Scope and Content

Historical Background

The deeds and associated documents in this collection relate to about sixty public houses, mostly within Oxfordshire, which were formerly in the ownership of H.& G.Simonds Limited of Reading and Clinch & Company Limited of Witney.

H.& G.Simonds Ltd.:

William Simonds, a maltster, began brewing in Reading in 1768. The business passed through the family and by 1872 it operated 79 licensed houses. The firm was registered as a limited liability company in 1885. The number of tied houses it owned increased from 158 in 1896 to 316 in 1916.

In 1959 a trading agreement was entered into with Courage & Barclay Limited of London, leading in 1960 to a full-scale merger under the names of Courage, Barclay & Simonds. At this time the company operated 1200 tied houses, hotels and retail wine and spirit shops.

Clinch & Co.Ltd.:

William Clinch founded the Eagle Brewery at Witney in 1840. By the 1850s the family business activities were headed by John Williams Clinch. The brewery (along with 17 public houses) was transferred to his sons in 1867, when John was found to have appropriated funds. James and William Clinch operated the brewery until 1877, when (after James' death) it was taken over by William Clinch & Co.. In 1883 William entered into partnership with his sons-in-law Thomas Foreshew and Bellingham Arthur Somerville, a union which continued until William died in 1891. During this period 15 public houses were purchased individually and in 1890 the Blanket Hall Brewery, with around 23 tied houses, was also bought.

Clinch & Co. itself began trading in late 1892. It was eventually taken over, together with 74 licensed houses in 1962 by Courage, Barclay & Simonds Ltd. in London and ceased brewing in the following year.

The Records

The material which makes up this archive was deposited at various dates; the bulk of it was received in October 1983 (Accession number 2184), but additions came to us in December 1983 (Accession 2196), September 1987 (Accession 2713), June 1989 (Accession 2972) and June 1993 (Accession 3674), the last two via Berkshire Record Office.

The collection comprises mainly title deeds to public houses, spanning the 16th to 20th centuries, as well as wills, registration certificates, financial papers and correspondence. The catalogue has been arranged alphabetically by parish and then by name of the premises. The final section contains details of documents bundled separately from the main series of deeds, most of which do not relate specifically to any one property. Where wills are recorded in this catalogue, the date given in bold type is that of the probate, though when there is no evidence of the will being proved, the date is the one when the will was made.


The Brewing Industry: A Guide to Historical Records, edited by Lesley Richmond and Alison Turton (1990).

Abbreviations used:

Beds. Bedfordshire

Berks. Berkshire

Bucks. Buckinghamshire

Cambs. Cambridgeshire

Co. Company

contd continued

decd deceased

Esq. Esquire

gent. gentleman

Gloucs. Gloucestershire

Hon. Honourable

Middx. Middlesex

n.d. not dated

Revd Reverend

Rt Right

Warwicks. Warwickshire

Wilts. Wiltshire

Worcs. Worcestershire

Catalogued by Mark Priddey, June 1993.

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