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  1. #1
    Newcomer to Brit-Gen
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    St albans

    Default Alcoholic Innkeeper

    I have an ancestor who was innkeeper at The Saracens Head in Taunton. According to his death certificate he died in 1871 after throwing himself "from a window whilst in a state of temporary mental insanity (probably Delirium tremens)". It seems he was an alcoholic. Does anyone know whether innkeepers had to apply for a license of any kind in those days and whether it was unusual for an innkeeper to enjoy more than a small tipple ?


  2. #2


    I don't know the legalities of it, but I do know several of my ancestors were pub landlords, with serious alcohol addictions.

    One of them, Thomas Wyman, GrandFathers' Brother had his pub taken off him for getting into debt, and died in the workhouse as a result.

    I never knew my Paternal GrandFather, he drank himself to death the year I was born, 1960 and GrandMa told me his Dad had been the same.

    My own Father is a serious drinker and I have lost contact with him for the last 20 years, he may be dead, I don't know.

    Clearly it ran in the family.

  3. #3
    Brick wall demolition expert!
    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    I am pretty sure that people had to apply for Victualler's licences, as they still do now, but I'm not sure what date it goes back to, or where you would find the documents. My guess would probably be with the County record office, if the documents still exist.


  4. #4
    Valued member of Brit-Gen
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    A beerhouse licence would have had less restrictions that a full licence allowing you to sell spirits. However , even after licensing was tightened in 1869, a licence for an existing pub could only be refused for 4 reasons:
    1. The licensee had not provided sufficient references of good character
    2. That the pub was a disorderly house or was frequented by thieves & prostitutes
    3. That the applicant had previously had a licence withdrawn for misconduct
    4. That the applicant or premises were not qualified by law (not sure exactly what that means)

  5. #5
    Loves to help with queries
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    James Broadley, born 1821 was a miner in the 1841 and 1851 censuses. By the 1861 he had become a beerhouse keeper in Church (Lancs). There were incidents reported in the paper of men gambling, etc and the magistrates refused to renew his licence. He had to go back to mining. He died in 1881 and his son James, a miner, was killed in the Moorfield Pit Disaster of 1883. I wonder if the magistrates felt any responsibility? James 1821 had a brother George b 1822 who was a miner in 1851. By 1861 he was an innkeeper in Oswaldtwistle (very near Church). There was a dreadful episode about a group of men bursting into the pub and murdering a man. George gave up the pub and went back to mining. He died in 1866, aged 45. Local papers can be mines of information. cicilysmith


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