Brewster Sessions of 1862

The Brewster Sessions were the "annual meetings of licensing justices to deal with the grant, renewal, and transfer of licences to sell intoxicating liquor".

The following report is based on newspaper coverage of the sessions held on 21 August and 30 September 1862.


On the bench:

  • George Armitage (chair), Major Crosland, William Willans, S.W. Haigh, L.R. Starkey, J. Sykes, Joshua Moorhouse (Holmfirth), and Lieutenant Harpin

The chairman began by noting that there were 74 public houses within limits of the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners and only two had been fined more than 5 shillings during the year.

A total of 24 innkeepers (6 from Huddersfield and the rest from the districts) were than called forward and cautioned for having received convictions or on the basis of "private information" supplied to the magistrates.

Joseph Roebuck (Hinchliffe Mill) was called to answer a complaint from Superintendent Heaton that he had threatened local police constables. Although Roebuck denied the accusation, the bench decided to temporarily suspend his licence until the adjourned session.

A total of nine applications for new licences were submitted, although the one from Edward Ashwell was withdrawn on the day:

applicant abode premises granted?
William Ward Market Street, Paddock Ship Inn Y
William Dodson Engine Bridge, Huddersfield Y
Henry Ratcliffe Bradford Road, Huddersfield Thornhill Arms Y
William Hepworth Newtown, Huddersfield N
Robert Schofield Church Street, Paddock N
Joseph Shaw Oakes, Lindley N
Betty Shaw Cop Hill, Slaithwaite N
Edward Ashwell Sandbed, Upperthong n/a
William Bray Cinder Hill, Wooldale N

William Ward's application was for a licence to sell spirits at the Ship Inn, which was a beerhouse he had kept for six years. It was stated that no new licence had been granted in Paddock for 25 years, but a number of new streets had been laid out in that time. It was also noted that Mr. Ward had collected "a large number of natural curiosities", which presumably he had on display.

William Dodson had kept his beerhouse at Engine Bridge for 11 years without a single conviction or complaint and "possessed ample stable accommodation". The beerhouse was situated "on the canal side" and boatmen who stopped there during the night were "often disappointed that they could not obtain a drop of spirits to warm them". Dodson's application was supported by the local vicar and several local mill-owners.

The Thornhill Arms beerhouse was situated on the Thornhill estate and Henry Ratcliffe had kept it for six years. The premises "possessed every accommodation requisite for both man and beast" but was within 300 yards of the Harp Inn and the Waggon and Horses.

William Hepworth had kept his beerhouse for 14 years and had only been fined 1 shilling. He had also purchased several neighbouring properties.

At the adjourned session, Joseph Roebuck apologised for his "bad conduct towards the police" and "explained that it originated in some misunderstanding". His licence was therefore renewed.


  • "Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Aug/1862)
  • "Adjourned Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Chronicle (04/Oct/1862)