The history the Green Man, can be researched in documents held in Cambridgeshire Record Office, Shire hall, Cambridge. These include; newspapers – the Cambridge Chronicle, Herts. and Cambridge Reporter; the Licensing Returns; Kelly’s Directories; and Census Returns. The first record indicates that the place was called the Garden and Spade from 1788 to 1793. It then changes to the Gardener’s Spade from 1794 to 1797. And then to Gardener’s Arms from 1798 to 1799. It then changes back to the Gardener’s Spade in 1800 to 1821. In 1822 it became the Green Man and the only licensed victuallers for all this time were John Chapman and his wife Mary Chapman.

The property originally belonged to Barenton’s Manor and in 1657 is recorded as ‘1 messuage with orchard and garden and 3½ acres arable land, rent 5/-.’ By 1785 it had passed into the hands of one John Chapman, Victualler, then William Beldam of Royston, Common Brewer.

There is a mention of an auction at this public house in the Cambridge Chronicles dated 9th of May 1795, which quotes the following To be sold by auction on Tuesday the 19th of May at the house of Mrs Chapman, known by the sign of the Gardener’s Spade, at Triplow, between the hours of 3 and 5 in the afternoon, subject to such conditions as will be then produced. An interesting record about the Gardener’s Spade is displayed in the Square and Compasses public house in Gt. Shelford. This record is in a picture frame hanging on the bar wall. It quotes that in 1815 Mary Chapman was the licensed victualler with a new public house at Triplow for Messrs Phillips

In the Cambridgeshire Record Office there is some interesting information on the Green Man, contained within some old notebooks of Crocket and Nash. Surveyors. They quote, April 15th : Estimate of sundry work proposed to be done in rebuilding a public house in Triplow (what happened to the old one?) at a cost of £190. Another entry on 26th. April 1822 shows an estimate for intended work in rebuilding, including ‘digging the walls; brickflat floor & filling in trammings 6” above present surface; addition to kitchen & living room; passage under stairs; dairy, cellar (where is it now?), bakehouse, chimney in bedroom and window in back bedroom’,. the final costs including the labour of plasterer; smith; mason; plumber; slater; bricklayer; joiner and painter & glazier come to £400. On 11th. July of the same year there’s more work done and the final total is £1,150-9-0. In May of the next year Wm French is paid £109.for brickwork and plastering in the Club Room floor.

The public house is mentioned again on a sale-poster from the Cambridgeshire Record Office which quotes: That at the Green Man, Triplow next Tuesday, June 3 1828 at 7pm. in one lot. Freehold dwelling house and close of pasture is to be sold by Auction by Elliot Smith. The next mention of the Green Man is in the 1841 census where a William Gambie (aged 40 yrs) is quoted as being the publican. He is mentioned in the 1847 Cambridge Post Office directory as being a beer retailer, but there is no mention of the name of the public house. The 1851 census shows there’s another William Gambie (aged 30 ) as the publican of the Green Man with his wife Rebecca (aged 28 ) and his two sons James (aged 2 ) and Phillip (3 months old). William Gambie is listed again as the licensed victualler of the Green Man in the History Gazetteer of Cambridge 1851.

In the 1864 Cambridge Post Office Directory James Huddlestone is mentioned as the publican of the Green Man. He’s also mentioned in the P.O. Directories of 1867 and 1869. And in the census of 1871,which quotes his age as 39 yrs old with his wife Elizabeth (aged 42 yrs) and three sons Charles (aged 16) Frederick (aged 14) and Albert (aged 7). On June 1st 1872 an inquest was held at the Green Man. The following report appeared in the Cambridge Chronicle:

Inquest-. On Tuesday C. W. Palmer, Esq. , Deputy Coroner held an inquest at the Green Man, concerning the death of Azubah, wife of William Flack, labourer. Mr. Carver, surgeon who made a post-mortem examination of the body, said that death resulted from inflammation of the bowels and disease of the heart; and a verdict to the affect was recorded. The deceased was 42 years of age.

James Huddlestone continues to be mentioned in Kelly’s Directory of 1873 and 1876 as the publican of the Green Man. Then in 1878 his name appears in the Herts & Cambs Reporter where the following quote appears under the Melbourn Petty sessions section, in an application for renewal of the annual licence :

The Green Man, Thriplow

In the case of the license of the above house at Thriplow, held by James Huddlestone, Mr. Stretten had given notice to the holder of the license of an objection being made at the present meeting against his license being renewed. The notice set forth that Huddlestone was an unfit person to hold the license from his having when goods were offered to him at very much under value by one Walter Morley, and which there was every reason to believe might have been stolen, expressed his willingness to purchase the same, and would have done so except for the interference of his wife; and also that he concealed and denied that the said goods had been offered to him until he was informed the one of the persons had confessed the robbery, and that he (Huddlestone) had offered to purchase the goods.

Mr. C.W. Palmer, solicitor of Cambridge, appeared for Huddlestone, and submitted that the notice was bad in law. The objection, however, was eventually waived, and Mr. Stretten, in support of the facts stated on the notice, called Police-sergeant Levitt, of Chesterton, who said that in February last he received information of a robbery from Thriplow of a quantity of wheat. He went to Duxford and found the men suspected and charged them with stealing it. From what was said to him by the prisoners he called upon James Huddlestone, of the Green Man, Thriplow and told him that he (witness) was informed that a sack of wheat had been stolen from Mr Webster’s premises at Thriplow and that the wheat had changed hands at or near his (Huddlestone’s) house. He replied that he saw nor heard nothing of the wheat. In company with Huddlestone witness looked round the yard but saw nothing of any corn. On the following day February 25th, witness had further communication with the prisoners, and from what they said he went to Thriplow and saw Huddlestone again. He said to Huddlestone then, ‘These prisoners have made a very strong Implication against you. One of them said it was offered to you for sale by Walter Morley.’ Witness told him he thought as he was a licensed man he had better tell him the truth about it. He replied that he would do so, and said that Walter Morley came to him as he was drawing beer in his cellar and asked if he would buy a sack of wheat, to which he (Huddlestone) replied, “I have made up my mind to buy anything worth the money.’’

Huddlestone: “’In a straightforward way,’’ I said. Witness (continuing) said Huddlestone told him that he asked Morley the price of wheat and he said 7s. and that he should have bought it only his wife came up and he should not buy it for anybody. HE never saw the wheat.

The Clerk, referring to the circumstances of the robbery, said he believed the prisoners were brought up to that bench and dealt with summarily, and that no charge was preferred against Huddlestone. Sergeant Levitt said that was so, Huddlestone was called as a witness by Deputy Chief Constable Stretten: Huddlestone did not say anything to me about it until I told him that the prisoners had confessed to stealing it and to offering it to Huddlestone for sale.
Mr. Palmer: were you present when the prisoners were convicted? Witness: I was, they pleaded guilty.
Mr. Palmer: There was not a single word said against Huddlestone upon that matter in Court-they made no statement in the Court against the applicant at all? Witness: No. I have resided in this (Melbourn) district for several years. I am not aware that any complaint has been made against Huddlestone.
Mr. Palmer said there was no proof that “he would have purchased it” as set forth in notice, and he took it that the clause in the notice was abandoned by Mr. Stretten.
Mr. Stretten said he did not abandon it at all. If a man offered to do a thing it was a matter of inference as to whether he would do it, and that must be left to the Bench to decide.
Mr. Palmer submitted to the Bench with confidence that there was nothing in the evidence adduced to justify them in withdrawing this man’s certificate. These prisoners plead guilty of having stolen the corn. They did in all probability offer it to his Client, but he did not purchase it; and the prosecution was so satisfied with his respectability that they actually would have called him as a witness to prove the case against these men had not they pleaded guilty. While as to the statement of the corn changing hands at Huddlestone’s, the witness searched the premises and could find no traces of having been the case. Then they had to look at the character of a man who had conducted his house for 17 years in a respectable manner, and never had any charges brought against him. Upon this matter coming to the knowledge of the Messers. Phillips, the owners of his house, they gave him (Huddlestone) notice to quit, but upon subsequent inquires they considered him a proper man to conduct the house, and therefore, subject to the magistrates decision now, did not propose to put the notice into force. In addition to this he had a testimonial from the clergyman of the parish as to the character of his client, which, utterly unsolicited, was sent to the owners of the house in consequence of the notice to quit.

Mr. Palmer then read a letter from the Rev. J. Watkins, Vicar of Thriplow, in which that gentleman stated that from what he had seen and heard of him (Huddlestone) during the last 4 years he considered them to be very respectable and hard working. They conducted their business-which as well known was always a difficult one-in as honest and straight forward a way as was possible among people who were to drunkenness, as Thriplow people unfortunately were. (laughter). With regard to the question of the corn he (the writer) believed them to be entirely innocent. He should be the last to defend a publican against whom he knew any real ground of the complaint; and it was in the interests of justice both to tenant and to the owners of the house that he had written a letter. Mr. Stretten said he admitted all that had been said, and would go even further in speaking of the good character borne by the applicant during the time he had conducted his house, but it was his duty to lay the facts concerning the conduct of the houses in the division before the magistrates from year to year, and that was his only object in bringing the case before them.

The magistrates then retired, and on their return the chairman said they were unanimously of the opinion that there was no case to justify them in withholding the license, and that it was the opinion of the whole parish of all ranks that he was a most respectable man as publican. At the same time it was the duty of the police not to refuse any information they could get. The license was granted as usual.

In Kelly’s Directory of 1879 James Huddlestone is listed as the publican of the Green Man and this is copnfirmed in the 1881 census. it lists James Huddlestone as publican of the Green Man (aged 49 yrs) with his wife Elizabeth (aged 52 ) with one son Richard a scholar (aged 7 ) and one daughter Ruth (aged 4 ). In Thursday 20th. April 1882 an inquest is held at the Green Man and reported in the Cambridge Chronicle on the death of Elizabeth Fuller aged 2 yrs and 7 months. In the following year the same newspaper quotes the following:

June 23rd. 1883 Suicide-On Tuesday, at the Green Man public house, Mr. C. W. Palmer, County Coroner, held an inquest touching the death of Wm. Bush, aged 70, bailiff to Mr. Perkins.- It appeared that the deceased, since the death of his wife, 2 years ago, had lived by himself. For a fortnight or so prior to Friday, the April 8th, he had been in a depressed state of mind. During Friday, the deceased had some refreshments at a neighbours house, where he said his poor head was very bad, and when it was suggested to him that the Doctor should be call on him, he said that “there was no telling where he should be”. He was missed from his home on Friday evening, and on the Saturday was found lying in a neighbouring field. A four chambered revolver, with 2 chambers empty, was lying close by, and the deceased had apparently shot himself. He was however, alive. After being taken home he admitted he had done wrong, but assigned no reason. He had been in the habit of keeping the revolver by his bedside. He died on Monday last-Mr. Earle, surgeon, give evidence showing that the death resulted from a bullet wound in the head, and said that judging from the position of the wound and the state of the ear, he believed the wound was self-inflicted.- Verdict, “suicide while of unsound mind”.

In Friday May 29th 1891 there is a report in the Royston Weekly News that quotes an inquiry that was held in the Green Man on the death of Emily Hannah Freeman aged 4½ who had died from scald caused by pulling a frying pan over herself.. The jury found the verdict of “Accidental Death”.
James Huddlestone continues to be mentioned as a publican until 1896. Then in Kelly’s Directory of 1900 James Brookman is mentioned as publican of the Green Man. By 1903 the Arrington & Melbourn Petty Sessions Division quotes that a Ernest Edwin Wooster was the publican of the Green Man; it also shows that his other occupation was a labourer and that it was most used on Fridays and Saturday nights. Other information quotes the rateable value which was £17 a year. The size of property (3 bedrooms, 2 public rooms, 1 stable, front & back entrance and a 1 W.C). The class of Licence is shown as being a tied alehouse belonging to Phillips & Company Royston Herts.

By 1904 Charles Smith is quoted in Kelly’s Directory as publican of the Green Man, he is also a farmer and carter Again his name is mention in Kelly’s Directory of 1908. Then there’s a gap of 7 years before William Robinson appears at the Green Man; his name is quoted in the 1915 polling records for the parish of Thriplow. His name is also mentioned in the Kelly’s Directories of 1916,1922,1926,1929 and 1933. The last Kelly’s Directory from Cambridgeshire in 1937 quotes Percy Charles Buckerfield as publican of the Green Man. And the polling records show he remains there until 1950. He was Kath Pettit’s father, (see Journal Vol.3/1)

The following list of publicans’ names and dates come from the Parish of Thriplow polling records:

Alfred George Wilson : from 1951 to 1951.
Derek G. Rhone : from 1951 to 1956.
Thomas Hodeson Boyle : from 1956 to 1967
Reginald Charles Francis : from 1968 to 1968.
William Flint from : 1969 to 1969.
Reginald Charles Francis ; from 1970 to 1972.
Margaret Francis ; 1973 to 1975.
Robert Andrew ; 1976 to 1976.
Derek Corben : 1977 to 1983.
Val Elliot : 1984 to 1991.

Val Elliot died of alcoholic poisoning in September 1991. The Green Man had been closed since the previous May and the Brewers, Charles Wells, wanted to sell it off as a house with planning permission for another house in the grounds, but pressure from locals prevented this and it was bought by Lawrie Childs and Roger Ward. It then became a Free House and today is under the sole ownership of Roger Ward.

On 1st October 2012, the new company formed to own The Green Man took control of the property from Mary Lindgren who had served the village and surrounding area for over 11 years. The directors of the company are Nigel Moore, Kevin Clarke, Caroline Harris, Mary Lindgren and Mark Richer and there are currently 71 shareholders from the village and other people connected with the pub. Tenants will be signed up to run the pub but they will not be taking over until the refurbishment work is largely complete, and this will be in the new year. In the meantime, we will run the pub in maintenance mode and try to put on a few special events, including those normally held in the run up to Christmas.

Footnote In 1961 Flowers Breweries Ltd. sold the Green Man to Charles Wells,
brewery of Bedford. There are some chronological gaps as to who was the publican/landlord at different periods as unfortunately the records are not consistent.

Acknowledgement – Thanks to Roger Ward for the loan of the photo of the Green Man

Geoff Axe