History of Roxton
Valuer's notebook for inventory on death of John King in 1891
The rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every piece of land and building in the country was to be assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. Roxton, like most of the county, was valued in 1927 and the valuer visiting the Pear Tree public house (as it then was) [DV1/C198/128] described it as a detached brick and slate property compris- ing a tap room, living room, kitchen, scullery, cellar and four bedrooms. Trade was not great, just half a barrel per week in winter and one barrel in summer with very little spirits sold. It had a hoarding on the wall facing the Bedford to St.Neots road about fifty feet by ten feet. It also had 0.72 of an acre of land with it on which were a stable for two horses, a range of piggeries, a barn and chaff shed, a shelter and an open hovel.
Sale particulars for The Chequers in 1862
Chequers Public House, High Street, Roxton
The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The entry for the Chequers [HER12461] states that the building dates to the 19th century, is of brick construction with a slate roof.
The first reference to this public house in any document held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in 1777 when William Speary or Spearey devised it in his will to his wife Mary for her life, it was then to pass to their two sons Thomas and William [WG2228]. Clearly if the current building is 19th century then it must have been re- built at some stage, though surviving records do not tell us when.
The Chequers stayed with the Spear(e)y family until 1850 when William Speary sold it to Charles King
The Pear Tree in 1884
The Pear Tree Public House, 36 Park Road, Roxton
It is not quite clear when this former beerhouse was built but it seems most likely that it was the messuage described as being erected by George Bossingham in 1851 [GK301/8]. Certainly the countywide licensing register of 1876 gives 1851 as the date of first licensing; the property was then a beerhouse. The deeds to the establishment [GK301]
show that there had been a cottage on the site, the junction of Park Road and Bedford Road (shown on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1884), since at least 1674.
George Bossingham died in 1879 having devised the Pear Tree to trustees for sale [Gk301/14]. It was purchased by William Pritzler Newland [GK301/14], the Bedford brewer who immediately sold it to Richard Henry Beaumont Beaumont, a major in the Royal Engineers [GK301/15]and also took a 21 years lease on it [GK301/21]. The Beau- mont family continued owners whilst Newland assigned the lease to the new company of Newland & Nash in 1897. The firm purchased the public house outright in 1932 from the trustees of Lindesay Beaumont Beaumont [GK301/19] who had inherited it from Richard Henry Beaumont Beaumont in 1884. Six years later, in 1938 Newland & Nash was bought out by Biggleswade brewers Wells & Winch. At some point after 1940 and before 1976 the inn closed. It re- mains a private house to the time of writing .
Royal Oak about 1925 [WL722]
The Royal Oak Public House: 33 High Street, Roxton
The first mention of the Royal Oak in any document at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in 1819 when James Ayers devised it to his son John Wood Ayers in his will, which was proved in 1820 [WL1000/1/Rox1/1]. James Wood Ayers sold the place in 1866 to Saint Neots [Huntingdonshire] brewer Thomas Chapman [WL1000/1/Rox1/2] who only kept it for a year before selling to Bedford brewer Bingham Newland who was using Sir William Long’s old brewery in Saint Paul’s [WL1000/1/Rox1/3]. This business was sold to Thomas Jarvis in 1874 and Jarvis’ business was sold to Charles Wells Limited in 1910 and the Royal Oak remains a Wells house at the time of writing . Today’s building is not the original inn but a building very much in the Charles Wells style. The original building was, presumably, pulled down and rebuilt some time just after 1910.
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. Roxton, like most of the county, was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting the pub- lic house was valued under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act and the valuer considered it a “very good building…well built” consisting of a tap room, parlour, kitchen, scullery and three bedrooms and “no land at all” although it did have a stable and cow shed, barn “very old & dilapidated” and a pail closet. He did note that “Trade ought to be more” in fact it consisted of only 18 gallons of beer a week along with a small bottles and spirits trade.
Roxton Church March 2007
Roxton is an ancient parish in the Barford Hundred. It was formerly bordered by the ancient parish of Eaton Socon to the north, this became the civil parish of Staploe in 1965 when the town of Eaton Socon was moved into Huntingdon- shire (now Cambridgeshire). The parish was bordered to the north-west by Colmworth, to the west by Wilden, to the south by Great Barford and Blunham and to the east by Tempsford.
The ancient parish included the hamlets of Chawston, which lies due north and Colesden which lies north-west of the village of Roxton. Wyboston, as noted above, was added in 1965 and lies north-east of Roxton, partly along the Great North Road, the modern A1. On 1st April 2007, however, these three hamlets became a separate civil parish known as Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden. This drastically reduced the size of the parish of Roxton to about a quarter of its former size. The modern civil parish is bordered to the east by Tempsford, to the south by Blunham and Great Bar- ford and to the north and west by Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden. The boundary remains the Great Ouse in the east and much of the south of the parish but the new border to the west and part of the north is the carriageway of the A421.
Ivy Cottage - 20 High Street March 2010
Directories first reveal a post office in Roxton in 1847, when the postmistress was Mary Barringer. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inches to the mile map of 1884 shows the post office at the property today known as 20 High Street. By the second edition of 1901 the Post Office had moved to today’s 35 High Street. Annotations made at some date after 1927 on the 1901 map point to a new building, 14 Park Road, as the post office .
Directories for Bedfordshire were published every few years from the mid 19th to the mid 20th centuries. From these it is possible to see who the postmasters and postmistresses were. Naturally, the dates below are not beginning and end dates of their stays but simply the first and last dates they are noted in directories:
1847-1862: Mary Barringer; 1864-1869: Hugh Bentley, grocer; 1877-1894: Joseph Brimley, builder; 1898: William Howard Ekins; 1903-1924: Charles Edward Ekins; 1931-1936: Arthur J. Willmott.
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 property which had been the first known post office in Roxton, 20 High Street [DV1/H13/14] found it owned and occupied by J. King and part of a farm of 43 acres. He commented: “Poor House two thatched buildings” The house comprised a parlour, a living room, a kitchen, a pantry, three bed- rooms and a small room. The homestead comprised a cart shed; a stable for two horses; a chaff house; a loose box; an open hovel; a barn partly used as a loose box; a hen house; two loose boxes (“small”); a barn; a granary; a two bay open hovel; a cow house for five beasts; a trap house; a hay stable ad two implement sheds – all weather-boarded and thatched or weather-boarded and slated.
The post office may have moved to 35 High Street between 1894 when builder Joseph Brimley is last listed and postmaster and 1898, the first listing for a member of the Ekins family, in this case William Howard Ekins. In 1927 the valuer visiting 35 High Street [DV1/C198/62] found that it was still the post office, owned and occupied by Charles Edward Ekins. Accommodation comprised a living room, parlour and kitchen with three bedrooms above. The shop measured 15 feet by 12 feet. The valuer described the premises as “plaster and tiled old cottage used as warehouse”. Outside stood a weather-boarded and thatched wood shed, barn and washhouse along with a weather- boarded and tiled barn.
Roxton Park March 2010
Roxton was, before 1st April 2007, an extensive parish. Volume III of The Victoria County History for Bedfordshire was published in 1912, before the addition of Wyboston in 1965 (which had previously been in Eaton Socon). In 1912 the parish comprised 2,918 acres. The chief crops were wheat, barley, oats and beans.
The village of Roxton was in the extreme south-east of the parish which is low lying. The church, for example, stands at about 80 feet above sea-level and the river is just under 60 feet.
The solid, or underlying, geology is a mudstone called Oxford Clay Formation. It was laid down between 154 and 164 million years ago in the warm, shallow seas of the Jurassic Period. The superficial geology comprises a mixture of clay, sand, silt and gravel, being alluvium along the river and coarser river terrace deposits beyond. To the west and south of the village is a diamicton laid down by glaciers in the Ice Ages of the mid-Pleistocene Epoch.