Jolly Waggoners, Ardeley, circa 1926
David Adams (mediacas @t yahoo.co.uk) of Walkern, Stevenage, writes: I am attempting to trace the history of a public house in Ardeley called The Jolly Waggoners and it's publicans between the dates shown. It was earlier know as the New Bell I believe. At one time it was owned by Simpsons brewery of Baldock and is currently owned by Greene King Brewery. I have contacted Greene King but to no avail and can find nothing about Simpsons Brewery. My reason wanting to know is for an 86 year old lady who was born in The Waggoners and she is desperate to know more. Her maiden name was Green.
Tracking down the history of public houses is easier than most other town or village buildings because they often kept the same trading name for hundreds of years. However in researching the history of a given establishment it is important to realise the distinction between the coaching inns and other more significant establishments, and the common beer house. The problem is that while the names of the former are often recorded in documents such as census returns and trade directories, beer houses may only be recorded under the name of the publican - which of course could easily change, and were sometimes missed altogether - as for the smaller beer house the landlord may have had an additional occupation - and be recorded under that.
A check of the Hertfordshire Kelly's directories for Ardeley in 1914 and 1922 identifies the following establishments:
|Cannon John Henry,
Old Bell Public House
Dearman Catherine (Mrs), beer retlr
Doughton Wm, beer retlr, Luffenhall
Simons Arthur, beer retlr. Moor Grn
Draper William, Horse & Groom P H, Cromer
Dyer William Henry, Chequers P.H., Woodend
|Doughton Wm. beer retlr,
Green Wallace, beer retailer
Simons Arthur, beer retlr, Moor Green
Draper William, Horse & Groom P H, Cromer
Clemo George, Chequers P H, Woodend
This show that a Wallace Green (presumably your friend's father) was a beer retailer in Ardeley in 1922, but was not listed in 1914. By comparing the lists it seems possible that he may have succeeded Mrs Catherine Deerman, and the Old Bell Public House may have closed, but it is dangerous to jump to conclusions from just one comparison such as this.
In tracing the history of beer retailers in a village it is a great help to know the local geography. (I have never visited Ardeley, while your friend was born there, and you live in adjacent Walkern.) It is also a help to have access to a good local studies library and I believe there is a good library in Stevenage, and in any case you are not far from HALS at Hertford. The way forward would be for you to extend the information in the above table to other years along the lines of the information given on The Inns & Public Houses of Walkern.
Your starting point should be the book Hertfordshire Inns & Public Houses and the earlier Hertfordshire Inns (Part 1) which gives information on the public houses in the village, including the Jolly Waggoner. There may also be some local history books on the shelves which cover Ardeley (I have nothing to hand here) which mention the old public houses.
Stevenage Library should have some earlier Post Office/Kelly's directories - while HALS should have a near complete set - and some are available online or on CD. I don't know if Stevenage Library has microfilms of the Ardeley census returns - but HALS does - and all years (1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901) are available online (usually for a fee). As you know the address you may be able to purchase the 1911 census return for the Jolly Waggoner (very expensive) if you cannot wait until it become available online - possibly some time in 2008.
HALS should also have licensing records - but I have no experience of using them.
Because, unfortunately, many of the references to beer houses will not be named the task is a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle, but with any luck you should be able to trace the landlords of the Jolly Waggoners back to 1841 - and may find some interesting additional history on the way.
I will be interested to hear what you find - so it can be shared with others.
A brief history of the pub is in the Jolly Waggoner web site
If you can add to the information given above tell me.
Page created November 2007