A typical record gives the following information:
• Name of licensed victualler
• Date of licence
• Sign – this is the name of the public house, as displayed on the sign outside
• Premises address – usually the town or village in which the alehouse was situated
• Place – this tends to be a district or hundred within which the premises were located
• Name(s) of the person(s) providing surety
Justices of the Peace were authorised from 1552 to approve the persons (known as licensed victuallers) who were permitted to keep alehouses, taverns and inns. Annual licensing of premises became compulsory from 1729, and from 1753 the Clerks of the Peace were required to keep registers.
The surviving records for Cambridgeshire 1764-1828 are kept in the Cambridgeshire Archives in Ely. They have been photographed and transcribed by members of the Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire Family History Society, which has kindly licensed the records for the use of researchers on Findmypast. Each record normally includes the name and abode of the victualler, the name of the alehouse, tavern or inn, and the name and abode of the person providing surety.
For more information about records of licensed victuallers, the Society recommends the Gibson Guide “Victuallers’ Licences: Records for Family and Local Historians” by Jeremy Gibson, published by the Family History Partnership (Federation of Family History Societies) (3rd edition, 2009).