The lock-up on The Green February 2010

The lock-up on The Green February 2010

The lock-up on The Green was listed by English Heritage in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The listing comments: "Included for its socio-historical interest". It was described as early to mid 19th Century and is built of red brick with a slate roof.

The lock-up and the pound were manorial law enforcement devices, the one for riotous people the other for straying animals. People would be kept in the lock-up to cool off before being allowed out and fined or removed to a more secure institution. Animals would be released from the pound on payment of a fine by their owner.

In 1936 Bedfordshire Historic Record Society published a volume on turnpikes and pounds in the county. The compiler, J. Steele Elliott wrote of Clophill: "1814. Record [Quarter Sessions Rolls] of a "breach of the Peace in the said Parish of Clophill; for that the said James Odell did, with Force and Violence, break open the pound there, where his ass was impounded for Trespass". Sentence: 10 Days in the gaol and fined one shilling". The brick-built Pound is of 19th century construction; it adjoins the village Cage and stands on the south side of the Green; it measures 22 feet square".

Other extracts from Quarter Sessions records reveal that it was recommended that the lock-up be built in 1840 [QEV1]. In 1856 it was recommended that the lock-up be rebuilt and that £4 from the police rate be allowed to cover the cost [QSM39, page 256]. In the event the £4 was duly paid on completion of the rebuilding the following year [QSM39 page 391]. In 1892 it was stated that the lock-up belonged to Lord Cowper, owner of the Wrest Park Estate, and was let to "various persons" [SJV10].

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed as to its rateable value. Clophill was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting the lock up [DV1/C288/95] noted that it was owned by Luton brewer J. W. Green Limited (which owned the Flying Horse) and occupied by S. Chase. He simply commented: "Used to be village pound", "Occasionally used as store for lime etc." and "Advertising Hoarding".


Ownership History of Clophill Lock Up and Pound

The earliest references to the surviving lock up and pound in Clophill date from 1856/7 when they appear to have been built (BLARS: QSM 39 pp. 256, 391). In both 1892 and 1898 they are recorded as belonging to Lord or Earl Cowper but were let out, presumably as no longer in their original use (BLARS: SJV 10; V.L.A. 8/5). This ownership indicates that the site then belonged to the Manor of Clophill as Earl Cowper (married to Anne, Lady Lucas) was then lord of that manor. Clophill Manor had for a long time been part of the Wrest Park estate after the de Greys, Earls of Kent, obtained it in 1654, then joining that estate with the Barony of Lucas from 1702 (VCH Beds, Vol. 11, 1908, pp. 321, 326).

The Rating Valuation reference book of 1910 for Clophill (9th August) includes an entry numbered 155 for 28 perches of land at The Green in the ownership of Lord Lucas and occupied by Thomas Copperwheat (BLARS: DBV 1/29). Unfortunately the map for this part of Clophill which should accompany the reference book is missing but an additional note in another hand states that plot 155 "Includes 343". On turning to the end of the book an entry added later and numbered 343 is described as The Pound situated at The Green in the ownership of Lord Lucas. (Subsequently for some reason this entry was crossed through in red). Obviously the lock up and pound were considered to be part of the 28 perches of land which later documents indicate was a triangular area on the south side of The Green with the Pound in the north west corner, Clophill Bridge at its east and the River Flit to the south.

Thomas Copperwheat not only occupied the 28 perches in 1910 but also the Flying Horse public house (No. 153) and its lands (No. 154) which adjoined the 28 perches. However, The Flying Horse and its lands were then owned by Morris and Company (Ampthill), having been in this Ampthill brewing family since John Morris bought it in 1797 (BLARS: WE 985). By 1913 all three plots were occupied by Sydney Chase (BLARS: VLA 8/5).

During 1917-19 much of the outlying Wrest Park estate in Bedfordshire was sold off in piecemeal fashion by Baroness Lucas. On September so" 1918 for £250 through a single conveyance Baroness Lucas sold to Morris and Company (Ampthill) Ltd. two small plots of land in Pulloxhill (totalling 3 acres 1 rood 28 perches) and 29 perches in Clophill. The latter was part of O.S. plot 310, described as "Orchard Locking and Pound" (BLARS: L23/379-80, copy conveyance and letter of agreement to sell). The plan accompanying the conveyance confirms the present lock up and pound to be that referred to in this transaction. Clearly this is when the lock up and pound were added to the Flying Horse property though Morris &Co. and their tenants had been occupiers for some time before.

Morris and Co. were taken over by J.W. Green Ltd. of Luton in 1926 (BLARS: CCE 5304/3) and the latter are indicated as owners of the Pound with S. Chase as occupier by the Rating Valuation for Clophill of zs" August 1927 which describes it as "used to be village pound" (BLARS: DV2/H/22, Map; DV1/C/288, p. 95). Another line in the same entry also states "occasionally used as store for lime etc." which may refer to the lock up. In 1954 J.W. Green Ltd. merged with Flowers Breweries Ltd., taking the Flowers name. Whitbread and Co. Ltd. bought out Flowers in 1962, although the names on the public houses were not changed until 1968 (BLARS: Whitbread Catalogue - Introduction).

Stephen R. Coleman,

Historic Environment Information Officer,
Central Bedfordshire Council

16th June 2009

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