William IV Beerhouse Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page

The Public Houses of Barwick Village

William IV Beerhouse

from The Barwicker No.93
Mar. 2009

The first in a series of articles detailing the history of the Public Houses in the village of Barwick.  After the Church and Chapel the pub has historically always been at the centre of village life.  The pubs remaining in the village would be as well known to a Victorian Barwicker as they are to a modern one, something probably unique for a commercial operation.  Each of the pubs has a fascinating story to tell.

The “William IV” Beerhouse was located at what are now numbers 3, 3A and possibly part of number 1 Aberford Road close to All Saints Church and the edge of the village of Barwick-in-Elmet. It closed over 75 years ago and was in existence for less than 100 years.

The story starts at a Manorial Court held for the Manor of Barwick and Scholes which took place on the 20th April 1825. Hannah Scriven (nee Clarkson) and her husband James came before the Court to be admitted to her father’s, William Clarkson and grandfather’s Robert Clarkson’s, property located on the Aberford Road at Barwick as copyhold tenants. James Scriven is described as a maltster and farmer originally from Aberford but then living in the Brotherton and Ferrybridge area. At this time the property comprised a number of cottages, gardens and farm buildings.

The Court found everything in order and they were admitted to the property which they then would have sublet. Sometime between 1830 and 1851, likely in the mid 1830's, they constructed a beerhouse on the site naming it the “William the Fourth” and let it to John Pullan. The beerhouse probably consisted of major rebuilding and extending existing properties on the site fronting the road.

Beerhouses had been created as a result of the 1830 Act of Parliament called the Beer Act. This allowed any ratepayer (with limited conditions) to buy a license to brew beer, ale or cider only and sell it in their own home. The licenses were issued direct by the Excise Office without the need to go in front of the local Magistrate. Innkeepers who sold spirits as well as beer had to obtain their licenses from the licensing Magistrate. The Government had become concerned about a rise in drunkenness around the country through the consumption of strong spirits in the so-called “Gin Palaces”. They also wanted to put a check on the increasing stranglehold the large breweries had on Inns and Taverns in many towns which was stifling competition. Beer was viewed as a wholesome, nutritious drink especially when compared to the quality of the water in many places. The licenses cost two guineas (one if only cider or perry was brewed) and were valid for twelve months. Across the country 31,937 beerhouse licenses were issued in 1831 to trade along side the 50,547 full ones issued to Inns. This was a massive increase in the number of drinking premises and Barwick was not left behind with the ”William IV” and “New Inn” beerhouses opening to join the full license Inns the “Gascoigne’s Arms” and “Black Swan”

William IV was King between 1830 and 1837, as the third son of George III he was not expected to inherit the Crown. However neither of his brothers, George IV and Prince Frederick, Duke of York, had any legitimate children. William himself, despite having at least 10 illegitimate children, did not produce any legitimate heirs. On his death in 1837 the Crown passed to his niece Princess Victoria who became Queen Victoria. William IV was generally a popular King and therefore the name of the beerhouse would have been well accepted by the villagers.

John Pullan was born around 1800 and came from East Keswick, he married the Barwick born Elizabeth Hewitt in 1824 at All Saints Church, Barwick and moved into the village. Originally working as a farm labourer he is likely the “Jno Pullan” listed as a Barwick beerhouse keeper in Kellys Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire published in 1838. Initially the beerhouse would have been a sideline, and he would have continued working on the land. By the time of the 1851 census however, he is shown as a dedicated Innkeeper at an unnamed inn which is almost certainly the “William IV.”

Hannah Scriven died in 1847 and ownership of the beerhouse passed initially to her husband James who remarried in 1854 and so by the terms of Hannah’s Will it passed to her son James Scriven the younger, a cabinetmaker of Pontefract, and her nephew-in-law William Scriven, a veterinary surgeon of Aberford. They agreed to sell it to Matthew Wilkinson a farmer of Barwick for £250 who in turn sold it onto the tenant John Pullan, Innkeeper, for the same price on the 23rd November 1855. Still part of the Barwick and Scholes Manor the Court book for this transaction holds a detailed description of the property:

“All that messuage or tenement used as a Beerhouse known by the name of the "William the fourth" with the yard, stable, outbuildings and conveniences behind adjoining or belonging thereto situate in Barwick in Elmet in the occupation of John Pullan and fronting the Highway leading from Leeds to Aberford which said messuage was erected by James Scriven and Hannah his wife and the site thereof together with certain buildings standing thereon and the said yard, stable, outbuildings and conveniences.......And also all the ground and soil on the road on the east side of the said Beerhouse of the width of fourteen feet at the narrowest point as then staked and set out leading into the yard behind the Beerhouse, cottage and premises all which said premises are bounded ….. by the Church yard of the Parish Church of Barwick and partly by property then or late of Mrs Landon….and are part of an estate at Barwick formerly of William Clarkson deceased to which the said Hannah Scriven was admitted as his Heiress at Law, and at a Court held for the Manor on the 20th April 1825”.
In addition to the selling of beer John Pullan also appears to have provided lodging rooms on the premises. In the 1851 census two “Teasel Dealers” (a prickly flower head used to raise the nap of cloth) are lodging and in the 1861 census a “Hawker of Jewellery” is listed as a visitor. On the 2nd January 1863 John Pullan died and he was buried in the Churchyard extension which is now the Jubilee Gardens behind the Methodist Church on the Boyle, his gravestone forms part of the path running through this now green area. John’s widow Elizabeth carried on running the beerhouse with the assistance of her sister Sarah Heaton. In the 1871 census the 66 year old Elizabeth Pullan is listed as the Beerseller with 77 year old Sarah Heaton as the assistant.

By 1881 Elizabeth was in her late 70s and was also selling groceries living in the adjoining property, and although she was listed as the landlady she was now assisted by her niece, Harriet Lawn, a 58 year widow described as a wheelwright & beerseller. I suspect the yard behind the beerhouse was used for the wheelwright business with Harriet’s 18 year son William Lawn completing most of this work. On the 8th February 1885 Elizabeth Pullan died and she split her property between two of her nieces, her assistant Harriet Lawn and Elizabeth Perkin. Her Will states:

“I give and devise all that my copyhold Public House situate in Barwick in Elmet together with the yard thereto the shop in such yard and half of the orchard unto and to the use of my niece Harriet Lawn the widow of Thomas Lawn... I give and bequeath the copyhold house in which I live together with the thatched house adjoining and the remaining half of the said orchard to my niece Elizabeth Perkin the wife of Richard Perkin.”

When Harriet Lawn died just 4 years later on the 17th December 1889 the property passed to her son the wheelwright William. He continued the business being described at various times as either an innkeeper or wheelwright until in 1897 a major change took place. On the 18th December 1897 William sold the beerhouse to Daniel Stoker of the Rockingham Arms in Towton. As well as controlling the Rockingham Arms which had its own brew-house, Daniel also owned a public house at Ryther near Selby, and a large brick built Malt Kiln near to the Railway station at Stutton, close to Towton. The “William IV” beerhouse was never owner-occupied again. Whilst in Stoker ownership and from sometime before April 1901 the Barwick born ex-coalminer Henry (Harry) Robshaw was landlord and lived onsite with his wife Rachel and a number of children. On the 11th October 1910 John Pollard took over the license.

A valuation was completed around 1910 when the beerhouse was described as:

“Aberford Rd, Barwick, William IV Beerhouse & Garden, 1335 sq yd, Value £850,
Occupier Henry Robshaw, Owner Ann Stoker the Exr of David Stoker decd,
Copyhold, Yearly tenancy rent £20.
Smoke Room, Tap Room, Small Cellar, Kitchen + Bar. Old fair repair.
Coal place, urinal + privy in yard. Pig place, washhouse, 5 stall stable + garden behind.
Considerable improvements + repairs have been carried out…. + whole in good repair.”

The Stoker family sold up in 1913 when Samuel Smith, a common brewer, of the Old Brewery, Tadcaster, bought the property for £850. He owned a large brewing business and had been acquiring inns for a number of years which were then supplied from Tadcaster. In the 1920's ownership of the beerhouse was transferred to the Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) Limited." On the 28th October 1913, shortly after Samuel Smith took over, William Baxter became the landlord. William died in the summer of 1914 and it appears his widow Minnie ran the pub for a few months until the 29th December 1914 when Joshua Henry Fawcett became the final licensee.

On the afternoon of Sunday the 20th April 1919 the beerhouse was visited by the local Policeman, Constable Stimson, who suspected that beer was been consumed at that time, contrary to the then strict Sunday drinking laws. He entered the tap room at 4:40pm and found twelve men drinking and the landlady pouring beer from a bottle into a glass. On hearing a noise in the parlour bar he went to investigate but found nothing. Returning to the tap room he discovered eight men had jumped out of the window and run away along Aberford Road, he took the names and addresses of the remaining four but these later proved to be false! Joshua Fawcett, the landlord claimed in the Leeds West Riding Court on the 20th May that he “did a big catering trade with sandwiches that afternoon and had supplied non-alcoholic hop ale and ginger beer to wash them down.” The Magistrates did not believe this story and fined him £20. This however was quashed on a later appeal.

The annual beerhouse license was renewed for the last time at the Skyrack Petty Session Court on the 6th February 1923 and in 1924 was “referred for compensation”. Since the 1870s attempts had been made to close the huge number of new drinking houses opened as a result of the previous liberalisation of the licensing laws. Driven by the temperance movement it took until the 1904 licensing act for a scheme to be put in place to financially compensate owners and landlords for the loss of a pub license. A levy was imposed on the licensed trade and the money used to provide the compensation. Many hundreds of licenses were extinguished as a result of the scheme, usually the very worst and least profitable premises. On the 20th December 1924 Samuel Smiths were awarded £627, the licensee Joshua Fawcett £72 and the Lord of Manor of Barwick and Scholes, Col. Gascoigne £25 for the loss of the license.

Samuel Smiths sold the property in 1929 when it was described as closed and “formerly used as a beerhouse and known by the name of the William the Fourth”. The late Bart Hammond (1909-1989, a founder member of the Historical Society) recalled the decline of the final years when the football team would cut the lino from the floor to use as shin pads! He also recalled it was well used by coal miners, many of whom lived on Aberford Road and Chapel Lane and would have worked in the local pits.

George Clayton, a grocer of Leeds, then bought the property which was also freed from Manorial restrictions and became freehold land. It was converted into a private house and remains so today. Certainly from the outside the altered buildings betray no clue as to their former use, but if those walls could talk what stories would they have to tell…

The spelling of the name of the Inn is written in numerous ways in the original sources between the 1850s and 1920s including : William IV, William the Fourth, and William 4th. As we have no photographic evidence to show how it should be written the name William IV has been used except where a primary source is quoted showing a different spelling of ‘IV’.


Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Manorial Records
1841-1901 Census Returns
The Skyrack Courier
The Yorkshire Evening News
The Yorkshire Post
1909 Valuation Office Records
Paul Jennings – ‘The Local, A History of the English Pub’
Local Directories
Memorial Inscriptions on Gravestones in Jubliee Gardens, Barwick-in-Elmet
All Saints Church, Barwick-in-Elmet, Parish Registers
Leeds Registry Office – Deaths Registered in Aberford/Bramham Sub-districts
Skyrack Petty Sessions – Registers of Alehouse Licenses
West Riding Quarter Sessions – Licensing Act 1904
Compensation Committee Ledger No 1


Back to the top
Back to the Main Historical Society page
Back to the Barwicker Contents page