Bygone Pubs of Ravensden


The Old White Lion

The open field arable site at the corner of the cross roads on Kimbolton Road was allotted to the Duke of Bedford at Enclosure of 1813. The Duke sold the land to Sir William Long; The building was probably built in 1828-29 as it does not show on any maps before that date.
Thomas Bazley paid Land Tax from 1828 onwards. In a will dated 17th January 1837 (proved 17th June 1837) Thomas Bazley left "my freehold garden and premises called the White Lion in Ravensden" in trust for his wife for life. From 1842 onwards the inn is shown by the ratebooks to belong to Thomas Renshaw (alias Olerenshaw). The first licence was granted to Mr Thomas Rollinshaw for the White Lion in Ravensden in 1843. "On being granted his licence the landlord was cautioned to keep an orderly house, or he need not expect that he would get his licence renewed."
In his will Thomas Bazley (yeoman) leaves "all that my freehold House, Garden and Premises with the appurtenances called the White Lion in Ravensden on trust for wife Elizabeth Bazley for life, then to my daughter Elizabeth Bazley, or should she die, then to nephew William Rootham of Riseley." To his daughter he left 50. His personal estate did not exceed 50.

Further research by the new owners of the Old White Lion (in 2002) has shown that in fact the wife of Thomas Bazeley, Elizabeth, remarried after his death, to Thomas Ollerenshaw (or Ole Renshaw) the next named landlord. Thomas Bazeley's daughter, also named Elizabeth, married George Peacock, the next named landlord. By the time George died in 1898, his daughter, Ada, had married Herbert Mead, a coachbuilder, and had moved next door to the pub. Herbert had previously lodged with the Peacock family, when he was in his teens. Subsequently the pub was sold off to the brewery.
So although the pub looks as if it has changed hands many times it had remained from its first registration as a public house in the hands of the same family - but through the female line!
And the new owners believe that Elizabeth Peacock, although dying in 1881, still lives there! (See Ghosts page in Volume 2 )


The Case is Altered

In 1950 the Case is Altered was known as the pub with no bar. One explanation for the extraordinary name of the pub relates to a long dead landlord who put the beer "on the slate" for thirsty road-makers when the track up the hill was metalled. The slate was shelved when it could be seen that the road was nearly finished, and so "the case was altered". Bernard West suggests that this is not altogether convincing.
Another explanation is that it was a cause lost in the Civil War, to be re-won at the Restoration. Again, Bernard West suggests that this is equally implausible. The other "somewhat esoteric explanation" is that it was the "Casa Alta" - house on the hill - acquired from survivors of the Peninsular War.
The inn sign gave the full legal image, and possibly the conversion from workhouse to inn was as much as the case was actually altered!
The porches, removal of fencing and replacement of the inn sign were modern additions (post 1967).


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