The Ragged Staff Inn Silsoe
The Ragged Staff in 1718 shown in red [X1/97/5]
The Ragged Staff Inn, Silsoe High Street is first mentioned in the 17th century and last mentioned in the 18th. It seems to have stood on the corner of the High Street and Church Road in the area today occupied by 31 High Street and 2 and 4 Church Road. It took its name from part of the coat of arms of the Earls of Kent.
On 24th October 1635 some land in Silsoe was leased by Henry, 10th Earl of Kent to Elizabeth Newman of Silsoe, widow for twenty one years at £7 per annum. As well as the land the lease included "a messuage called the Ragged Staff" [L5/1103].
On 1st June 1655 the Ragged Staff Inn with an orchard and pightle (small close of land) and a further seven acres dispersed in the common fields of Silsoe was leased by Amabell, Countess Dowager of Kent to Richard Alline of Silsoe, brewer, at £7 per annum for ten years [L5/1107]. The Flitton and Silsoe parish registers show that Philip Allen "of the Ragged Staffe, Silsoe" was buried on 11th December 1679. In 1681 the local petty sessions (forerunners of the magistrates' courts of today) were held at the Ragged Staff [HSA1681/S/14]
The final piece of evidence for the Ragged Staff is the thing that shows us where it was. In 1719 "a messuage with Barns, Stable &c. called the Ragged Staffe with a Homestead Adjoyning" of 1 acre, 1 rood, 30 poles was leased by the Duke of Kent. The tenant was Thomas Cox who paid rent of £2/5/- for this and nine parcels of land in various fields amounting to 5 acres, 1 rood, 13 poles of arable. A note in the margin reads: "N. B. the Toll of the Fair is not included in the aforesaid Rent". After this there is no further mention of the Ragged Staff in documents held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service.
L5/1103: lease from Henry, Earl of Kent to Elizabeth Newman of Silsoe, widow and her son Richard Allin: 1635;
L5/1107: lease from Amabell, Countess Dowager of Kent to Richard Alline: 1655;
HSA1681/S/14: petty sessions held at the Ragged Staff: 1681;
L33/286/folio 11: rental: 1719
Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1635-1655: Richard Allin(e);
1679: Philip Allen;
1719: Thomas Cox