Blunham Pubs : The Queen's Head

By Bill Exley

The Queen's Head. c1896 - 1906

A quiet, tranquil scene of The Queen's Head in Blunham village square, in the early 1900's - Note the childen's Victorian or Edwardian ? clothes and adjoining cottages, leading up The Hill and West to the village of Great Barford. The second cottage up from the Q.H. was occupied by a Mr Ben Sims, a coffin maker.

The Queen's Head, now a private dwelling, was formely 5, High Street, overlooks the village square and the Church, the large corner building opposite, was a shop owned by the Judd family. Today a plaque - 'The Ragged Staff' is near the door, so preserving our village history .

Any history of licensed premises in Blunham is complicated by the fact that there have been two seperate Pubs / Beerhouses both starting as the Ragged Staff and later The Salutation, so I will keep them seperate to avoid confusion.

This 'Ragged Staff' was a Beerhouse / or Ale House, the Authorities term, (see my link - The Beerhouse, ref 12 of Misc & Mash) , and probably served up pints well ‘before’ 1846, but these records were not around to support this. It is interesting to see from my researches of Blunham Pubs, that some tenancies changed hands many times after only short periods, but there were exceptios. Some owners even took the previous name with them on a move, as regards The Salutation being renamed The Old Salutation, trying to attract their regulars to follow.

There were many, many land workers, as all farming was so labour intensive and reliant on man power, before the advent of machinery. Most were regular drinkers due to the very nature of their work, using most of the 8 village ’drinking holes’. They picked Brusell Sprouts, or Bruselling, by hand, in the season with freezing conditions. This Beer House was formely The Ragged Staff, changing to The Salutation in 1786 and finally The Queen's Head from 1847 to c.1925 when it finally called Last Orders Please.

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The Ragged Staff, later to be The Salutation during - 1786- 1846
Henry Usher sells The Salutation (then) for £345 to a Joseph Lovell. 1846- 1865
1st Licence - and renamed - The Queen's Head
Lovell sells the Inn to a Herbert, Albury Dunnage 1865-1869
James Boness. 1869-1889
Robert Beadle 1889-1891
Eliz. White 1891-1893
William, John White ( 1yr . ) 1893-1894
Records show a James, John Kither and Jane Arthur (Arthur Jane?) were also domicile
William James Phipper (Kither?) 1894-1897
Sold to Charles Wells , Brewers of Bedford
William Giggle 1897-1904
Mrs Hannah Giggle 1904-1908
Grandad and Grandmum of a Mr Brown, the Gamekeeper at Tempsford Hall Est. (2 miles away)  
John Burton 1908-1914
. Now a Blunham Population of 603 - seved by the 8 Pubs in - 1909
Herbert Currant, who later moves over to The Horseshoes, stays for 30yrs - (40yrs as a Landlord)

The Queen’s Head is sold by Chas. Wells to a father & son, - ‘both’ called Harry, Thom. Dennis, later the Pub Closes, during 1926 -


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  • Bygones - The Queens Head now becomes a Police House, so for Local Interest, some proven, - Ocupiers/Tenants, from records researched.
PC Harry Ashton and family. - ref - seen in a 'Bygones' entry of a local Newspaper - by a Mrs King / nee Ashton , daughter and one of 11 brothers and sisters. so verifies the 1927/34 entry. . . @ - 08/03/1991 - B. Ex - record to hand 1927-1934
Pc Harry Whitemore, then PC Jack Frith & families 1934-1942
Henry, Stanley Green, (a Great Barford man) 1942-1957
Peter and Rosalie Davis, but now c2000, only one occupier - Son ? Oct 1957 to date

Origin of - 'The Ragged Staff '

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Last Revision on - 22nd Nov / 2021 - by Bill Exley

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