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 20 August and 29 September 1863.
On the bench:
The chairman began by "expressing satisfaction" that there had been fewer convictions than in any previous year since he had sat on the bench. Out of 284 public houses in the whole district, there had been 15 convictions and only 5 were within the improvement boundary. Of those convictions, the majority were for opening during prohibited hours on Sundays.
However, out of the 249 beerhouses, there had been 35 convictions and in 3 cases a fine of £5 had been imposed. Armitage expressed his dissatisfaction that the local magistrates had no control over the granting of beerhouse licences
Superintendent Heaton noted that during the year a man had been killed at the house of Thomas Dodgson of Netherthong, but the magistrates felt that "Dodgson was no more to blame than any of the other publicans".
The licence of Joseph Goldthorp (Holmfirth) was suspended until the adjourned sessions for refusing admission to the police and for allowing his house to be used during a cockfight attended by around 500 people on 1 June 1863.
A total of six applications for new licences were submitted, although the decision on William Bray's application was left until the adjourned session to allow the magistrates to inspect his premises:
|John Crow||Primrose Hill||N|
|Edward Lodge||Deanhouse, Honley||N|
|William Hepworth||Newtown, Huddersfield||Y|
|Joseph Berry||Lockwood's Yard, New Street, Huddersfield||Farmer's Boy||N|
|Joseph Shaw||Oakes, Lindley||Y|
|William Bray||Cinerhills, Wooldale||A|
John Crow's premises at Primrose Hill was situated in the centre of the district and there were no other licensed public houses on the road between the White Lion at Lockwood and the Star Inn at Moldgreen. In opposition to the application, it was noted that Mr. Rockley Berry was currently building a new premises "which would afford far better accommodation than that of Mr. Crow."
William Hepworth had kept his beerhouse at Newtown for 15 years with no complaints laid against him. However, the Licensed Victuallers' Association opposed the application on the grounds that there were already sufficient premises in the locality.
Joseph Berry had kept the Farmer's Boy beerhouse for eight years and had made "extensive improvements" to the premises.
Joseph Shaw of Oakes had kept his beerhouse for six years without any convictions. It was noted that no new licences had been granted in Lindley since 1860.
William Bray's beerhouse was on the "road leading from Holmfirth to Scholes and Hepworth", with extensive traffic to and from the Hepworth Ironworks. The premises had stabling for eight horses and the adjoining field was used as a drill ground by the Holmfirth Rifle Corps. Bray's application was supported by the Superintendent Heaton and also the Superintendent of the Holmfirth Police.
At the adjourned session, four licencees were summoned for non-attendance at the first session. After giving suitable explanations, all had their licences renewed:
In the case of Joseph Goldthorp (Holmfirth), it was decided that he was not a fit tenant and the licence was awarded to the owner of the premises so that he might find a more suitable tenant.
Magistrates had visited the premises of William Berry (Cinderhills, Wooldale) and the chair "expressed himself quite satisfied both with the character of the applicant, and the extent of the accommodation afforded by the premises". Berry was awarded his new licence.