The history of the Plough Inn

Here we explore the history of The Plough Inn – from the building and area to landlords and landladies over the years.

From the Bedford Borough Council website here:

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

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;
1960s: Wally Fields (A manager at Vauxhall?);
1970s: Lez & Milly Pope?;
1985-1990: Norman Bryan Costin and Clive Costin;
1990-1991: Dennis R. Billington;
1991-1992: Patricia Diane Rose Barny;
1992: John Given;
David & Carol Worsley;
Oasthouse Inns;
Fullers purchased the property;
2006-2015; Roger & Theresa Burden
2015-Now ; Christopher & Caroline Ross