Charles Wells (brewer)

Charles Wells
Charles Wells (1842-1914).jpg
Born (1842-08-13)13 August 1842
Died 1 April 1914(1914-04-01) (aged 71)
Nationality United Kingdom
Known for Founder of Charles Wells Ltd
Progenitor of the Wells Baronets

Captain Charles Wells (13 August 1842 – 1 April 1914) was the British founder of Charles Wells Ltd, now the largest privately owned brewery in the United Kingdom, and the progenitor of the Wells Baronets of Felmersham.[1][2][3][4]


Wells was born on 13 August 1842, the second son of George Wells.[1][2][5] He left Bedford Modern School at the age of fourteen and went to sea, ‘signing up with the shipping company Wigrams as a midshipman on the frigate Devonshire’.[1][2] Wells was made a Captain on 16 December 1868[6] and offered command of Wigrams's first steamship.[1][2][7]

While on leave in the early 1870s, Wells became engaged to Josephine Grimbly of Banbury, Oxfordshire.[1][2] Josephine's father, although in favour of the match, said that ‘Charles Wells must leave the sea and find a new and less dangerous career’.[1][2] In 1872 Charles and Josephine married; they had five sons (one of whom, Richard Wells was created a baronet) and three daughters.[1][2]

In 1876, Wells became a brewer when he took over a coal wharf, a malt house and brewery in Horne Lane, Bedford and thirty five public houses, sold to him at public auction in December 1875.[1][2][8] He subsequently sold off the coal business.[1][2]

In 1903, Wells became a member of Bedford Borough Council which he served until 1909.[2] Four of Charles's sons became partners in the brewery on condition that they live in Wells's native town of Bedford.[1] In 1910, the business was registered as a private limited company, valued at £150,000 and owning 140 pubs.[1]

Charles Wells died in Bedford on 1 April 1914.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. "charles wells brewery timeline - Digitised Resources - The Virtual Library".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Our Heritage and History". Charles Wells. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  3. ^ "The Brewing Industry".
  4. ^
  5. ^ England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
  6. ^ UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927
  7. ^ "Our History - Charles Wells Brewery and Pub Company Bedford -".
  8. ^ "Pub". Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.

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