The Plough & Harrow

A parade in Longstanton Road celebrating the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935 taken from the White Horse. You can see the village shop on the left which used to be the Plough and Harrow.

The village shop on Longstanton Road was once the Plough and Harrow pub. The first record we have is from the 1841 census, which lists Allen Simons as publican along with his daughters Sarah, Mary and Ann. At that time this section of Longstanton Road (between approximately where Mead View and Lowbury Crescent are today) was known as Sheeps Green. (The section near the crossroads, as well as the land either side, was known as Ale House Green).

Allen Simons was followed by John Smith (victualler) and wife Sarah, and then by Thomas Dean (bricklayer, beer retailer and shopkeeper) who ran the Plough and Harrow from the early 1850s to the early 1870s alongside his wife Susan. The 1861 census also lists their grandchildren (Thomas, age 10, and Martha, age 4) as well Thomas (age 56) and Susan (age 54). Reports of the Plough and Harrow in the Cambridge Chronicle from this period include:

  • Cambridge Chronicle News report 20th November 1858
    A ploughing match meeting of the Oakington, Westwick, Dry Drayton and Longstanton Agricultural Society, took place at the Plough & Harrow PH. It was decided that the annual match would take place on Wednesday December 1st on land occupied by Mr Henry Cole, near to the Huntingdon Turnpike Road.  The dinner will take [place at] 3pm at the Plough & Harrow Inn.
  • Cambridge Chronicle 17th December 1864
    An inquest was held at the Plough & Harrow on James Willmott an aged man, who for the past four years had gradually been sinking. A few days previous he fell to the floor and broke some of his ribs. Mr Knowles surgeon of the district tended him. He lingered a few days then dies.
    Verdict; Inflammation of the lungs caused by broken ribs.
  • Cambridge Chronicle 11th February 1865
    Inquest on William Watson. On Friday 3rd February at the Plough & Harrow PH. Mr Watson a labourer was taken ill on Sunday, but no medical man was sent for before Tuesday.  Mr Knowles (the Doctor) said it was a bowel complaint and he couldn’t come over for that so he sent some pills via his (Watsons) daughter. However he dies two nights later. A Post Mortem by Mr F R Hall was held where opinion was there was not the least symptoms of death until only a few hours before he died.
    Verdict;  Death by the Visitation of God.

The licencing record of 1882 describes the Plough and Harrow as an alehouse, with tenant Herbert Doggett and owner W H Apthorpe. (W H Apthorpe was the owner of Albion Brewery of Coronation Street (Hills Road) Cambridge, and landlord of the Hopbine pub in Fair Street Cambridge. Albion Brewery had 50 tied houses, including the Elm Tree, Salisbury Alms, Earl Grey, Empress, Durham Ox, House of Commons, and Plough Lt Shelford as well as pubs in Histon and Oakington).

Herbert Doggett (bar retailer) and his wife Martha ran the Plough and Harrow between at least 1879 and 1884. Subsequent tenants included Ezra Mitchell (blacksmith and publican) and wife Alice, and Alex Joseph Scruby. Meanwhile, owners W H Apthorpe & Son Brewers sold out to Lacon and Co Ltd of Great Yarmouth in 1896. (Lacon and Co subsequently sold out to Whitbread and Co in 1965). By 1900 Joseph Radford, the last publican, was tenant. Part of the premises were converted to greater shop use in 1904, and the 1904 trade directory lists Charles Cooper (grocer and draper) as well as Joseph Radford (Plough and Harrow). The beer license was removed by the Cambridgeshire Licensing Authority on 30 June 1905, under the Beer Act of 1902 (an Act to “to amend the law relating to the sale of intoxicating Liquors and to Drunkenness”). The Cambridge Chronicle reported

The principal meeting of the Cambridgeshire Licencing Authority was held in the Shire Hall Chesterton on Friday, with the result that the Licences of fourteen of the houses, which had been referred to them for their consideration were ordered to be abolished

In Oakington, this included the King’s Head, Windmill, and Plough and Harrow. With regard to the Plough and Harrow, the Cambridge Chronicle further reported

Joseph Radford, the tenant of these fully licensed premises, which are the property of Messers Lacon & Co desired the committee not to take away the Licence (to no avail). However, compensation will be paid to occupant Joseph Radford after 1st February 1906.

After removal of the licence, Joseph Radford moved into one of the three old cottages that were situated opposite Eastview House (junction of Coles Lane and Croft Lane; these cottages were owned by Bert Smith (baker) and were demolished in 1938). Joseph Radford had a smallholding on the Driftway by which he made his living; he died in 1931/32. Meanwhile, Charles Cooper and his wife Fanny continued to run the former Plough and Harrow as a grocer and draper shop until 1925. They were followed by Herbert and Alice-Bessie Saunders who ran the shop 1927–1952 with assistance from Herbert’s sister Florence and their daughters Jean and Kathleen. The premises were sold to John and Leah Davies in 1952, who ran the shop from 1952–1972. They were followed by Charles and Caroline Woods (1972–1988), Richard and Robert Baines (1989–1991), and Raj and Kanwaljit Sanghera (1991–2021). Since 2021 the shop has been run by Thiru Kunaratnam.

The village shop (formerly the Plough and Harrow) in 2016, following a complete refurbishment in 2015


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