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Here is what we think is the only comprehensive record of pubs and beerhouses within the Coventry city boundaries going back as far as available records allow. This is an ongoing project so contributions, corrections or additions to this archive, especially anecdotes, photos and media are most welcome. Feel free to contact us for a pint and a chat anytime.

The Broomfield Tavern

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NAME BROOMFIELD TAVERN
ALTERNATIVE NAMES BROOMFIELD INN
ADDRESS 15/16 BROOMFIELD PLACE, SPON END
The first mention of Spon is in the list of places the parochial rights of which were granted, or re-granted, by Ranulf de Gernon, Earl of Chester, to the priory of Coventry in the early 12th century. In this list there were 8 vills ( villages ) that were to become parishes; the vills of Bisseley, Kesresley, Pinley, Spon and Whitley that were to remain in St Michael's parish and the vill of Whoberley which lay partly within Stoneleigh parish. Spon continues to be referred to as a vill in the 13th century, when it had its own common, fields, wood, mill and waste. Spon bridge was in existence by the late 13th century.

Spon's common fields later became Coventry's Lammas and Michaelmas lands at Spon End and around. The common meadows were called the Lammas lands and were enclosed from Candlemas Day (2nd February) until Lammas Day (1st August) when they were thrown open until the next Candlemas Day. The Michaelmas lands were common arable fields which could be enclosed for cultivation in strips every year from Candlemas Day (2nd February) to Michaelmas Day (29th September), when they had to be thrown open for common use until the next Candlemas Day. The Coventry freeman's entitlement (or ' stint') to the meadows was to graze two horses and one cow or two cows and one horse.

These Lammas and Michaelmas lands occupied most of the land round the western perimeter of the city. Then there were commons at Radford and Whitley along with Barras Green, Stoke Green and Stoke Heath. On top of this, Cheylesmore Park lay to the south whilst to the south east was an entailed estate which could not be developed for building. The effect of all this was a stranglehold on the expansion of the city.

Yet, by the early 19th century, the steadily increasing industrial population of Coventry created a mounting pressure for building land. As a partial solution, all available land in the city itself was brought in to use for erecting worker's houses, creating courts in the gardens of houses on the thoroughfares. Then from 1828, the so-called ' New Town ' of Hillfields was built

Meanwhile, to the west of the city, between Spon Street and Hertford Street, developement had taken place in the 1820's along the north side of Summerland Butts Lane (The Butts and Queens Road). After 1832 the land further north was built up with streets of small houses and Crow Moat was filled in. Poddy Croft, a patch of Lammas land to the east of Crow Moat, remained as a garden until late in the 19th century. Beyond Spon End, a nursery garden at Chapel Fields, part of Sir Thomas White's charity lands, was laid out with streets of watchmakers houses from 1846 onwards.

However, the Lammas and Michaelmas lands remained. In 1849, William Ranger, Superintending Inspector of the Board of Health, visited Coventry to make observations and promote the setting up of a Board of Health in the city. His report stated that the city had suffered a cholera epidemic in 1832 and that the biggest killers were epidemics of scarlet fever and typhus. In the years 1840 - 1842, the death rate in Coventry was 4 % above the national average. Ranger considered the main problem to be overcrowding due to the city's inability to expand over Lammas and Michaelmas lands. Ranger's report recommended the opening up of theses lands for building.

The first encroachment on the Common lands was the building of the Coventry to Nuneaton branch railway from 1848 to 1849. The stone viaduct known as 'Spon Arches' was erected between August 1848 and June 1849. On 25 January 1857, eleven arches were taken down and replaced in blue brick but, up to arch No 7 and after arch No 17, the original sandstone structure still forms the viaduct.

So in July 1849 an attempt was made to effect an enclosure under the Enclosure Act, but the necessary one-third of interested parties would not assent so it failed. Another attempt was made in 1857, when the necessary proportion of assents was obtained and in 1860, 976 acres of Lammas and Michaelmas lands was alloted freehold to private individuals, various trusts and the corporation. In 1875 another award was made under the same act and the rest of the Lammas and Michaelmas lands were enclosed and so these ancient commons passed into history.

Shortly after the enclosure of 1860, Broomfield Terrace was laid out. Broomfield Terrace is not in the 1861 Census but on 10th May that year there is a transfer of the license from John Royle to Jack Crockford. In the 1871 Census, the occupant is John Francis, who is a 38 year old Watchmaker Finisher who was born in London. He has a wife, Eliza, 37 years old, and four sons and three daughters. As a watchmaker finisher, John Francis would have taken the component parts of a watch, supplied by other tradesmen in the area, and assembled the finished article, then checked its timekeeping, made any necessary adjustments and sold it on to the retail trade. As such, he would have been an important part of the watch trade and providing alcoholic refreshment to both his customers and suppliers must have made good sense. I have never seen any evidence that this was other than a full public house license.

Amongst subsequent licensees, Harry Cramp is worthy of note as he was also Coventry's Town Crier. In 1979 the local real ale guide talked of excellent Ansells Mild in a working class local. In fact, for many years this was a mild-only pub: the only ale it sold was mild through its handpumps. Although it was owned by Manns, the mild it sold was Ansells because of the excellent reputation of Ansells Mild locally. The Ansells beer was removed in 1982. Before Manns, the pub is believed to have been owned by NBC (Northampton Brewing Company). In 1983 Chris Arnott called it, 'a typical village pub, although situated less than a mile from Coventry city centre. In the public bar most of the men sup mild ale and play dominoes, undisturbed by juke-box, space invaders or taped music'.

What became of the commons? It can be seen from the 1887 Ordnance map that Chapelfields, Earlsdon and Spon End had already been built up, including Broomfield Terrace and Broomfield Place. Coventry Cricket Ground occupied the area that became The Butts Stadium and the Technical College (now Earlsdon Park, though there never was such a place!). There is also a farmhouse called 'Broomfileds' in roughly the Sovereign Road/Melbourne Road area, which suggests that the Broomfields must have been a much larger area than the present day Broomfield Park. When the commons were enclosed, some of the freehold was sold to the freemen in small plots known as 'Freemen's Garden'. By the time of the 1904 - 1911 Ordnance Survey map, it can be seen that all of Lower Earlsdon was being laid out. The only remnants of the common lands were the Cycle Track, Cricket Ground and Broomfield Park. This little park was the last place still laid out with Freemen's Gardens, which means that this is the last surviving tiny fragment of the great Lammas and Michaelmas lands of ancient Coventry.
Known Licensees are;
1861 John Royle
1861 Jack Crockford
1868 - 1871 John Francis, Watchmaker finisher
1874 - 1881 J. Richardson
1886 - 1896 J. Harrow
1903 - 1905 Mary Harrow
1909 - 1913 William Lunham Chapman
1931 - 1940 W. H. Cramp
c1959 - 1963 Bill and May Toseland (photo below courtesy of Jo Shepherd. See also Fox and Vivian and Navigation Inn)
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1985 - 1986 David & Pauline Stidworthy
2011 Angie Cherry
Owners
2011 Enterprise Inns
2014 Angie Cherry

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Click here to see Research

See Lost Pub 37

VCH Vol 8 P210 Common arable fields, which later became the Lammas and Michaelmas lands, at Spon End and at other places.

P8 It is referred to as a vill on the early 13th century.........had its own common fields, wood, mill and waste.

P39 Spon viaduct - work began 1848
23 arches collapsed 1857
line reopened 1860

P40 First mention of Spon is the list of places the parochial rights in which were granted, or regranted, by Ranulf de Gernon, Earl of Chester, to the priory in the early 12th century, 8 vills which were to become parishes; the vills of Bisseley, Keresley, Pinley, Spon and Whitley, which remain in St Michael's Parish, and the vill of Whoberley, which lay partly in Stoneleigh Parish.

P32 Spon bridge was in existencebythe late 13th century

P10 By the early 19th century the steadily increasing industrial population of Coventry provided an ever more pressing reason for topographical change. At the same time the persistence of Lammas and Michaelmas rights over most of the land round the western perimeter of the city produced a stranglehold on expansion.CheylesmorePark and Whitley Common lay to the south, whilst to the south east was an entailed estate which could not be developed for building. As a partial, if shortsighted, solution of the problem all available land within the city itself was brought into use for the rection of worker's houses.

In 1828 the building of the so-called ' New Town ' was begun at Hillfields.

Meanwhile to the west of the city, between Spon Street and Hertford Street, development had taken place in the 1820's along the north side of Summerland Butts Lane ( The Butts and Queens Road ). After 1832 the land further north had been built upwith streets of small houses and Crow Moat had been filled in. Poddy Croft, a patch of Lammas land to the east of Crow Moat remained open as a garden until late in the 19th century. Beyond Spon End a nursery garden at Chapelfields also part of Sir Thomas White's charity lands, ws laid out with streets of watchmakers houses from 1846 onwards.

P11 The Lammas and Michaelmas lands were at last inclosed in 1860 and 1875.

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map
Site still all gardens

10.5.1861 JA16 Transfer of license from John Royle to Jack Crockford

10.5.1861 JA141 CS Tramsfer of license from John Royle to John Crockford

13.5.1863 JA137 Transfer of license from John Crockford to William Francis

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P38 BROOMFIELD TAVERN, Broomfield Place Alehouse
Owner : John Bayliss, Old Allesley Road
later Northampton Brewery Co
Licensee : Reuben Richardson
27.4.1882 TOL to Eliza Richardson
4.12.1884 TOL to John Harrow
22.6.1899 TOL to Mary Harrow

1979 WRAG2 A Watney pub. Excellent mild ( Ansells ) in a working class local

1982 WRAG3 A well hidden pub but worth the effort of finding. It only sells real mild and the Manns has recently replaced the Ansells mild.

1983 Pubscrawl 50 A typical village pub, albeit one situated less than a mile from Coventry city centre.

In the public bar most of the men still sup mild ale and play dominoes, undisturbed by jukebox, space invaders or taped music.

They sell a particularly strong draight beer in here. Its called Stag, it's 62 pence a pint and it's brewed by Manns. As i said before, the bar is draught mild territory. Under a trading agreement between breweries, it used to sell Ansells at the time when it was arguably the best mild in the business. Now it's Manns ( at 52p )not usually my favourite drink. In other pubs it tends to loose its head rather quickly. Here landlord Mick McCormack uses a very tight sparkler that keeps the beer creamy and lively all the way down the glass. Bob Arnold, who's been using the Broomfield for 35 years, recalls the days when it was kept by Coventry's town crier, Harry Cramp. His dad, Bill Cramp, always sent round free berron the two occassions a year we had an extension to 11 o'clock ' It was NBC in those days '.

1985 CCRAG A well-hidden pub, almost impossible to find but just off Spon End. Recently removated but still homeley. Occassional live music.

2.2011 News 2-62 Closed. Enterprise Inns looking for someone to take it on.

LICENSEES

1861 JA16 & 141 CS John Royle

1861 JA16 & 141 CS John ( Jack ) Crockford
1863 JA137 John Crockford

1863 JA137 William Francis

23.11.1868 Lantern John Francis

1871 Census John Francis 38 yo watchmaker finsher b London m Eliza, 37

1874 C&B J. Richardson [ & 4s, 3d
1878 LJ Vol 1 P38 Reuben Richardson
1881 C&B J. Richardson
1882 LJ Vol 1 P38 Reuben Richardson
1882 LJ Vol 1 P38 Eliza Richardson
1884 LJ Vol 1 P38 Eliza Richardson
1884 LJ Vol 1 P38 John Harrow
1886 C&B J. Harrow

1890/91 R&G J. Harrow

1893 Recorder J. Harrow

1894 R&G J. Harrow

1896 R&G J. Harrow
1899 LJ Vol 1 P38 John Harrow
1899 LJ Vol 1 P38 Mary Harrow
1903 R&G Mary Harrow

1905 R&G Mary Harrow

1909 R&G William L. Chapman

1911/12 Spennell William Lunham Chapman

1912/13 Spennell William Lunham Chapman

1929 P. James Licensees name not given

1931/32 P.James W. H. Cramp

1933/34 P.James W. H. Cramp

1935/36 P.James W. H. Cramp

1937/38 P.James W. H. Cramp

1939/40 P.James W. H. Cramp

1955/56 Barrett Notlisted in street section

1957 Barrett Notlisted in street section

1960 Barrett Notlisted in street section

1961 Barrett Notlisted in street section

1962 Barrett Notlisted in street section

1966 Barrett Notlisted in street section

6.6.1985 CET David & Pauline Stidworthy

23.11.1986 News 111 David & Pauline Stidworthy

OWNERS

1878 LJ Vol 1 P38 John Bayliss, Old Allesley Road
later LJ Vol 1 P38 Northampton Brewery Co
1898 LJ Vol 1 P38 Northampton Brewery Co
2011 News 2-62 Enterprise Inns

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