The first reference to this public house in any document in Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service comes in a conveyance of 1828 which recites a conveyance of 1816 when the Red Cow was bought by Joseph Morris from John Burrows and then two years later when a gang of poachers tried at the Quarter Sessions is noted as having met there before trespassing in Cainhoe Park. It stayed in Morris ownership until Morris & Company (Ampthill) limited was sold to Luton brewers J.W.Green Limited in 1927. Green merged with Flowers Breweries in 1954 and the new company took the Flowers name; in 1962 Flowers was taken over by Whitbread. The public house closed in 1992 and is now a private house.
In 1927 the Compasses was valued for rates under the 1925 Rating Valuation Act - the valuer found a brick and slate detached house with a "good draw-up, nice appearance" with a living room ("very large …could be used for dances"), taproom ("fair"), bar ("small") and kitchen ("fair") downstairs and five bedrooms above, there was also a cellar ("down 8 steps") and , outside, an earth closet, washhouse and urinal as wel las standing for three horses. He noted that the brewers called once a week and that trade ("saw book") consisted of one barrel of beer and a quarter of a gallon of spirits per week along with four dozen bottles - takings were "never reckoned up". The licensee also occupied an adjoining farm consisting of a calf pen, tie up for three cows (an old slaughter house), a loose box (an old butcher's shop), a mangel hovel (formerly a tying pen), a byre for three cows, a toolshed and another mangel hovel (formerly a bakehouse) as well as three pigsties; in addition there were 6.255 acres of land in three fields.
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:
1822 - 1828: James Horn;1839-1850: William Maddams;1851-1854: John Gudgin;1864-1869: Mrs Mary Gudgin;1877-1906: James Liles Quenby;1906-1908: John Fadden;1908-1911: Amos Roberts;1911-1912: John George Lynch;1912-1935: Frederick Charles Butler;1935: Ellen Winifred Butler;1935-1944: David Sheppard;1944-1954: Francis William Jeffcoate;1954-1955: Edward George Atwell;1955-1975: Clara May Atwell (later Eaton);1975-1978: Alfred Harry Kerridge;1978-1982: Rodney Michael Hewitt;1982-1989: William John Charles Dennis Pearson;1989-1992: Glyndwr John Gauntlett and Christine Patricia Moorepublic house closed 1992
(Information taken directly from the Bedfordshire Community Archives)