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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 O Rare Ben Johnson

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NAME O RARE BEN JOHNSON
ALTERNATIVE NAMES BEN JOHNSON'S HEAD, BEN JOHNSON
ADDRESS 18 NEW STREET

Benjamin Johnson (1572 - 1637) was a poet and a playwright and a friend of all the great writers of his day, including Shakespeare, and a considerable influence on younger writers who formed the 'Tribe of Ben'. At one time the St. Michael's bell ringers 10 pint glass, which rang the note of A Sharp, was kept here until being removed to the CHEQUERS in Little Park Street. It must have been quite a sight!

In 1789 the pub was used for auctions. In 1828, 1831 and 1862 the pub is recorded as being owned by the Free Grammar School. In 1842 it is recorded that the 37 year leae to William Bray had expired and in 1862 three houses, including the Ben Johnson, were leased to Mrs. Ann Rotherham for fourteen years for £30 per annum.

From 1882 the pub is listed in Phillips and Marriotts Property Register, valued at £ 500, yet in 1895 we also have a record that it was sold by William Brain to Phillips and Marriott along with the Crow in the Oak, Lockhurst Lane, the Tramway, Silver Street and the Chase Gosford Street. It was a home-brew pub until 1920 with Phillips and Marriott selling malt to the pub at a discount of 3d per bushel. In 1899 they valued it at £1000.

Known Licensees are;
1822 - 1823 W. Bray
1835 - 1851 Arthur Bray
1861 John Blount
1868 James Marriott
1871 Robert Causer
1879 - 1886 Samuel Beauchamp
1890 - 1891 William Wilcox
1893 J. Baker
1894 H. J. Crump
1894 - 1924 Joseph James Bickley
1926 - 1936 D. M. Sproul (Thanks to Martina Thom for info)
1937 - 1940 H. Heath 
Owners;
1831 - 1862 Free Grammar Scholl
1895 William Brain
1895 Phillips and Marriott

Brewers;


to 1877 Joseph Woodward
1877 - 1887 Samuel Beauchamp
1887 - 1920 Joseph Bickley 
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Dict PN Benjamin Johnson ( 1572 - 1637 ), poet nd playwright, was a friend of all the great writers of his day, including Shakespeare, and a considerable influence on younger writers, who formed ' The tribe of Ben.'

COC P16 St. Michaels bellringers 10 pint glass ( A sharp) kept here until moved to the Chequers, Little Park Street.

1789 JA1 Used for auctions

1828 JA34 ref20 Rental of Estates belonging to Free Grammar School

New Street. Two houses, one occupied as a public house called Ben Johnson's Head with outbuildings and garden.

Renewal of lease

1831 JA7 Rental of Estates belonging to Free Grammar School

New Street. Two houses, one occupied as a public house called Ben Johnson's Head with outbuildings and garden.

Renewal of lease

10.10.1842 JA34 Charities inquiry

Expiration of 37 year lease to William Bray for Ben Johnson's Head

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map - Ben Johnson

1.4.1859 JA141 CS Transfer of license from Thomas Jones to Thomas Poultney

4.10.1861 JA56 CH&O Auction at O Rare Ben Johnson

1862 Poole P253 Rental of Estates belonging to Free Grammar School
Three houses - one the Ben Johnson - on lease to Mrs Ann Rotherham for fourteen years which expires in 1871.

5.11.1869 JA63 CH&O Transfer of license from James Marriott to Henry Eaves

24.3.1876 JA141 CH&O Transfer of license from George Lambert ot John W. Samuels

28.8.1878 LJ Vol1 P7 Owner : Free School Trustees, Coventry
later Phillips & Marriott Ltd
Licensee : Samuel Beauchamp
23.5.1889 TOL to Frederick Bonham
9.1.1890 TOL to William Wilcox
7.10.1892 TOL to John Joseph Baker
12.4.1893 TOL to Henry Joseph Cramp
20.11.1894 TOL to Joseph Bickley

6.6.1882 CR 64.3 ff 1.2 Notice of sale with particulars

? P&M PR Purchased by Phillips & Marriott for £ 500

1887 COC Cov Times Inn signs

1895 JA48 PA 36/7/15 Transfer from William Brain to Phillips & Marriott with Crow in the Oak, Lockhurst Lane, Tramway ( late Turks Head ), 29 Silver Street and Chase, 43 Gosford Street.

? P&M PR Malt at a discount of 3d per bushel

30.9.1899 P&M PR Value £ 1000

to 1920 Friedrich Home brewery

LICENSEES

1822/23 Pigot W. Bray

1828/29 Pigot William Bray

1835 Pigot Arthur Bray

1841 Pigot Arthur Bray

1841 Census Arthur Bray 55 yo b Wks m Mary, 55 & 2 kids

1845 Kelly A. Bray

1850 CS Arthur Bray

1851 Census Arthur Bray 69 yo b Coventry m Ann, 65 & 1d ( Ben Johnson )

1859 JA141 CS Thomas Jones

1859 JA141 CS Thomas Poultney

1861 Census John Blount 62 yo innkeeper b Leicester m Rebecca, 65 & 3d

1868 Buchanan James Marriott

1869 JA63 CH&O James Marriott

1869 JA63 CH&O Henry Eaves

1871 Census Robert Causer 45 yo watchmaker b Coventry m Emma, 47 & 7d, 1 1876 JA141 CS George Lambert [ boarder

1876 JA141 CS John W. Samuels
1878 LJ Vol1 P7 Samuel Beauchamp
1879 Stevens Samuel Beauchamp

1881 C&B S. Beauchamp

1886 C&B S. Beauchamp

1889 LJ Vol1 P7 Samuel Beauchamp

1889 LJ Vol1 P7 Frederick Bonham
1890 LJ Vol1 P7 Frederick Bonham

1890 LJ Vol1 P7 William Wilcox

1890/91 R&G William Wilcox
1892 LJ Vol1 P7 William Wilcox
1892 LJ Vol1 P7 John Joseph Baker

1893 Reporter J. Baker
1893 LJ Vol1 P7 John Joseph Baker
1893 LJ Vol1 P7 Henry Joseph Cramp
1894 R&G H. J. Crump
1894 LJ Vol1 P7 Henry Joseph Cramp
1894 LJ Vol1 P7 Joseph Bickley
10.10.1894 P&M PR Joseph Bickley

1896 R&G Joseph Bickley
1898 LJ Vol1 P7 Joseph Bickley
1903 R&G Joseph Bickley

1905 R&G Joseph Bickley

1909 R&G Joseph Bickley

1.6.1910 P&M PR Joseph Bickley

1911/12 Spennell J. Bickley

1912/13 Spennell J. Bickley

1919 Spennell Joseph James Bickley

1921/22 Spennell Joseph James Bickley

1924 Spennell Joseph James Bickley

1926/27 Spennell D. M. Sproul see Source 35

1929 Spennell D. M. Sproul " " "

1931/32 Spennell D. M. Sproul " " "

1933/34 Spennell D. M. Sproul " " "

1935/36 Spennell D. M. Sproul " " "

1937/38 Spennell H. Heath

1939/40 Spennell H. Heath

BREWERS

1877 Friedrich Joseph Woodward

1877 Friedrich Samuel Beauchamp

1887 Friedrich Samuel Beauchamp

1887 Friedrich Joseph Bickley

1914 WB Joseph Bickley

1920 Friedrich Joseph Bickley

OWNERS

1828 JA34 ref20 Free Grammar School

1831 JA7 Free Grammar School

1862 Poole P253 Free Grammar School
1878 LJ Vol1 P7 Free School Trustees, Coventry
later LJ Vol1 P7 Phillips & Marriott Ltd
1895 JA48 PA 56/7/15 William Brain

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