Blunham Pubs : The Queens Head

By Bill Exley

The Queens Head - c1900 - 1910


     A quiet tranquil scene of The Queens Head and Blunham Village square, around the early 1900's - Note the childen's Victorian clothes and adjoining cottages, leading up The Hill and West to the village of Great Barford then Bedford eight miles away. The second cottage up from the Queens Head was occupied by a Mr Ben Sims, a coffin maker, also the Father of Albert Sims, a well known Blunham character and his son Alan .

    The Queens Head Beerhouse, now a private dwelling was formely 5, High Street, overlooks the village square and St Edmunds or St James Church, the large corner building opposite was a shop owned by the Judd family. Today a plaque - 'The Ragged Staff' is near the door of the Queens Head so preserving our village history, as so Plaques at - The Oak Beerhouse along The High St - (91 now) , then going West up The Hill and old Post Office at number 12, then we have 2 and 4 High Street, two thatched cottages in the square opposite The Queens Head. - The Ovens (a bygone Bakery) and Battle Cottage both from 1699 by a plaque on the cottage wall. The large wall- sign of The Queens Head tells us it was Wells's Bedford Ales & Stout on sale at the time for the land workers. - c1895.

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. - ( the Queens Head had three names )

It was probably serving 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 keep their regulars not to leave them.

Farming was so labour intensive so needed many, many land workers, being 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 or Potatoe crop harvests in season. This Beerhouse was formely The Ragged Staff, changing to The Salutation in 1786 and finally The Queens Head from 1847 to c.1926 when it finally called Last Orders Please



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 Queens 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 (or Kither ?) 1894-1897
Sold to Charles Wells , Brewers of Bedford
Wm. & Hannah Giggle . (Grandad and Grandmum to a Mr Brown, the Gamekeeper at Tempsford - Hall, - 2 miles away) - 1897-1904
Hannah Giggle ,Widow 1904-1908
John Burton 1908-1914
Now we have a Blunham Population of 603 - served by the 8 Pubs in -
Herbert Currant, who later moves over to The Horseshoes, stays for 30yrs - (40yrs as a Landlord)

The Queens Head is sold by Chas. Wells to a father & son, - ‘both’ called Harry, Thom. Dennis. Later closes during 1926



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It now becomes a Police House, so for Local Interest, some Tenants from records researched.
PC Harry Ashton and family. - New ref - a 'Bygones' entry from a local Newspaper, dated - 08/03/1991 - Biggleswade Chronicle, by a Mrs King (nee Ashton) daughter and one of 11 brothers and sisters. - ref. this 1927 entry. - (copy to hand )
Pc Harry Whitemore then later PC Jack Frith & families
Henry, Stanley Green, (a Great Barford man)

Peter and Rosalie Davis , then later only one Occupier - Son ?

Oct 1957- 2000


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Last Revision made this day by Bill Exley on : - 8th Mar-2024

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