Alehouse Recognizances were early public house licences. The licensee, together with those who stood surety for them, appeared before the licensing justices each year, where they would pay a sum of money (or 'bond') as a guarantee of their good behaviour. Any breach of the conditions would mean the forfeiture of the money and their licence.(The above account is taken from the Carnarvon Traders website)
Unfortunately, the name of the individual public houses were not included in many of the earlier recognizances, and we are left with only a list of names, although with the aid of other sources it is possible in most cases to match the licensee with his tavern.
The history of the Alehouse Recognizance is a long one. They were first instituted under legislation passed under Henry VII, in 1495, whereby any two justices of the peace were empowered 'to reject and put away common ale selling in towns and places where they should think convenient, and to take sureties of keepers of ale-houses in their good behaving'.
The end of the Recognizance came with the Ale House Act of 1828, which consolidated all the existing statutes relating to licensed premises and repealed those which were no longer required. Under the Act the justices were only given control over full publican's licenses which carried the right to sell any type of intoxicating liquor. In return for the grant of an annual licence the publican was no longer required to lodge a bond as guarantee of good behaviour.
The village of GATEACRE was, historically, split between the Townships of Little Woolton and Much Woolton. The boundary between the two townships ran down the middle of Gateacre Brow and along Halewood Road; so the Black Bull pub was in Little Woolton but the Bear & Staff was in Much Woolton.
Joan Borrowscale has, on behalf of the Gateacre Society, transcribed the Alehouse Recognizances for the Childwall, Little Woolton and Much Woolton townships (Prescot Division - West Derby Hundred) which are held in the Lancashire Record Office at Preston.
Joan has also contributed the following Notes:
Note 1: 1757 is the first time the name of William Davies is mentioned. - as of Much Woolton. We can probably date the Bear and Ragged Staff to this date.
Note 2: 1753 is the first time the name of David Edwardson is mentioned as of Little Woolton. We can probably date the Bull Inn to this date.
Note 3: The name of Rosamund or Rose Finch as being a Victualler is interesting, in that I believe she was Catholic - her baptism is entered in a book of baptisms kept by a Catholic Priest of Yorkshire. It maybe she was the FIRST Licensee of the Black Bull: she being of Little Woolton. She is buried in All Saints Churchyard 1767 - I have a copy from the register. Her husband was Edward Finch of Halewood. They had a son James Finch who was a Butcher Of Little Woolton.
Continued . . .