: Thomas Worsley

1880-1888: Arthur Wilsher Mallows
1888: Charles Mallows
1888-1907: James Shotbolt
1907-1909: Thomas Copperwheat
1909-1911: Charles Henry Robinson
1911-1913: Frederick Rogers
1913-1936: Sidney Chase
1936-1954: Charles William Cross
1954-1973: Edwin Alfred Lloyd
1973-1975: Colin Campbell Joiner and Brian Joseph Minnighan
1975: John Eric Parker, Colin Campbell Joiner and Brian Joseph Minnighan
1975-1978: Colin Campbell Joiner and John Eric Parker
1978-1979: Colin Campbell Joiner
1979-1980: Norman Arthur Hards
1980-1984: Robert Lewis Ivell and Thomas Aitken
1984-1985: John Tomlinson Holmes and David Anthony Ratcliffe
1985-1986: Colin James Trignell
1986-1987: Malcolm Doig Starling and Graham Pollard
1987-1988: Malcolm Doig Starling and John Crawford
1988-1989: John Phillip Jackson and John Crawford
1989: John Phillip Jackson and Keith Moreton
1989-1991: Ian Cross and Keith Moreton
1991-1992: John Philip Jackson and Keith Moreton
1992-1994: Roger Clive Pritchard and John Philip Jackson
1994: Deborah Younger
1994-1995: Deborah Younger and Anthony David Hudson

Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known.

The Green Man Public House

This is another old inn and it was first mentioned in the will of John Richardson in 1758 when it was known as the Shepherd & Dog. He was recorded as being an "alekeeper" in the record of the baptism of one of his children in 1719 so it may date from that time. It came into the ownership of Biggleswade brewers Wells & Company in 1832. In 1899 it became Wells & Winch until it merged with Greene King in 1963. The Green King plaque is still on the front wall. Under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act it was recorded that they "get Luton Police & a stati fair once a year".

What the Luton Police did there is not recorded but the "stati fair" was a Thurston's fun fair which was held in the field behind the pub, known as Garton's field after the land lady.

The Green Man

The Green Man

Statute Fairs were formerly held in towns and villages for the hiring of servants and farm labourers. Prospective workers would gather, often sporting some sort of badge or tool to denote their speciality. Shepherds held a crook or a tuft of wool, cowmen brought wisps of straw, dairymaids carried a milking stool or pail and housemaids held brooms or mops; this is why some hiring fairs were known as mop fairs.

Employers would look them over and, if they were thought fit, hire them for the coming year, handing over a shilling to seal the arrangement.


before 1758: John Richardson
1758: William Richardson
1789: Thomas Seabrooke
1798: Mrs.Skevington
1812: Mary Pack
1813: Mary Chipperfield: will
1822: John Palmer
1828 Charlotte Palmer
1835: George Palmer
1839: Jeremiah Odell
1851-1854: Joseph Keech
1861-1864: Mary Keech
1869: David Varney (& butcher) 1877: David Varney

1877-1879: Mary Ann Varney
1879-1886: Henry Franklin
1886: Matilda Franklin
1886-1903: Joseph Billington
1903-1909: Edward James Cole
1909-1913: Alburn Charles Garton
1913-1940: Martha Garton
1940-1955: Jack Hardwicke
1955-1956: Kenneth William Walker
1956-1967: Thomas Jordan
1967-1969: Jack Mellor
1969-1975: Florence Mellor
1975-1983: James Michael Barratt
1983-1989: Michael Matthew Walker
1989: Christine Frances Walker
1989-1995: Ian Allen

Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known.

How the Clophill Statty came to be is not known as there is no record of Clophill being granted a royal statute to hold a fair.

The Green Man is a spirit of the wild woods. The original images are in churches as a face peering through or made of leaves and petals; this character is the Will of the Wisp, the Jack of the Green. Some pub signs will show the green man as he appears in English traditional sword dances (in green hats).

The Compasses Public House

The first recorded mention of the Compasses is in a conveyance of 1828 when it was called the Red Cow. It was bought by Joseph Morris and remain in the ownership of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Ltd until it was sold to Luton brewers J.W.Green Ltd in 1927. The company merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and the new company took the Flowers name; in 1962 Flowers was taken over by Whitbread. The public house closed in 1992 and is now a private house.

The Compasses

The Compasses


1822-1828: James Horn; 1839-1850: William Maddams
1851-1854: John Gudgin
1864-1869: Mrs Mary Gudgin
1877-1906: James Liles Quenby
1906-1908: John Fadden
1908-1911: Amos Roberts
1911-1912: John George Lynch
1912-1935: Frederick Charles Butler
1935: Ellen Winifred Butler
1935-1944: David Sheppard
1944-1954: Francis William Jeffcoate
1954-1955: Edward George Atwell
1955-1975: Clara May Atwell (later Eaton)
1975-1978: Alfred Harry Kerridge
1978-1982: Rodney Michael Hewitt
1982-1989: William John Charles Dennis Pearson
1989-1992: Glyndwr John Gauntlett and Christine Patricia Moore
Public house closed 1992

Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known.

The New Inn

As its name suggests, the New Inn is not as old as the Flying Horse and the Grren Man. It is first recorded in a directory of 1839. It was owned by Ampthill brewers John and Joseph Morris and remained in this firm's ownership until the company, then called Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited was sold to Luton brewers J.W.Green Limited in 1927. Green in its turn merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and adopted the latter company's name. The New Inn closed in 1959 and is now a private house called Innswood.

The New Inn


1839-1846: James Horn
1851-1869: John Sharp
1876-1882: George Sharp
1882-1889: John Sinfield
1889-1914: Joseph Bolus
1914-1943: Frank Sheppard
1943: Effie Maud Sheppard
1943-1959: Arthur Henry Wildman
1959: Richard James Gooch
Public house closed 22 October 1959

Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known.

The Rising Sun Public House

George Garner is the earliest known licensee holding the licence of a beer retailer from approximately 1851-1881. Under the 1830 Beer Act any householder who paid rates could apply, with a one-off payment of two guineas, to sell beer or cider in his home (usually the front parlour) and even to brew his own on his premises. This is probably how the Rising Sun started. It became a public house, on being granted a full licence, on 11 March 1954 but is now a private house. The cricketer Jack Durston , grandson of George Garner, was born in 1893. He played for Middlesex and in 1921 he played for England against Australia, when he took five wickets for 136 runs.



1851-1881: George Garner
1881-1903: Ann Garner
1903-1909: Charles Durston
1909-1910: Robert Hinton
1910-1936: Charles Durston
1936-1939: Alfred John Daniel
1939-1954: Nellie Dorothy Daniels
1954-1959: Robert Charles Kingsley
1970: Peter John Jest
1970: Ronald Frank Neale
1975: Terrence John Butler

1975-1977: Richard Nigel Coward
1977-1983: Peter Alfred George Rockall
1983-1985: Rodney Kevin Newman
1985-1989: Roger William Owen
1989: Terence Joseph Scott
1989-1994: Alistair Charles Lawrence
1994-1996: Barry Alan Moorhouse
1996: Clive Peter Harris

Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known.

Rising Sun was a symbol of the east and of optimism. The Sun In Splendour was also a livery badge of Edward IV.

The Stone Jug Public House

This public house probably started as a beer house as the census for 1861 shows that the occupier, Eliza Issit, was a Baker, Grocer and Beer Retailer. The first mention of it by name is in about 1874 in the licensing register for Ampthill Petty Sessional District.

It was planned to rename the pub the Toby Jug in 1976 when new potential owners were negotiating to buy it; the parish council strongly objected to the name change but in the event the proposed sale fell through and the name remained the same.

The Stone Jug

The Stone Jug

Interestingly, it is the only stone residence in village.


1874: James Liles Quenby
1874-1876: Frederick Upton
1876-1888: Frederick Tuffnell
1888-1892: Mary Ann Tuffnell
1892-1903: Elizabeth Martin
1903-1930: Frank Tuffnell
1930-1959: Frederick Bruce Tuffnell
1959: Leonard Frederick Tremaine
1964-1973: Cecil Arthur Rayer
1973-1976: Edward Charles Hart
1976-1977: Ernest Albert Raymond Mole
1977-1981: Richard John Hartup and Robert James Hartup
1981-1996: Arthur Richard Stevens and Joyce Lilian Rose Stevens
1996: Arthur Stevens

Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known.

The Talbot

The exact site of the Talbot is not known. There are three references to it in deeds from the 17th century.

In June 1654 Lord of the Manor of Beadlow, Saint John Charnock of Hulcote mortgaged property to Humphrey Monoux. One of the properties mortgaged was the Talbot Inn, described simply as being near Clophill Bridge. It had twelve acres of land adjoining. Clophill Bridge lies south-east of The Green.

In December 1655 Saint John Charnock conveyed the Manor of Beadlow to Robert, Lord Bruce, later 2nd Earl of Elgin. The inn known "by the sign of the Talbot" in the occupation of John Kent along with 66 acres of arable and 13 acres of pasture in Beadlow was included in the sale. This suggests a location somewhere near Top Farm, Beadlow, rather than near The Green in Clophill although there is a theory that Beadlow was actually at what is now called The Green at the west end of modern Clophill and that old Clophill was at the east end of the village.

The last mention of the inn is in 1685 when the inn with sixty acres of adjoining land and other property was conveyed by Robert, Earl of Ailesbury to Charles Pigeon of Grays Inn [Middlesex] with Simon Urlin of Ampthill as his trustee.

The above information is mostly taken from the Bedford & Luton Archives & Records Service website.