No 15.

The Unicorn Inn. A Grade 2 Listed Building.
Early C19. Red brick. Slate roof with gable ends and wide bracketed eaves. 2 storeys. 2 windows 16-pane sashes with voussoired lintels with keyblocks. Carriageway to side with elliptical arch of voussoirs.


Founded in 1784, the first newspaper reference I can find to the Unicorn Inn is in 1813 when it is described as 'long established'.

Owned by the Rev. Joseph Higgins of Eastnor in 1825 with Robert Kings as landlord.

It stopped being a pub before 1861 and became the office of George Piper, solicitor, later used by the Garrood family, solicitors, from 1881 to 1943.

Now a private house.

From Tithe Map Owner: Rev Joseph Higgins. Occupiers Isaac Gwinnett.

1841     Isaac Gwinnett 37 Publican.

1851     William Bruton 50 Retired Innkeeper..

1861     George H Piper 41 Attorney and Solicitor.

1871     William Taylor 42 Groom and Gardener. NB his wife, Ann, 40, is Solicitor's Office Keeper.

1881     Jesse Garrood 39 Solicitor.

1891     Jesse Garrood 49 Solicitor.

1901     Jesse Garrood 59 Solicitor.

From 1910 Survey   Occupier Hy Garrood. Owner Hunt H J Tramore Overndale Rd Downend Glos. (Bristol)

1911     Henry Garrood 35 Solicitor. 9 Rooms.

Ex Tilleys.

1903     Garrood Jesse Solicitor Ledbury Urban Dist. Council Offices.

1904     Garrood Jesse Solicitor.

1905     Garrood Jesse Solicitor. Offices Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company Ltd.

1908     Garrood Henry Solicitor. Offices Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company Ltd.

1921     Garrood Henry Solicitor. Offices Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company Ltd.

1928     Garrood Henry Solicitor. Offices Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company Ltd.

1934     Garrood Henry Solicitor. Offices Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company Ltd.

1942     Garrood Henry Solicitor. Offices Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company Ltd.

1943     Garrood Henry Solicitor. Offices Ledbury Markets and Fairs Company Ltd..

1951     Lacy W J.

1961     Grove-Stephenson J C.

1962     Dominion Insurance Co Ltd. Manager H Brown.

1975     Dominion Insurance Co Ltd.

More Info.

The first reference to the Unicorn Inn I can find is this: From Worcester Journal 11th March 1813:

Unicorn Inn Ledbury.
To be sold by auction by W Handy & Co (of Worcester) on the premises.

The valuable and long established Freehold Inn and Market House called the Unicorn Inn situated at Ledbury in the County of Hereford and the warehouse, stables, outbuildings, yards, garden and orchard to the same belonging, now in the occupation of Thomas Greenway.

And then from the Hereford Journal April 5th 1826:

To be sold by Auction
by Robert Jones.

At the Feathers Inn, in the town of Ledbury, in the county of Hereford, on Thursday the 13th day of April, instant, between the hours of Five and Seven o'clock in the afternoon by Order of the Assignee of Robert King, a Bankrupt, and subject to such conditions of sale as will be then produced. ALL that capital and well accustomed INN or PUBLIC HOUSE called the UNICORN INN, situate in the Southend street, in the town of Ledbury aforesaid, together with a large garden and an orchard adjoining, containing in estimation One Acre more or less, capable of producing from 10 to 20 hogsheads of cider in a season. The premises comprise a good Dwelling House, with capital stabling, Brewhouse, Granaries, and Cellaring, and the same will be sold subject to an annuity of £ 40 for the life of a person aged about 66 years. For a view of the same apply on the Premises, and for further Particulars to Mr J.A. Higgins, Solicitor, Ledbury, Herefordshire.

J A Higgins, Solicitor, was a son of the Reverend Joseph Higgins of Eastnor who, it seems already had an interest in or owned , the Unicorn as the next document shows.

Deed of Further Charge
Of a Messuage Tenement or Dwellinghouse
Used as a Public House called The Unicorn Inn
Situate in Ledbury Herefordshire
For securing £ 300 and Interest making £ 1,100 and Interest


Mr Robert Kings and another To The Reverend Joseph Higgins

This Indenture made the sixteenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five Between Robert Kings late of the Hill in the parish of Eastnor but now of the town of Ledbury in the county of Hereford publican of the one part Sarah Kings of the parish of Ledbury aforesaid widow of the second part and the Reverend Joseph Higgins of Eastnor Parsonage in the said parish of Eastnor clerk of the third part.
Whereas by Indentures of Lease and Release bearing date respectively on or about the twenty ninth and thirtieth days of September in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty three the release being expressed to be made between the said Robert Kings of the one part and the said Joseph Higgins of the other part.
All that messuage, tenement or dwellinghouse for many years past used as an Inn or Public House and commonly called or known by the name of the Unicorn Inn together with the stables, buildings, granaries, garden, yards and appurtenances thereto belonging situate lying and being in the town and Borough of Ledbury aforesaid in a Street called the Southend having the said Street on the East part a Charity School in the occupation of Mrs Price on the North part, part of an Orchard next thereinafter described on the West part and a messuage or tenement and premises formerly belonging to John Jenkins but then belonging to Thomas Greenday on the South part.
And also all that Orchard containing by estimation one acre or thereabouts be the same more or less partly lying behind the said messuage or tenement and premises having a Cider Warehouse and garden then belonging to Richard Hodges Gwynne Esquire and a Meadow called the Pound Meadow belonging to John Biddulph Esquire on the West part part of the said Meadow called the Pound Meadow and a garden belonging to Hannah Russell and a warehouse in the occupation of Mr Webb on the South part of the premises hereinbefore mentioned and a garden belonging to premises formerly called the George Inn on the East part thereof with the appurtenances were duly conveyed and assured unto and to the use of the said Joseph Higgins his heirs and assigns by way of Mortgage for securing to the said Joseph Higgins his executors administrators and assigns the sum of eight hundred pounds together with interest for the same after the rate and on or at the day or time therein mentioned.
And whereas by Indenture bearing date on or about the second day of October in the said year one thousand eight hundred and twenty three and expressed to be made between the said Robert Kings of the first .....

At the end:
At the Plume of Feathers Inn Ledbury 9th day of March 1826 Exhibited to us under a Commission of bankrupt issued against Robert Kings

Extracted from a document supplied by and reproduced here with their kind permission.

This is particularly useful as it shows exactly where the Unicorn was: Next door to the Charity School in the occupation of Mrs Price: No 13.

A Robert Kings of Southend was buried in Ledbury on July 12th 1827 aged 46.

The book 'Hints of Ledbury 1831' tells us that the Innkeeper of the Unicorn was Mrs Kings.
She must have died between 1831 and 1834 as this report from the Hereford Journal of March 19th 1834 shows:

Unicorn Inn Ledbury
(Late Mrs King's)

Arthur Stewart, (late of the Pound's Inn Ross) having taken to the above business, begs leave respectfully to acknowledge the kind favours and support he has received from his numerous friends, and at the same time solicits a continuance of the same in his NEW UNDERTAKING, assuring them that it will be his constant endeavour to make them comfortable with well aired beds, the choicest wines,best of spirits and primest ale and cider as well as convenient and extensive stabling.
He lasted about 10 years as this advert from the Hereford Journal of February 21st 1844 shows:
To be let with immediate possession all that well accustomed Inn and Premises known as The Unicorn Inn Southern Street Ledbury. Together with extensive stabling capable of containing thirty horses; also a large garden and an orchard adjoining planted with choice fruit trees. A club of Odd Fellows, consisting of one hundred members, hold their meetings at the house.

Taken by John Roberts, his marriage is announced in the Hereford Times of May 3rd 1845:

Mr John Roberts, of the Unicorn Inn Ledbury, married Eliza Maisey daughter of the late Mr John Maisey of the Squirrel Inn Gloucester.

And a report in the Hereford Times of November 8th 1845 says:
Present to an Odd Fellow. The members of the Loyal Ferry Lodge of Odd Fellows, M.U., at Ashleworth Gloucestershire, have lately presented a handsome silver watch, of the value of six guineas, to Mr William Roberts junr., son of Mr W Roberts the respected landlord of the Unicorn Inn Southend Street Ledbury.

He didn't last long. By Jan 1846 he has moved to the Nelson Inn Gloucester.
From the Hereford Journal January 14th 1846:

Ancient Order of Druids.

A new lodge, No 371, of this ancient, honourable, and philanthropic order was opened on Friday the 2nd instant at the Nelson Inn Southgate Street Gloucester of which house Mr John Roberts, late of the Unicorn Inn Ledbury, is the respected host...

George Truman now becomes the landlord but did not take too much notice of the licencing laws!
From the Hereford Times August 22nd 1846:
Thomas Norris, constable, charged George Trueman of the Unicorn Inn Ledbury, with keeping open his house during divine service on the sabbath day.
And the Hereford Times of June 12th 1847 reports that he was fined 2s 6d for 'having two pints and one half pint deficient'.

More seriously in the Hereford Times of October 16th 1847;

Offence against Licence.

Mr George Truman, landlord of the Unicorn Inn, Ledbury was summoned for allowing persons of notoriously bad characters to assemble and also permitting drunkeness and other disorderly conduct in his house, against the tenor of his licence. Superintendent Shead deposed: On Saturday the 2nd October inst., between eight and nine o'clock he observed people fighting in the street opposite the Unicorn Inn and in the passage of the house; between eleven and twelve o'clock the same night there was fighting again; he then went into the house and observed several drunken people and prostitutes present.......Fined £ 5 and 9s costs.

The Reverend Joseph Higgins died on September 7th 1847 and 'divided his estates, including the Unicorn Inn in Ledbury, among his children' according to a report in the Hereford Times of October16th 1847.

They apparently didn't want it as it was soon up for sale. From the Hereford Journal October 13th 1847:

Most Desirable

On the premises, on Tuesday the 26th October, 1847, at four o'clock in the afternoon, subject to conditions to be then produced:
THE UNICORN INN and PREMISES, situate in SOUTHEND STREET, in the occupation of Mr George Trueman, consisting of a substantial brick built house, containing bar, parlour, long dining room, kitchen, scullery, larder and pantry on the first floor, with appropriate bedrooms over; convenient brewhouse, communicating with excellent cellaring; four stables and boxes for 40 horses, one of which is a very superior building, having a capital room over, in which the Commissioners of the Queen's Taxes hold their meetings; spacious yard, gardens, and a pasture orchard well stocked with apple trees of the choicest sorts, containing together about an acre; is well supplied with otherwise.
A portion of the purchase money may remain on mortgage if required. For a view apply to the occupier and for particulars at the offices of Messrs Higgins and Chamberlain Solicitors, or the Auctioneer, Ledbury.

Every hostelry had its own Benefit Club and The Unicorn Inn was no exception.
After being in the Unicorn Club (subscriptions unknown) for two years, sick pay was awarded at 5 shillings per week for six weeks then 3 shillings.
After 15 years subscribers received an old age pension or disability pension of 3/6 per week.
When a customer died his widow was given £2 and gratuity of up to £5 according to the amount of money in hand.

1851 William Bruton, a retired Innkeeper, just 50, is here with his wife Susan and a niece Mary Ann Baker, 19, daughter of John and Amey Baker. In 1861 he is next door with George Piper, Solicitor, as a Surveyor of Highways.
Susan died in New Street in 1873, William died in New Street in 1886.
They are buried in the Cemetery the epitaph reads:
In memory of Susan the beloved wife of William Bruton of this town who died Novr 27th 1873 aged 73 years. Also of the above named William Bruton who died 24th Febr 1886 aged 84 years.
For more on William Bruton see No 5.

1861 For George H. Piper see No 11.

1871 Ann Taylor is a Solicitor's Office Keeper, probably for Jesse Garrood as No 11 was available for George Piper in about 1862.

1881 Jesse Garrood born in Chelmsford in 1842 married Alice Louisa Hasler in Maldon (Essex) in 1873.
Already a solicitor he must have moved to Ledbury, presumably to No 15 Southend, by 1874 where his first son, Jesse Robert was born followed by Henry in 1876.
Alice died in South Parade Ledbury in 1906. Jesse senior died in Christchurch (Hants) in 1914.
Jesse Robert became a doctor and moved to Huntingdon. Henry carried on the practice in Ledbury. He married Maria Carolina Elennora Ginberti b 1878, an Italian lady.
They had Jessie Errica (a daughter) in 1906, Alice Louisa in 1908 and Rosie Ginberti in 1910. Sadly Maria died in 1917.
Jessie Errica Garrood married Arthur Oliver Hall,(1898-) of No 19 Southend, on July 8th 1929.
They had:
Peter in 1931 in Ledbury.
Rosemary J. in 1939 in Birmingham.

A further daughter, Muriel Isobel, was baptised to a Henry Garrood in Ledbury in 1926, mother's name given as Isobel Grierson on the baptism record in Ledbury, but as Peddle when the birth was registered in Upton on Severn.
She married Thomas D G Roberts in Ledbury in 1947.

Henry died in 1948.

There is a significant Garrood memorial in the Cemetery for Henry his mother and his wife. The Inscription reads:

In memoriam.
Alice Louisa Garrood nee Hasler 1846-1906.
Maria C Ellenora nee Ginberti 1878-1917.
Henry Garrood born June 4 1875 November 22 1948.

From 1910 Survey The owner was Herbert James Hunt, 59, of private means, single, born in Shepton Mallet. What his connection with Ledbury is not known.

1926 Electoral Register     Garood Henry, Garood Isobel Grierson.

The Stone Barn, was once part of the Unicorn complex.

From the various descriptions shown above this, from 1847, is perhaps the most telling:
... four stables and boxes for 40 horses, one of which is a very superior building, having a capital room over, in which the Commissioners of the Queen's Taxes hold their meetings;...

From the 1950's there is an up to date description which pretty well matches the sale particulars shown above!

I lived at Number 15 for 10 years from 1949. Mr. and Mrs Short and their daughter Dianne lived at no 16.
Down an alley to the side of their house was The Grace Dovey School of Dancing, which I also attended. It was later run by Liz Baker. The dance studio was situated over a barn which was in our garden.
Beyond the double gates there was a cobbled path wide enough for my dad to drive a van down. We had a very big walled garden with a tennis court in the middle of it. At the bottom of the path about 50 yards to the left, was the barn with the dance school overhead.
Ahead was the Dovecote and beyond that the tennis court surrounded by borders then a hedge. Beyond the hedge dozens of varieties of Apples, Pears, Plum trees, Walnuts and Cobnuts, Soft Fruit, and fig trees. We kept a Large White pig, and a dozen saddleback pigs. To the right at the bottom of the path we had a large veg garden.
Further down our cobbled access, past our front door and past the kitchen door, there was another entrance into the building with 2 rooms on the ground floor and 2 above. There were interconnecting doors, both narrow, on the ground and 1st floor. My father used the rooms as offices and workshops, the rooms had large sash windows, so they must have been living accommodation.

From a conversation with Pauline Bezzant on Old Ledbury Facebook Group.