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 sign, 'The Ragged Staff' is near the door, so preserving village history of a bygone day.

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, (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
1847
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
1894
William James Phipper (Kither?) 1894-1897
Sold to Charles Wells , Brewers of Bedford
1895
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
Herbert Currant, who later moves over to The Horseshoes, stays for 30yrs - (40yrs as a Landlord)
1914-1924

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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The old 'Q.H.' is now locally known as 'The Police House' and as such occupied by the following Tenants -

 
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. (B.Ex - 8/3/1991) 1927-1934
Pc Harry Whitemore, PC Jack Frith and families   1934-1942
Henry, Stanley Green, (a Great Barford man) 1942-1957
Peter and Rosalie Davis Oct 1957 to 1983

Origin of - 'The Ragged Staff '

My research into the origin of the local pub name, 'The Ragged Staff' used by two pubs, led me all the way back to 1268 and the Coat of Arms of the Earls of Warwickshire. It is here we find within the Quarterings of the shield, a Bear and a Ragged Staff, (a ragged staff is from the branch of a ‘young’ tree stripped of its leaves). There is no local historical connection, as I first thought, but a nationwide usage of these pub names, such as The Bear, Ragged Staff , King's Arms, The George and The Queen's Head in general use nationwide. The usage by a Public House to do this, was to show allegiance to the King / Queen. - - 3/06/2021. / B.E.

O * O * O

Answer to 'Cell of Doom' - Ref 15 'Misc & Mash'., The question the prisoner deduces is, "will you ask your mate, which door do I walk out of to my Freedom" ? What ever answer he gets from 'any' guard, he will reverse it, so he walks out to certain freedom. Assume he asks Gd/1 and say he is the truthfull one, he asks Gd/2 (the Liar) he gets a lie and our Gd/1 repeats the reply he got, to our prisoner, who now Reverses it, so walks out. So it must apply in the reverse assumption of guard choice. / Back to Misc and Mash , if Req .


Last Revision - 5th Sept. / 2021 - by Bill Exley

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