Pubs of Cosgrove

From “Cosgrove – The History of a Village” by Gwen Brown, nee Jelley [1991]

The earliest records of the village pubs date back to the 19th century.  The Barley Mow seems to be the oldest, most likely build in the 17th century, and while modernization has spoiled it in many ways, it has revealed ancient oak beams, previously hidden by plaster ceilings, and a vast open fireplace with a foothold in the chimney for the little sweeping boys to climb.

Written records go back to the Alehouse Keeper’s Recognisances of 1822 – the official documents concerned with the granting of licences at Towcester Quarter Sessions.  At that time Thomas Perkins, the landlord, was granted his licence on a payment of £30 and a promise that he “shall not fraudulently dilute or adulterate the ale etc., nor allow customers to get drunk”.  The same conditions apply it to the other three innkeepers in the parish:

Matthew Willan [Willison] of the Falcon at Old Stratford

John Ayers of the Navigation at Thrupp Wharf

John Jelley of the Plough at Cosgrove

In 1826 more stringent regulations were applied to the Alehouse keepers.  As well as their own recognisance of £30, another person had to put up £20 as surety for them.  John Jelley at the Plough paid his £30 and one Thomas Sharp of Yardley Gobion stood surety for him.  The rules for the proper running of the pub were clearly set out:

The victualler must not

a)       fraudulently dilute the ale

b)       sell it in pots that are not full-size

c)       knowingly permit tippling or getting drunk

d)       suffer any gaming with cards, draughts, or dice bagatelle, in house or outhouses, by journeyman, labourers, servants or apprentices

e)       permit bull, bear or badger baiting, cock fighting or other such amusements

f)        harbour or entertain men and women of notoriously bad fame, or dissolute girls or boys

g)       Suffer any drinking or tippling during the usual hours of Divine service on Sundays, nor keep premises open during late hours of the night or early morning, except for the reception of travellers

The Recognisances for 1827 and 1828 gave the same information-the same conditions pertained for the granting of licences and the same for pubs are named. 

An obvious omission from these documents is the Barge, a public house on the canal side, in the village between the Bridge and the aqueduct [horse tunnel].  Kelly’s Directories for 1877 to 1906 mention Jonah Brown as a coal merchant and beer seller.  He was still spoken of in the 1920s when his descendants still lived at the Barge inn.  Perhaps the beer selling premises were only named the Barge after Phillips purchased all the pubs in the early 1920s.