Petty Sessions Wheatsheaf clipSometimes you find interesting things in the archives. Susan Wilson recently came across this clip from the 1863 Chelmsford Chronicle which provides some facinating insights into life in Galleywood, the pubs and local and legal politics.

The Wheatsheaf at the crossroads a few years later became The Eagle (see the 1872 map below). we are asured that do currently have a licence, but for the time being remain COVID-19 closed!







Petty Sessions
Chelmsford, August 28 1863

Magistrates present – T. Kemble, Esq., chairman; E. Disney, Esq., and Captain Travers.

This being general licencing day, The publicans in the division were present, and their licences were without exception renewed, the chairman complimented them on the quiet and orderly manner in which, with a few exceptions, their houses and been conducted during the year. Some of the publicans did not answer to their names, and the chairman said it was their duty to appear personally before the bench and unless they did so in future the licences would not be granted.


– Mr. Duffield, on behalf of William Pilkington of the Wheatsheaf beer shop, Galleywood-common, applied for a spirit licence. The application was opposed by Mr. Preston; and Mr Blyth, who also opposed, applied for a spirit licence on behalf of Mrs. Lucy Scotcher, of the Elephant and Castle, a beer shop, situated near the Wheatsheaf, and it was agreed that the two application should be heard together. Mr. Preston opposed both.

– Mr. Duffield said the Wheatsheaf was a new home, and was well fitted for a licenced house, being situated just at the junction of four roads, leading from Great Baddow to Margaretting and from Chelmsford to Billericay. There was a great deal of traffic on these roads, and though there were, no doubt, two public-houses within a quarter of a mile, yet he thought, when the bench had heard the facts, they would not think that was any reason why the licence should not be granted. He would produce a testimonial, signed by the clergymen of the parish and one of the churchwardens, testifying to the respectability of the applicant and also to the situation of the house itself for the purposes of the inn. He had also a testimonial signed by members of the race committee stating that in their opinion the house at race times stood very conveniently for stabling of horses; and he should show that the landlord had promised additional accommodation in that respect if the house was licenced.

-Pilkington was examined by Mr. Duffield, and said his house possessed ample accommodation for an inn; there were four rooms downstairs and four up; he had also stabling for several horses; a deal of traffic passed his house, and the population of the neighbourhood had increased largely within the last few year

-Cross examined by Mr. Blyth. The house had been built 15 months, and he had occupied it the whole of that time; it was larger then the Elephant and Castle; he was before the bench a few weeks since about a “row” in his house; that was because he had a troublesome lot to deal with, and he didn’t want their custom; could use his fists pretty well when he was “put out”- Laughter
- Mr. Blyth. And so you can when you put them out, it seems.- Laughter
- Witness. Yes. I should put them out pretty quick, and you too if you were quarrelsome.- Laughter
- Cross examination resumed. Has summoned a man for assaulting him in his house, but the bench dismissed the case on account of the violence he (witness) used; he had a dispute with a ma a short time since at the Blue Lion, Where he had been to get a glass of spirits; a man accused him of robbing him of half a sovereign, and stood and squared up before him, and he (witness) “made no more to-do,” but knocked him down, and so he would anybody else who charged him with stealing, half-a-sovereign, and “squared” up to him. – Laughter; he should not have hit him if he hadn’t deserved it.
- Cross examination by Mr Preston. There were not two public houses within 200 yards of his house; the Running Mare was about 500 yards off; there were not more than four houses between the Running Mare and the Elephant and Castle; the Blue Lion was about 400 yards from his house; there were only two houses between the Blue Lion and Elephant and Castle.
-Mr. Preston. How far off is the Bear?
- Witness. There stands the Bear to speek for himself. [Laughter] He can tell you.
- Mr. Preston. Yes, but I should like to have your evidence as well as the Bear’s.
- Witness said the Bear was about 400 yards off; there were about 20 cottages on the other side of his houses; none of the persons who signed the petitions had applied to him for accommodation; hed did not ask the gentlemen of the race committee to sign the petition; the the names were not obtained for him by Mr. Durrant; Mr. Palmer was his landlord, and he was supplied with bear partly by Mr. Hardcastle and partly by Mr Durrant; he gave the petition to Mr. Burton, who obtained the signatures of the race committee; the first petition bore Mr. Simmonds’ name; it was not written by that gentleman, but by Mrs. Simmonds, be he did not know that she signed it against her husband’s wish.
- By Mr. Blyth. Since he had been at the Wheatsheaf, he had done some work for the race committee, but nothing was then said about the licence.

- Mr. Blyth then applied on behalf of Mrs. Scotcher for a spirit licence to the Elephant and Castle, which, he said, was nearly opposite the Wheatsheaf, and possessed all the advantages described by Mr. Duffield, in still greater degree. It had more room than the Wheatsheaf , and more stable accommodation, and it had been respectfully conducted as a bear house for 20 years, the present applicant and her late husband having occupied it for 15 years; whereas the present tenant of the Wheatsheaf had only occupied the house fifteen months, and judging for what they had heard from him to-day, it seemed to him that he was hardly a fit person to keep an inn at all.
- Mrs Lucy Scotcher said she had occupied the house for 15 years; it stood on the racecourse near the junction of four roads; there seven down and four upstairs rooms; she had accommodation in the yard for 30 horses, and could stable nearly a dozen; the Running Mare was the only other inn on the same road; the vicar and the curate, and by very many of the inhabitants, including Mr. Simmonds.
- Cross examined by Mr Preston. She also kept a grocers shop and her son assisted her in the business; she paid £20 a year rent; this was the first time she had applied for a licence; she had twice been convicted but that was in her husband’s time; she had been a widow.
- Cross examined by Mr. Duffield. She had seven rooms in her house – a front sitting-room , back-room, kitchens, tap-room, another little room behind, and a shoemaker’s shop in which her son worked; she did not show customers into the shoemaker’s shop. [Laughter.]
- By Mr. Blyth. Her husband was first convicted about ten years ago when the law was altered; it was six or seven years ago since the last conviction, which was for drawing a pint of beer on Sunday fore-noon just after 11 o’clock.

- Mr. Preston, who opposed both applications, said the principal points for the bench to consider were the accommodation afforded, and also whether the applicants were proper persons to be intrusted with a licence. He did not desire, nor was it the wish of those he represented, to say anything harsh, but one or two facts as to the character of the applicants had been brought out, which it was the duty of the bench to take into their serious consideration. He contended that there was already more than sufficient public-house accommodation in the neighbourhood, and if the bench thought it necessary, he should be able to call witnesses to prove that that was the case. If, however, they thought they had heard sufficient to justify them in refusing both licences, he would not further take up their time.
- The Chairman said he had consulted with his brother magistrates, and the they were unanimous in their opinion to refuse both licences.

 Petty Sessions Wheatsheaf End clip

  • Wheatsheaf beer shop (Became the Eagle at the corooroads)
  • Elephant and Castle beer shop (Near the Smithy)
  • Blue Lion (Was opposite the White Bear)
  • Running Mare 
  • Bear (Now the White Bear)

OS Sheet LII 1874-1878

 An extract from OS sheet LII 1874-1878 - "This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth". Copyright (c) 2004-2015 of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

Thanks to Susan Wilson for digging out the clip from the 1863 Chelmsford Chronicle and Anthony McQuiggan fro the transcription photographs and maps.