The Beeches

This is a C1895 photograph used to publicise "The Beeches" as a guest house, targeting anglers proposing to fish at the reservoir.  

The Beeches is a Grade II listed building and was built in 1827 with late Victorian wings added in 1880. In some records, it was called or known by the sign of "The Elephant and Castle". Though William Burt's application for a license was refused in 1853, he is described as a beer seller in 1854. The Elephant Benefit Society was founded in 1855. There were no objections to William's application for a spirit license in 1858. In 1873 it's spirit license was transferred to "The Vine". It has since been a Poultry Farm and Guest House. The house has also been owned by Sir A. de Rothschild, the Bunce family and Harvey Wakefield (church warden and benefactor of the church) and is now a private residence.

Formerly known as "(Little) Cowcroft" and "The Elephant (and Castle)"

We are very luck to have a copy of a "Holiday Brochure" from The Beeches C1895 available at the bottom of this page.

1599 Plot known as "Cowcroft"[1

1603 William Purssell, Farmer.[1] 

1609 Thomas Illing, Farmer.[1] 

1610 Thomas Trip, Farmer.[1] 

1629 Thomas Goodson, Farmer.[1] 

1630? Richard Brown, Farmer (Quaker).[1] 

1638 Bartholomew Baldwin, Gent.[1] 

1640? Mercers. Co Owners; "Little Crowcroft", Thomas Grace, Farmer.[1] 

1654 Mercers. Co Owners; Mr Gerrard.[1] 

1798 William Burt, Farmer.[1] 

1826 William Burt, Dead.[1] 

1827 House built on plot, William Burt, Junior (born 1807).[1] 

1837 House & Garden;William Burt.[1] 

1852 Shop (part), William Burt, Confectioner.[1] 

1853 William Burt's application for a license was refused.[13] 

1854 William Burt appears in 1854 Kelly's directory as a beer retailer.

1855 The Elephant Benefit Society was formed.

1855 William Burtt (An old constable) fined £2 including expenses for keeping his beer house open after 10 o'clock, even though he explained:-

1858 Public House (Part); William Burtt, of the "Elephant", Weston Turville, applied for a license, which was granted, no one appearing to oppose the application.[9]  

1861 William Burt, Victualler.[1] 

1864 William Burt.[1] 

1867 About 40 sat down to the Club Feast at the Elephant.[10] 

In 1869, Bucks Chronicle serialised an article explaining the origin of sign boards in Buckinghamshire. 20th November issues explains "The Elephant and Castle".

"The Elephant and Castle alone remains for our present consideration. We meet with it at Chesham, Linalade, Weston Turville, &c. It reminds us, in the first place, of the growth of our Indian of Empire and the fall of Tippo Sahib, who gained an unenviable notoriety through the Black Hole in Calcutta. Therefore anything that would serve to satisfy the people of this country that their powerful adversary was defeated would be acceptable, and this the sign of the Elephant and Castle was particularly adapted to do. When the two sons of Tippo were received as hostages by Lord Cornwallis they were each mounted on an elephant, richly caparisoned, and seated in a silver howdah. At Visier Ali's wedding, in 1795, "the procession was grand beyond conception. It consisted of about twelve hundred elephants, richly caparisoned, and drawn up in a regular line like a file of soldiers. About one hundred elephants in the centre had howdahs or castles covered with silver. In the midst of these appeared the Nabob, mounted on an uncommonly large elephant, within a howdah covered with silver and richly set with precious stones."

In the second place, we have to consider this sign in connection with George, Prince of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne. There is in Denmark Knights of the Elephant, an order conferred upon none but persons of the first quality and merit. It is also called the order of St. Mary. The institution is said to have been owing to a gentleman among the Danish "Croisees" having killed an elephant in an expedition against the Saracens in 1184, in memory of which King Canutus instituted this order, the badge of which is a towered elephant with an image of the Holy Virgin encircled with rays, and hung on a watered sky-coloured ribbon like the George amongst the order of the Garter with us."


Peter Brill, a beer-house keeper was summoned for having his house open at unauthorised hours on the 7th February. Fined £1 3s, including costs.[6


Peter Brill was charged with assaulting Police-constable Elijah Bowden at Weston Turville, on the 17th May.

Elijah Bowden, a Police-constable stationed at Aston Clinton, said he visited the defendant's public- house, at Weston Turville, on the evening of the 17th May. He heard a noise, when at the bar, of some one playing at ninepins, and as he was going in the defendant met him, and saying he should not go in pushed him back. He asked him if he was aware that he was liable to a prosecution for refusing to admit a policeman. He replied that he might summon and be d---d, and threatened him. He then attempted to go into the house by another door, when the defendant again met him, and told him he should not go in there, for he was not sent for. He then pushed him back the passage.

Police-constable Kimble corroborated the evidence of the previous witness, and it was stated by the police that the house was badly conducted.

The defendant was fined £5 or two months' imprisonment.[5

1869 July Emanuel Brill was found guilty of assaulting Louisa Gascoigne in The Elephant publichouse, which was kept by his father. Fined £1 and £1 costs.[11] 

1869 Oct License was transferred from Emanual Brill to his son, Peter Brill.[4



Mr. W. Brown

Has received directions TO SELL BY AUCTION, AT THE GEORGE HOTEL, AYLESBURY, On WEDNESDAY, the 18th of MAY, 1870, AT HALF-PAST 2 O'CLOCK PRECISELY, The above very Eligible Freehold Property,

SITUATE AT THE SOUTH END OF THE VILLAGE, COMPRISING a commodious DWELLING HOUSE containing cellar, parlor, tap room, bar, pantry, and 3 bed rooms and a COTTAGE adjoining (underlet to Joseph Weedon). The out offices comprize large barn, cowhouse, henhouse, wood barn, &c. In the front are two small gardens, and at the rear is a highly productive garden and orchard; containing in the whole 24. 38. 6P. The premises are occupied by Mr. Peter Brill, as tenant to Mr. John Terry, who holds a lease thereof, granted by the late Mr. W. Burtt, for 7 years, from 25th December, 1865, at a rent of £45 per annum. May be viewed on application. Particulars obtained upon the Premises; of Mr. J. M. Shugar, Solicitor, and at the Offices of Mr. W. Brown, Land Agent, Tring, where a copy of the Lease may be inspected.[5] 

1871 Permitting Gambling

Following several complaints about gambling at "The Elephant" police constables Kimbel and Sharp observed a group playing cards for beer. Emanuel Brill was charged with permitting gaming in his licensed house on 30th May. Peter Brill stated that he was a licensed hawker and stated the cards belonged to him. The Magistrate dismissed the case and the prosecution said they had escaped by the skin of their teeth.

Controversially, Emanuel Brill and Charles Goodson were then charged with playing cards in a publichouse - under the Vagrant Act of 1868. Case withdrawn, much to the displeasure of the police and pleading for re-consideration.

1872 Sir A. de Rothschild Owner, Emmanuel Brill.[1] 

1873 William Ingram of the Vine beerhouse requested that the spirit license of the Elephant and Castle should be transferred to the Vine. In consequence the Elephant and Castle would close. Objections by Mr. Clarke of Wycombe,  were swept aside. This was confirmed, in October by the County Licensing Committee.

1877 Sandy Pond filled in.[1] 

1880 House extended.[1] 

1883 Poultry Farm, "The Beeches", Thomas Young.[1] 

1892+ Guest House, Thomas Young.[1] 

1903 Thomas Young.[1] 

1911 George R.C. Feigerl.[1] 

1915 Frederick Nelson-Harris.[1] 

1920 Frederick Nelson-Harris.[1] 

1935 Charles Harvey Wakefield, Builder.[1] 

1939 Charles Harvey Wakefield, Builder.[1]