Brewster Sessions of 1864

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 25 August and 27 September 1864.


On the bench:

  • George Armitage (chair), Lieutenant-Colonel Crosland, L.R. Starkey, S.W. Haigh, Wright Mellor, Joseph Hirst, Jonathan Beaumont, and Thomas Brooke

Armitage began by congratulated the public house licencees on the low level of convictions during the previous 12 months — out of 284 premises, there had been only 10 convictions of 5 shillings or more. As in the previous year, the majority of offences were for opening during prohibited hours on Sundays.

The situation with the 250 beerhouses was less favourable, with 46 convictions and one cancellation of a licence.

After hearing a lengthy complaint from Mr. Clough of the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners, the licence of James Armitage (Dog Inn, Kirkgate) was suspended until the adjourned session.

A total of eleven 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:

applicant abode premises granted?
John Dyson Church Street, Paddock Commercial Inn Y
Martha Berry Byram Street, Huddersfield Crescent Inn ?
Joseph Berry Lockwood's Yard, Huddersfield Farmer's Boy Y
Samuel McMillan Shorehead, Huddersfield Saracen's Head Y
Thomas Vickerman Primrose Hill Y
John Crow Primrose Hill Y
Alfred Hirst Linthwaite N
John Whiteley House Edge, Scammonden Y
Betty Shaw Cop Hill, Slaithwaite Rose and Crown Inn Y
Joshua Kenworthy Buckstones, Marsden Rising Sun N
John Earnshaw Sandbed, Upperthong N

John Dyson had kept his beerhouse for 15 years without complaint and the premises reportedly had a "museum of [stuffed] birds".

Martha Berry was the widow of Abner Berry, who had kept the Crescent Inn on High Street until it was demolished. The couple then opened a beershop in Marsh until Abner's death. Martha then opened a beershop on Byram Street.

The only objection to Joseph Berry's application was that the Farmer's Boy was not on a public street.

Samuel McMillan had kept his beerhouse for 13 years with no complaints, although it was noted that there was already 8 licensed premises in close proximity.

The application by Alfred Hirst was supported by local churchwardens and around 40 other inhabitants of the district, but was objected to by Mrs. Beevers who had kept the nearby Ivy House for 31 years.

John Whiteley had the support of the Scammonden Local Board who held their meetings at the beerhouse, as well as Dr. Walker and Rev. S.P. Lampen.

Betty Shaw had reportedly kept her beerhouse at Cop Hill, Slaithwaite, for 30 years.

Joshua Kenworthy's beerhouse (Rising Sun) at Buckstones was "much frequented by parties engaged in shooting on the moors" above Marsden.

The volume of trade at John Earnshaw's beerhouse near Harden Moss had increased since the Isle of Skye public house was closed.

At the adjourned session, the following licencees appeared to give their reasons for not attending to main session to renew their licences. After giving satisfactory answers, all were renewed.

  • Mrs. Rachel Warmby (Harp Inn, Bradford Road)
  • Henry Sumner (Old Wool Pack, Lockwood)
  • John Riley (Whiteley Upper)

After issuing a stern warning to James Armitage (Dog Inn, Kirkgate), the magistrates renewed his suspended licence. However, at the next meeting of the Improvement Commissioners, Mr. Clough claimed that witnesses who would have spoken out against the Dog Inn had been intimidated by Armitage and refused to give evidence.

Joseph Berry celebrated his new licence by holding a dinner for his friends and customers at the Farmer's Boy on the evening of 20 October.


  • "Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Chronicle (27/Aug/1864)
  • "Adjourned Brewster Sessions" in Huddersfield Chronicle (01/Oct/1864)
  • "Monthly Meeting of the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners" in Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Oct/1864)
  • "Public House Festivity" in Huddersfield Chronicle (22/Oct/1864)