Victuallers and alehousekeepers

Scope and Content

Under the Act of 5 and 6 Edw. VI c.25 s.2 (1552) recognizances of keepers of 'common Alehouses and Tiplinghouses' were to be taken for good behaviour before two justices of the peace who were to 'certify the same recognizances at the next quarter sessions .... there to remain on record'.

2 Geo.II c.28 s.11 (1729) established the yearly petty divisional licensing sessions to be held within the first twenty days of September and the Act of 26 Geo.II c.31 s.5 (1753) ordered 'that the Clerks of the Peace shall keep a register or Calendar of all the Recognizances, sent or returned'. The need for the keeping of a register was abolished by the Act of 12 Geo.Ill c.71 (1772). The powers of justices of the peace were severely limited by the Acts of 9 Geo.IV. c.61 (1828) and 11 Geo.IV and 1 Wm. c.64 (1830) and led to the opening of a large number of beerhouses.

Some restriction was later imposed by the Act 3 and 4 Vict. c.61 (1840) which stated that excise licences for the sale of beer were not to be granted to occupiers rated at less than £11 per annum if situated in places where the population was between 2,500 and 10,000 or to occupiers of houses rated at less than £8 if situated in places with smaller populations.

A duplicate of the overseers' certificate of rateable value was to be deposited with the clerk of the peace.

Registers of Denbighshire alehouses provide the name of the alehouse keeper and the amount of the licence, and occasionally provide the profession of the keeper (where this is different from a victualler), the names of his sureties, and the sign of the inn. Recognizances of Denbighshire alehouses provide the name of the alehouse keeper, his sureties (and usually their professions), the amount of money in which they were bound over for good behaviour and, occasionally, the sign of the inn is also given.

In Denbighshire, Bromfield and Yale recognizances were granted at Wrexham, but within the hundred of Bromfield, recognizances for the parishes of Ruabon and Erbistock were granted separately at Ruabon; in the hundred of Isaled, recognizances for the Isaled division were granted at Denbigh, and those for the Uwchaled division at Cerrigydrudion; in the hundred of Isdulas, those for the Isdulas division were granted at Abergele and -those for Uwchdulas at Llanrwst; in the hundred of Chirk, recognizances were usually granted at Llangollen. Recognizances for the borough of Ruthin were filed separately from those of the hundred of Ruthin; and recognizances for the borough of Denbigh were granted at the borough court of quarter sessions (see BD/A/184-5).