47 and 49 High Street

Photo:The Bull's Head, sketched in the 1840s, seen here on the left as it was when George Bird was the publican.

The Bull's Head, sketched in the 1840s, seen here on the left as it was when George Bird was the publican.

Photo:The Bull's Head in 1905, seen here on the right.

The Bull's Head in 1905, seen here on the right.

formerly part of the Bull's Head Inn

by Liz Kiernan

These semi-detached houses, along with another pair directly behind on Silver Street, were built in 1967 by the local builders Bray Ltd, and designed by architect R.W. Aldridge who also worked on three houses at the far end of Back Street.

Before that, the site was occupied by one of the many pubs in Ashwell, the Bull's Head Inn.  This large property, fronting the High Street, stretched all the way from the 'twitchell' (the public footpath) in the west to the far end of what is now Beams Cottage to the east, with land stretching back to Silver Street.

The 1841 census shows that the pub was owned by John Phillips (a brewer in Royston) with George Bird as the tenant publican. Ten years later, in 1851, the census names the publican as Martha Bird (age 22) and her sister Matilda (age 20) - presumably daughters of George.  Within that decade, in February 1850, it was reported that the Bull's Head Inn was one of the many of properties damaged by the Great Fire of Ashwell. We can't establish exactly what happened to George Bird or his property at this time.

Since the current house was built, only three families have lived here - people obviously find it hard to leave a place with such a magnificent view of the church - a sight which will hardly have changed in the 150 years since George Bird lived here.

 

This page was added on 05/05/2011.
Comments about this page

George Bird (born c.1788) was my Gt gt grandfather. He died in Dec 1850 as a result of falling down some steps in Royston. Coroner's inquest was held in the top room of the pub!!

By Christine Hosford nee Bird
On 15/03/2013

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