The Butchers Arms


The Beerhouse Act of 1830 allowed any “Householder of Respectability” to brew and sell beer, and several houses in Oakington and Westwick were subsequently converted to this usage. The Butcher’s Arms (so named because it was also a butchery) may have been one of these. The first recorded ownership that we have is from the Enclosures Act of 1834, which lists the Butcher’s Arms as a public house owned by Joseph Stanley who also owned a house in the Driftway. Butcher and publican William Radford and his wife Ann were listed as tenants in the 1841 census. James Radford (brother of William, and landlord and publican at the Harvest Home pub on Cambridge Road) purchased the Butcher’s Arms from Joseph Stanley in 1844, while William continued as butcher and publican.


Ownership changed again in 1850, with brewer Jacob Ellwood of Histon purchasing the Butcher’s Arms plus outbuildings and about one acre of land from James Radford for £520, plus £5 for a licence to sell spirits. Later reports indicate that he raised £300 for the purchase by mortgaging the property to William Linton of Westwick. (William Linton was maltster of Westwick Hall and a farmer employing 27 men; he also owned the New Inn pub in Westwick, which he had built, and the White Horse pub in Oakington). The census of 1851 lists Isaiah Radford as butcher/publican tenant, along with Ann Radford, while that of 1861 gives William Neal as publican tenant with his wife Rebekah. (William Neal was later to become the landlord/tenant and butcher of the Windmill pub on the High Street). Newspaper reports from this period included mention of a Cricket Match dinner in 1854, Ploughing Match dinners in 1854–1856, and a robbery of William Neal’s butcher’s cart in 1862.


March 1863 saw ownership transfer to Alfred Radley (a butcher of Cambridge and son of previous owner James Radley) although the property was still under mortgage to William Linton. Tenants included Benjamin Pryor (butcher and publican/beer retailer), Isaiah Dellar (grocer/shopkeeper), Charles Pridgeon (butcher and beer retailer), Alfred Pridgeon, and William Daniel Smith (beer retailer).


After a brief period in the 1890s of ownership by J A Wooten of King’s Head Brewery, Castle Street, Cambridge, the Butcher’s Arms was sold to J and J E Philips (brewers) of Royston in 1899. The tenant at this time was Herbert Neal (beer retailer), son of previous tenant William Neal (tenant 1858–63) who was now at the Windmill pub. The Butcher’s Arms survived the closure of four of Oakington’s pubs in 1905–1908, and from 1908 to 1948 enjoyed a stable period under the long tenancy of Arthur Charles Stern (or Boosey Stearn, as he was known) and Beatrice Alice Stearn. A billiard table, reported by the Cambridge Chronicle to be the only one in the district, was also installed in 1923 by the Oakington branch of the British Legion.


After the death of Boosey Stearn in 1948, the tenancy was taken over by Arthur and Beatrice Rayner and, by 1955, by Stanley and Barbara Alderton. Owners J & J E Philips sold the pub to Greens of Luton in 1949, who in turn sold out to Flowers Brewery in 1954.

The Butcher’s Arms finally closed in 1957 after being delicensed. It was converted to a private house, called Beech House, and sold to Oakington residents Percy (Bunny) and Kathleen Moore. Beech House is still in existence today.

Beech House in 2016


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