The Barge Inn, Cosgrove

Detail of section 122 c.1881
Fields in the occupation of William Gates
95 Ballams Close
122 Pasture Close
Plan c.1881
Site of where the Barge Inn would be built
1861 census Jonah Brown is recorded as a grocer and coal dealer
1871 census Jonah Brown Beer House - coal dealer
1881 census Johah Brown Bear Shop - Beerhouse Keeper
1891 census Barge Inn Jonah Brown - Coal dealer & Publican

It is unclear when the house was built on this site and became the Barge Inn as William Gates is recorded as in occupation of this piece of ground in c1881

NRO  SL 247 (NBP 51)  Econ Hist   Pubs 1898  

15 March 1898. Mr E Phipps reported that in accordance with instructions he had purchased on Co’s behalf from Jonah Brown the Barge Inn and five cottages at Cosgrove for £850. Deposit of £85 paid on 11 March. Solicitor instructed to convey.

Elizabeth Brown landlady of the Barge Inn
Cosgrove working on her pillow lace.
Elizabeth was born in Stoke Goldington in 1871
Outside the Barge Inn - Cosgrove

Left to right : Sooty Nicholls, Jack Eglesfield, Harry Ratcliffe, Sid Eglesfield

Sid Eglesfield in the doorway.
The wall is covered by a grapevine in this very sheltered spot.

Approaching the Barge Inn on the left c.1990
The Barge Inn in the 1960s

Group of men outside the Barge Inn. Left to right. Unknown, unknown,
Sid Eglesfield, Charlie Hill, (boy) Jack Eglesfield, who became a prisoner of war in Japan.

Cosgrove men on a race meeting trip to Worcester from the Barge Inn.

Top row left to right:  ? , Howard Smith, ?

Middle row left to right :
?, ?, Les Reynolds, John Shervington, ?, ?, Fred Tustain, Arthur Loughrey, ?, ?, ?, Alf Tompkins, Sam Hillyer,  ?, Fred Stuart, ?, ?

Front row left to right: Adgie Ratley (Ratcliffe), ... Eglesfield, ?, Bill Castle’s dad, ?, Perce Lyman, Frank Hillyer, ?, ?, Sid (Chinny) Eglesfield   

They took a barrel of beer and dropped it on the grass.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 13 June 1924


Mr W. Whitton, Coroner for South Northants, held an inquiry at the Barge Inn Cosgrove on Tuesday afternoon into the death of Mr Thomas Timothy Sharpe, aged 57, of 22 Cambridge-street, Wolverton whose body was recovered from the Grand Junction Canal, at Cosgrove on the previous afternoon. Evidence of identification was given by Thomas Freeman Sharpe, a son of deceased, who stated that his father suffered from chronic asthma, and was under the care of a doctor. He had had the complaint for about 20 years. He had been rather quiet during the previous few days.

Reginald Eales, labourer, Manor Cottages, Old Wolverton said that whilst he was walking with friends along the canal from Old Stratford to Cosgrove, he noticed a man’s coat and walking stick lying on the  bank. He then saw the body in the water.

Frederick Joseph Clarke, farmer, Cosgrove Locks, who was called by the previous witness gave evidence of recovering the body and finding a letter in the deceased's coat pocket. The letter, addressed to his wife and children, stated; “Forgive me for the sorrow l am causing you. I know you have all been good to me, but I can’t stand any more of this suffering, week after week. I shall be better out than in this world. Goodbye and forgive.”

The Coroner returned a verdict of “suicide by drowning during temporary insanity”, and expressed sympathy with the widow and family.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 14 July 1939

By direction of the Education Committee
of the Northamptonshire County Council.


2 miles from Stony Stratford, 4 miles
from Wolverton. 8 miles from Towcester,
and 12 miles from Northampton.


known as

The Property is Brick Built, partly Slated and Tiled, and contains; Three Bedrooms, two fitted grates and one having an electric heating plug and cupboard; Entrance Hall; Two Sitting Rooms (one with bay) each fitted grate; Breakfast Room, fitted grate, electric heating plug and cupboard; Pantry; Larder; Kitchen, fitted inter-oven grate, table and cupboard; Scullery, fitted sink and copper; Bathroom, fitted bath and basin.

Brick paved Yard with access through double doors to street; Closet, brick-built and slated Garage and Coal Store adjoining; Small Lean-to Greenhouse, and a Garden, well stocked with productive fruit trees.

Electric Light. Water Supply.



BY J. C. J. Legge FAI.,


On WEDNESDAY, JULY 26th, 1939,

At Seven o’clock in the Evening,

Subject to Conditions of Sale to be then produced.

For full Particulars and Key, apply to the Auctioneer. House, Shop, Land, Estate and Valuation Offices, 14, Castilian-street, Northampton. Telephone 50 (two lines).

Solicitor; J. ALAN TURNER, Esq., Clerk of the Northamptonshire County Council, County Hall, Northampton. Telephone Nos. 791/2.

Wolverton Express 28th July 1939

Hospital effort – Mrs. George Brown, an enthusiastic Cosgrove Hospital worker, organized two domino drives on Thursday and Tuesday and these took place on the lawn at the Barge Inn and were well attended.  The sum of £3 was realized on behalf of the village effort for Lord Hesketh’s special appeal for Northampton Hospital.

Wolverton Express 16th January 1942

Gifts Sent to Cosgrove Serving Men

Thirty two men of the village of Cosgrove have been sent a gift of 10 shillings each through the kindly thought and work of Mr. and Mrs. Brown of the Barge, Cosgrove, who, with the help of customers of this house, raised the excellent sum of £16 for that purpose.

Mr. Brown is a native of the village and has lived at the Barge all his life.  He and his wife have always taken an active interest in the welfare of the village.

Wolverton Express 31st July 1942

A whist drive held in the grounds of the Barge Inn, Cosgrove, in aid of the Comforts fund, by permission of Mrs. G Brown, produced a sum of £2 12s 0d.  Mrs. Brown also gave the refreshments and a ladies “nightie” for a draw, Miss Joan Whittaker being the lucky winner.  The whist drive winners were: Ladies: 1 Mrs. H Castle 2 Miss Brooks; high half, Mrs. Williams.  Gentlemen: 1 Mr. Crowder 2 Mr. Hill; high half Mr. G Hill.  Scorecard Miss J. Whittaker.  Mrs. Gallop was MC.  Mrs. Hill gave a cake for competition and this was won by Mrs. J Brown.

Wolverton Express 4th June 1943

A whist drive in aid of the Cosgrove Nursing Association was held in the grounds of the Barge.  The prize winners were: ladies, 1 Mrs. F. Williams, 2 Mrs. J Brown; high half, Mrs. Brown.  Men, 1 Mr R. Williams, 2 Mr. R Gallop; high half, Mr. W Castle.  Score card, Mrs. Hebson.  A cake given by Mrs. G Brown was won by Mrs. Hill, and a bunch of flowers by Mrs. Whittaker went to Mrs. Gallop.

Wolverton Express 25th June 1943

A whist drive held in the grounds of the Barge, Cosgrove, by kind permission of Mrs. G Brown, produced £3 for the Comforts Fund for men serving in H M Forces.  The prizewinners were: women 1 Mrs. J Brown, 2 Mrs. Gallop, highest half Mrs. Waine; men, 1 Mrs. Loughrey, 2 Mrs. Brockway, highest half Miss. Tomkins, scorecard Mrs. Waine; special Mrs. F Castle.

Wolverton Express 31st December 1943

Mrs. Brown, of the Barge Inn Cosgrove, has sent 10s each as a Christmas gift to 54 customers and friends serving in the Forces.  The money was raised by competitions and donations.

Wolverton Express 22nd December 1944

Cosgrove Barge Inn Forces Fund

Generous support has been given during the past year to the efforts organised at the Barge Inn, Cosgrove, on behalf of the Forces Fund run in connection with that licensed house under the supervision of Mrs. G Brown (licensee).  The Fund stands at £55, and no fewer than 55 serving men from the village will receive a Christmas gift of £1 each.

Wolverton Express 5th October 1945

Nearly 50 years at the Barge, Cosgrove - Death of Mrs. Brown

Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, one of Cosgrove is best known residents, passed away on Tuesday last, 2nd October, at the Barge Inn, Cosgrove.  She was 74 years of age.  The Barge Inn licence has been held by the Brown family for over 100 years, and Mrs. Brown’s death has severed this long association.  Deceased husband, Mr. George brown, passed away three years ago, and his wife was granted the licence.  She has resided at the Barge for 47 years and during that time has been one of the village’s hardest workers for Northampton General Hospital.  The funeral takes place tomorrow (Saturday).

Wolverton Express 12th October 1945

Funeral of Cosgrove Resident – Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, Barge Inn

Mrs. Elizabeth brown, widow of Mr. George Brown, a former licensee of the Barge Inn Cosgrove, was buried on Saturday last.  Deceased lady died at that well-known inn situate by the side of the Grand Union Canal on the previous Tuesday, at the age of 74, after 47 years residence in that licensed house.  Mrs. Brown had held the licence since her husband’s death three years ago.

Of the happy disposition, she was held in affection by all with whom she came in contact, and was well known for her generosity by hundreds of anglers are used to spend weekends fishing the waters in the village.  A staunch hospital worker, her efforts for the Northampton General Hospital have taken place for many years.  Mrs. Brown was a regular worshipper at the Cosgrove mission hall, and on Sunday last at the mission, Mr. H Greenwood, Deanshanger, paid a fitting tribute to her life and character.  The hymn “Peace, perfect peace” was sung.

Many mourners

The Cosgrove Parish Church of SS Peter and Paul held many mourners and sympathisers on Saturday.  The Rev. A Woodhouse Rector of Passenham conducted the service.  The hymns “Rock of Ages” and “Jesu lover of my soul” were feelingly sung, Mrs. Feil being the organist.

Mourners present were: Mrs. Galvinoni of London, Mrs. Cova of Bristol, and Mr. and Mrs. Cawthorne of Stoke Goldington (sisters and brother-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. W. Garratt of Bradwell, Mr J. Garrett of Bedford, Mr. G Garratt of Beachampton, and Mr T. Garratt of Stoke Goldington (Brothers and sisters in law), Mr. S Eglesfield, Mr. and Mrs. C Eglesfield of Stony Stratford, Mr. Ted Eglesfield of Stony Stratford, Mr. and Mrs. A Eglesfield of Wolverton, Mr. F Brown of Aldershot, Mr. and Mrs. F Brown of Northampton, Mr. and Mrs. C Hill, Mr. L Hill, Mr. F Hill of Cosgrove, Mr A. Cadd, of Coventry, Mr. and Mrs. J Hebson, Mrs. J. Johnson and Mrs. T Kightley, Mrs. D. Giddings, Miss M Eglesfield of Northampton.

Over Sixty Wreaths

Over 60 floral tributes were received and they were from: Sid; Doris and Charlie; Barge customers; Miss Balfour and Miss Wells; Rodney, Patrick, and Ivor Hickford; Mr. and Mrs. Goodridge, and children; Flo; Alice, Michael, John and Mr. and Mrs. Elderton; Sid Amer; Oliver and Jack; Mr. and Mrs. And Miss Brassington; Edie and Marjorie; Mrs. F. Hillyer and Mrs. G. Williams; Mrs. Cadd and Marion (Wolverton); Doll, Jack, Rosemarie and twins; Captain G H Feil MC; Mim; Annie, Maria, Liza and Rosetta; June and Audrey; Ted, Vera and Lizzie;

Mary, Grace, Gune and Philip Atkinson; Cosgrove Women’s Institute; friends at Chislehurst Kent; Mr. and Mrs. Monk; Mr. and Mrs. Winterbottom; Arthur, Dot and Sheila (Coventry); Mrs. Rivers; Chirp, Win and family; Jack, Joan, Tom and Wag; Nellie and Arthur (Wolverton); Alf Meakins Beachampton; Nellie Jim and Brian (Stony Stratford); Nora, Don and family (Northampton); Fred, Fin and family (Northampton); Jack and family; Rose and family; Ruby and Net; Mrs. Knight; Agnes and Mrs. Dilky; Rose and family (Aldershot); Brother George; Mr. and Mrs. Bushell, and family, and Ted; Pat and Pauline Bushell; F Barby; Mrs. F. Williams; past and present members of Football Club; George, Millie, and family (Potterspury); Hospital Committee; Mrs Baines, Ada, Betty and Mildred (New Bradwell); Little Mary; Anna, Will, Edith and family (New Bradwell); Jack and Lottie (Castlethorpe); Dorrie, Joe, Lou, and Mary (London); Tom and Lottie; Clara, Jack, Ruby and family; Herbert and Minnie; J Brown and family (Cosgrove); Louie and Francis; Miss Wake; friends at Northampton.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. J S. Cowley and Sons 71 High St, Stony Stratford.

Northampton Mercury - Friday 19 October 1945


A family connection extending over a century has been broken by the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Brown, the landlady of the Barge Inn, Cosgrove. The licence has been held by members the Brown family for over 100 years. The late Mrs. Brown’s husband pre-deceased her three years ago, following which she was granted the licence. She had lived at the Barge, a resort for fishermen using the Broadwaters and the Grand Union Canal, for 47 years, and during that time had been an energetic worker for Northampton General Hospital. She was 74.

Wolverton Express November 16, 1956


Public House Closes After 100 Years

Not very long ago, Cosgrove could boasts of having three public houses in the village and a fourth on the way to Castlethorpe. Recent years have seen the closing of “The Plough", and at mid-day on Tuesday “The Barge " closed its doors for the last time as a public house.

At Towcester Magistrates' Court on Tuesdays Mr. Sidney Eglesfield, the licensee of "The Barge” for the past eleven years, was granted the permanent transfer of the licence of the “Barley Mow” which has been closed for some time while it has been fully modernised.

80 years’ History

"The Barge" has been a public house for about 100 years, and much of that history Is known by Mrs. Florence Eglesfield, who was born there 80 years ago. She is a daughter of Jonah Brown, who ran the inn as a free house before selling it to P. Phipps and Co. Ltd., about 1900. Mrs. Eglesfield was never the licensee, but her brother, Mr. George Brown, held the licence for about 50 years until his death early in the last war.

Mrs. Eglesfield still lives in a house at the bottom of " The Barge" yard.

From the time that the late Mr. Jonah Brown commenced the public house it was always in the hands of the family. As the name implied, it catered for many of the barge-folk that sailed past only a few yards away, as well as for the locals from the village.

There was a party at "The Barge " on Monday night when the customers had their last drink in the house “on the house”.

Ref: Date Occupant
Census 1871 Jonah Brown
Whellan History of Northamptonshire 1874 Jonah Brown, beer retailer and coal merchant
Post Office Directory 1877 Jonah Brown , coal mechant & beer retailer
Census 1881 Jonah Brown
Kelly's Directory 1890 Jonah Brown , coal merchant & beer retailer
Census 1891 Jonah Brown
Kelly's Directory 1898 Jonah Brown , coal merchant & beer retailer
Census 1901 George H Brown
Kelly's Directory 1903 George Brown, coal mercant & beer retailer
Kelly's Directory 1906 Jonah Brown, coal merchant & beer retailer
Census 1911 George Henry Brown
Kelly's Directory 1931 G. H. Brown beer retailer
Kelly's Directory 1940 (G. H. Brown) Barge Inn
1945 Sid Eglesfield until closure