In 1989, when my parents had The Fir Tree, I was asked by my then girlfriend how old the pub was, and I said I’d try to find out….*

Looking into the history of it is main the reason that I began researching old Woburn Sands. I found it was the story of an inn with three different names, in two different locations, with one family involved for over 115 years.

Above are links to what I have been able to find out so far. I have split the information into chapters to keep the pages smaller. I would be interested to hear if you are related to one of the past landlords, or have any old photos of the pub, particularly from the period 1920 – 1970.

From: To: Licensee: Notes:
1753 5th Feb. 1779 Francis Lee1 1753 is the first reference to “The Shoulder of Mutton Inn” on the Woburn Road site. The name changed to “The Greyhound” in 1773.
5th Feb. 1779 1784 Mary Lee (Widow of Francis Lee1) Name changed to “The Fir Tree” in 1786.
1784 1788 Martha Lee  
1788 1810 William Morris
1810 1823 Edward Lee (Son of Francis Lee1)
1823 12th Mar. 1852 Francis Lee2 (Son of Edward Lee) The Inn transferred to the Aspley Hill corner site in 1838.
12th Mar. 1852 27th Aug. 1860 Mary Lee (Widow of Francis Lee2)  
27th Aug. 1860 Jan. 1868 Francis Lee3 (Son of Francis Lee2) Lee family made bankrupt, and sold the inn to Alfred Smith.
Dec. 1868 24th Sep. 1870 John Litchfield  
2nd Nov. 1871 1877 Jesse Cooper By 1872, Smith had leased it to Rogers and Bull of Newport Pagnell. They sold out to Allfrey and Lovell in 1875, also of Newport Pagnell. The next year they bought the freehold.
1878 1879 Francis Farr  
1881 1884 David Giltrow
1885 18th Mar. 1887 William George Cooper
18th Mar. 1887 14th Dec. 1888 Charles Turnock
14th Dec. 1888 13th Dec. 1889 Walter Bailey The building we now know was erected on the site.
13th Dec. 1889 12th Sep. 1913 Benjamin Garrett Clubroom built in 1897. Allfrey and Lovell became The Newport Pagnell Brewery Company in 1900.
12th Sep. 1913 20th Apr. 1914 Charles Henry Wynne  
20th Apr. 1914 20th Jun. 1924 George Alexander The Newport Pagnell Brewery Co. was bought out and absorbed by Charles Wells, of Bedford, in 1919.
20th Jun. 1924 23rd Sep. 1927 Brigadier Francis Robert Beresford  
23rd Sep. 1927 20th Apr. 1928 Tom Saville
20th Apr. 1928 30th Nov. 1928 William Donelly
30th Nov. 1928 10th Jan. 1929 John Henry Osborne King
10th Jan. 1929 9th Sep. 1938 Harold Clements
9th Sep. 1938 1st Aug. 1951 Sidney Hughs
1st Aug. 1951 19th Nov. 1969 Albert Frederick Jenkins
19th Nov. 1969 31st Jul. 1970 Ernest Dennis Hodson Lant
31st Jul. 1970 29th Oct. 1997 John Harvey Cox The clubroom was converted to hotel bedrooms in 1980.
29th Oct. 1997 3rd May 1999 Dean and Michael Readyhoff Father and son who also ran the Wheatsheaf in Bow Brickhill.
3rd May 1999 20th Sep. 2021 Kevin Brewer, then his son Dominic Brewer Major internal and external refurbishment and remodelling completed in 1999. Further refurbishment and remodelling in 2014, renamed to Fir Tree Inn.
20th Sep. 2021   Emilie Geary Refurbished and redecorated before reopening.

…*By the way, my girlfriend was obviously impressed with the efforts I made to find her an answer, as she married me!


Page last updated Sep. 2021.