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By Kay Collins, 2009
The Chequers

When it belonged to Praed's brwery The Chequers Inn
The Chequers when Praed's Brewery owned it
and after if was sold and became a Free House

From the parish registers, the following are the probable of the landlords of the White Horse.

Ridley Brown(e) was born in the parish in 1672 and was a "victualler" in 1703.

Francis Roughton was the "innkeeper" in 1742 when his daughter Elizabeth was baptised - he died in 1777.

Deed of 1757
1757 deed leasing property from Sir Humphrey Monoux
to Robert & Susanna Smith for a year for £30.
Susannah Smith from Pertenhall had married Robert Smith a shepherd in 1739. When Robert died in 1759 he was a husbandman. Six years later his widow made her will and left property in the village to her grandson Joseph Smith son of her deceased son Francis. She left the house she lived in to Elizabeth Ruddis her daughter who had married Thomas Ruddis, father of Samuel who was the publican (died in 1796), and property in Shelton to her son John Smith. So pehaps Robert & Susan had been previous landlords at the White Horse. Susanna also mentions her kinsman Samuel Roughton of Denford and he is Executor of her will.

From a bundle of deeds, more of the landlords:-

Samuel Roddis (or Raddis or Ruddis) "publican" died in the parish in 1796. He was a labourer when he married Elizabeth Smyth in 1766. Perhaps his son Samuel continued until, in June 1800 he released his tenure to Vincent Wallis. In October the following year the lease was transferred to Whittingstall & Long (brewers of Bedford).

Thomas Wagstaff(e) was the landlord in 1818 when a deed was drawn up and he purchased the house for £135 from Sir William Long. He died inestate in 1841 and his eldest son, schoolmaster at Blakesley in Northamptonshire, made oath to administer the estate.

Another conveyance was made 20th July 1844 by release from Mr George Wagstaff to Miss Elizabeth Wagstaff.

Ann Wagstaff, widow of Thomas, was the landlady in 1845 when she gave the "Checkers" by Deed of Gift to her daughter Elizabeth Wagstaff on condition that she paid each of her four brothers the sum of £10.

In 1876 Elizabeth Wagstaff made her will and decreed that the Chequers was to be sold to her nephew Thomas for £130 and the proceeds to be equally shared amongst her neices and nephews:-

The last Will and Testament of me Elizabeth Wagstaff of Yelden in the County of Bedford Licensed Victualler Whereby I give and devise after the payment of all my just debts testamentary and funeral expenses All my property whatsoever and wheresoever I may die possessed of unto my nephews and nieces the Sons and Daughters of my late Brothers William Wagstaff Thomas Wagstaff and Newman Wagstaff namely Robert Wagstaff Thomas Wagstaff Henry Wagstaff Ann Wagstaff Emma Gilby Alice Holloway Sons and Daughter of the said William Wagstaff Thomas Wagstaff John Wagstaff William Wagstaff George Wagstaff Sons of the said Thomas Wagstaff James Wagstaff and Newman Wagstaff the sons of the said Newman Wagstaff Share and Share alike. And I hereby direct that the Public House in which I now reside with all the premises thereto belonging situate in the Parish of Yelden shall be sold to my Nephew Thomas Wagstaff the son of my late Brother Thomas Wagstaff in the sum of One hundred and thirty pounds and in case he shall refuse to purchase the same then I direct that the said Public House and premises shall be sold by public auction and the proceeds thereof shall be equally divided with all my other property between all my above named nephews and nieces share and share alike as aforesaid or to as many of them as shall be living at the time of my decease And I hereby appoint George Pearce Mitton of Wellingborough Brewers Clerk Executor of this my last Willa and Testament hereby revoking all Wills heretofore made by me at any time Witness my hand this second day of October one thousand eight hundred and seventy six Elizabeth X Wagsatff (her mark)

Signed in the presence of us who at the request of the Testatrix being present in the presence of each other subscribe our names as Witnesses James Ford Clerk Midland Road Wellingborough John F Ford Clerk Midland Road Wellingborough

On 31st August 1880 a conveyance was drawn up for Messrs Robert Wagstaff & others to sell to Mr Thomas Wagstaff.

So it would seem that her nephew purchased the property, as the following declaration was made by Thomas Wagstaff in 1898:-

Plan enclosed with Thomas' declaration
Plan enclosed with the declaration
showing the original plot and earlier buildings
and Thomas Wagstaff's signature.
Declaration – I Thomas Wagstaff of Yelden in the County of Bedford Innkeeper do solemnly and sincerely declare as follows.

I am of age of fifty nine years and upwards. By Indenture of Conveyance dated the thirty first day of August One thousand eight hundred and eighty A Messuage Cottage or Tenement and piece of ground formerly called or known by the sign of “The White Horse” and for many years past as “The Chequers” Public House situate at Yelden aforesaid and now in my occupation was granted and conveyed to such uses for such estates and in such manner as I might by Deed or by Will appoint, and in default of such appointment and so far as no such appointment should extend to the use of myself my heirs and assigns for ever. The Property was conveyed to me free from encumbrances and not subject to any mortgage. I have never heard until recently that there was at any time a mortgage upon the property (which formerly belonged to my Aunt Elizabeth Wagstaff deceased) in favour of Elias Collett Bridgman or any other person.

Since the date when the Property was conveyed to me the Title Deeds have always been in my possession and I have never been applied to for payment of Principal or Interest in respect of any Mortgage. I have therefore every reason to believe that the Mortgage which I am informed was created by demise of the Property on the eighteenth day of March One thousand eight hundred and forty three by George Wagstaff a former owner in favour of the said Elias Collett Bridgman was paid off and discharged many years ago.

And I make this solemn Declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the Provisions of the Statutory Declaration Act 1835.

Declared at Sharnbrook
In the County of Bedford

This 29th Day of July 1898 Thomas Wagstaff
Before me Henry Archer
A commissioner for Oaths

On 28th July 1898 a conveyance of freehold messuage or tenement and Public house known as “The Chequers” situate at Yelden in the County of Bedford was made from Mr Thomas Wagstaff to David Dulley Esq & Mrs Frances Dulley.

Plan shoeing the ground purchased in 1904

Above: The top of the Indenture and right: Plan of the land purchased.

In 1904 William Dulley & Sons of Wellingborough purchased land surrounding it from The Honourable Henry Arden Adderley others, who had inherited from Henry Seymour Hoare.

Wellingborough News, 26th August 1882, transcribed by Kay Collins

Before Messrs. H. H. Green and E. B. Watson.

Robert Lines (14), of Newton Bromswold, was charged with stealing a quantity of onions, value 1s., from a garden, at Yeldon, on the 6th inst., the property of Thomas Wagstaff, innkeeper. He was committed to prison, for seven days, with hard labour.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 14th July 1922, transcribed by Kay Collins

The licence of the Chequers Inn, Yelden, formerly held by the late Mr B Waters, was transferred at the Sharnbrook Petty Sessions last Friday to Mrs Waters.

The Chequers was sold again in 1922 to Campbell Praed and Company Ltd. of Wellingborough, and Matilda Waters became landlady. Her son Charles took over the property in 1929 and extended it by adding two more bedrooms and a bathroom.

Extract from the Memories of Mary Fennell: Grandma Lizzie had a sister, Matilda Waters, who kept the Chequers Inn at Yelden -€“ unfortunately it burnt down during the War and the present one is a modern building but many an American serviceman must remember the old Inn which again appears in H.E. Bates' stories. Tilly Waters, like her sister Lizzie, was spotlessly clean and the floors of the Inn and the deal tables were scrubbed and scrubbed.  I remember as a child hearing my father say that "€Tilly Waters tables at The Chequers are as white as the driven snow!"€ and I was very disappointed one Whit Monday when we drove over to Yelden and I sat at one of the tables in the yard at the back of the Inn with my bottle of "€˜spruce" -€“ that is lemonade -€“ to me the scrubbed deal table looked no different from our own kitchen table at home. So although all of H.E. Bates' family were teetotallers he did come into contact with people who drank, sometimes to excess, when he visited the pub at Yelden. Again, many of these characters creep into his stories.

In 1939 James Leonard George became licensee and was still there in 1950 when a dreadful fire took hold and destroyed the old thatched property.

The present building of brick and tile was then built.

The Chequers in 2009

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