Nantwich Pubs

The Royal Oak, Nantwich
Nantwich currently has around 20 pubs, which is quite a few considering it’s a relatively small market town. You may be surprised to know that over the years we’ve found 118 different pub names in Nantwich, – and some pub names like the Red Lion have been used on more than one occasion at different premises.

According to James Hall there were 8 Innholders at the time of the Great Fire (1583). By 1792 there were 36 pubs in Nantwich as this map, prepared by local historian Andrew Lamberton, shows:

Map of Nantwich Pubs in 1792
The number of pubs in Nantwich reached a peak in Victorian times. Dr A J Macgregor wrote a book called “Inns and Innkeepers of Nantwich” in 1992, but this is sadly out of print. The book contains some inaccuracies (and no pictures), so local historian Andrew Lamberton (who’s already written some superb books on the history of Nantwich) and myself have written a book on Nantwich Pubs.

The purpose of this page is to whet your appetite (sorry about the pun) for the book, which is for sale in Nantwich museum and a few other outlets in the town.

Here are some of the the things that you’ll find in the book:

Arsenic in Beer – an  Nantwich publican gets fined for selling beer containing arsenic!

Brown’s Vaults – there used to be spirits in this bank’s vaults

Cock Fighting – an activity popular in Nantwich pubs

Disorderly conduct at Nantwich – an amusing court case from 1944

Elizabethan pubs in Nantwich – and the Great Fire

Ghosts in Nantwich pubs – some say some are haunted

How many pubs has Nantwich had? – probably more than you think!

Nantwich Brewers – Nantwich had its own breweries!

Nantwich Pubs Book – Click here for details of our book

The Globe – I’ve been all around the globe researching pubs!

The Griffin – the home of bear baiting, which later became a toy shop

The Leopard – where there once was a pop factory and also a famous boxer as the landlord

The Market Tavern – where there’s a bit of an atmosphere!

The Nantwich Tavern Survey – fascinating descriptions of pubs in Nantwich in 1959/60

The Millfields – a popular community pub on Blagg Avenue

The New Bell – most people don’t know this building could have been an inn

The Ring O’Bells – and the devil and the thieving landlady

The Temperance Movement – not everyone was a drinker!

The Vine – one of Nantwich’s oldest pubs

There’s more about our book here.

Salt City Inns – by Joan Crawford

Inns and hostelries abound
in every part of Nantwich town
The Potting Shed, The Boot and Shoe,
The Railway, Crown and Wickstead too.

The Swan with Two Necks down Welsh Row,
The Wilbraham Arms is there also.
Down by the stocks in Pillory Street
The White Swan and The White Horse meet.

Beam Street boasts the old Shakespeare,
The Red Cow and The Malbank’s near.
For those who visit old Oat Market,
The Talbot Inn could be their target.

Three Pigeons and, The Bowling Green.
Is The Lamb still on the scene?
The Leopard is and so`s The Vine,
their beer is much preferred to wine?

The Vaults, Red Lion, Rifleman
exist for dry Salt City men.
Their `happy hour` lasts night and day,
a `tight` and cheery band are they!

Thanks to Joan Crawford for allowing me to reprint the above poem from Odd Odes, Weird Words & Loopy Letters,

Bill Pearson’s Homepage

21 thoughts on “Nantwich Pubs”

  1. The ROYAL OAK was the first pub I ever went in in 1971 when I first came to Nantwich !,Tom Meredith the undertaker (with whom I later lodged) took me in there.

    1. Ha.. That was also the pub I first walked into on a Christmas eve in 1980 (I think). As I was leaving I got head butted for no reason whatsoever! I just thought “Is this what all pubs are like then”. Shortly after it closed. I’m guessing it closed in 1981.

  2. I used to live in the back lion on Welsh row. And there were definitely ghosts. I was about 8 years old and would talk to “Charlie” all the time. There’s also a hidden priest hole in the top floor bathroom.

  3. Thankyou for this information .I will shortly be visiting Nantwich and staying at The Crown in the square ..I intend to call in a lot of the pubs with a historical interest ..

  4. I’m looking to get a photo of an old pub on London road Nantwich called the bulls head apparently my great great grandfather was the publican but I can’t find anything

    1. I think the landlords of the Bulls Head are:
      1767-69 Peter Corns
      1774-79 Thomas Podmore
      1782-87 Mary Podmore
      1788-91 Thomas Berrington
      1792-93 Elizabeth Berrington
      1794-1823 Joseph or John Darlington
      1824-34 Mary Darlington
      1841-50 John Gartside
      1853-78 John Holland
      1881-83 Daniel Moore
      1888-90 Gomer Jones
      1891-92 John Millard
      1895 -96 Marshall Webb
      1902-06 John Thomas Woodrow
      1906-14 John R Woodrow
      1934 Elizabeth Woodrow
      1939 Frank Rothwell
      1955 Frank Price
      1959-60 Jack Bayes
      1974-76 John Young
      1976-83 John Lytharby
      1983 Graham Smith

      Most of these dates come from MacGregor and some are approximate.

      It’s featured in our Nantwich Pubs book (pages 121 – 123). There’s a picture showing the Bulls Head and the Leopard, and another nice one inside.

      It was only a small pub – there’s an interesting description in the Nantwich Tavern Survey, which Nantwich museum will publish soon.

  5. The Swan with Two Necks, featured on page 23 of “Nantwich Pubs”, shows John Dunning as proprietor. During 1966, I worked in Sandbach where the Landlord of the Military Arms was also a Mr Dunning who was the brother my boss, Reginald Dunning, Rating Officer. Is there a connection here please?
    The Dunnings appear to have been regular Pub owners in Sandbach history.

    1. Charles Dunning had the Double Neck from 1871-83 and John was there in 1887-88. There was a Charles Dunning at the Cotton Arms (on Welsh Row) in 1857-69, he could be the same person. There was an Elizabeth Dunning at the Queen’s Head (on Welsh Row) in 1888-93. In 1910 a Charles Dunning had a shop on Arnold Street. I wouldn’t know if they are connected to the Sandbach ones -but if you go to the library and check Ancestry, Find My Past and the Trade Directories you should be able to find out more.

      1. In the Nantwich old cemetery, Barony Road, there is a single grave: Elizabeth Dunning died September 1888, with Charles Dunning, died June 1911. I suspect that these are the people you refer to.

      2. I have been researching my family tree and Charles Dunning is my 3 times great grandfather – and ran both the pubs you mention Swan & Cotton Arms his Arnold St. shop was his other passion of shoe making; he hailed from Newport Pagnell, Bucks and married a Nantwich girl Ann Heath.
        Unfortunately I didn’t know any of this when I lived in Nantwich and ran a travel company there but I will be visiting the grave of Elizabeth Dunning when I’m next in the area;

        Love all the information you have provided, many thanks indeed Jeanette Jarrel

  6. I have seen a photograph of a building called “The Town Hall Restaurant”. Situated at about the position of Harrison’s Café Bar. The postcard caption states that this building was once called The Market Tavern. Can this be confirmed please?

    1. I’d be interested to see that Lindsay. The Old Town Hall was where Harrison’s Café Bar is – but the Market Tavern was on Market Street (near where the bus station now is) so the caption doesn’t seem correct!

  7. Bill, Thank you for your informative walking history of Nantwich pubs tonight. It was particularly good to see those buildings that were pubs and are now different business,s.
    Howard Gibson

  8. Hello Bill
    I recently came across some information regarding Worleston Dairy Institute, I wondered if you’d ever come across a photo of a young lady presenting a Cheshire Cheese to King George v on his visit there. I have been told this young lady was my Grandmother. I have seen a photo of the visit with a large group of students but am unable to identify her. Her name was Annie Frith. Many thanks, Margaret Jackson

  9. Bill, The Royal Oak closed in 1980/81. There is, however, a white door on the wall of Superdrug that was an entrance to the pub. This is situated in Beam Street opposite Homebargains. The door is now blocked off.
    It was agreed at the time of demolition that this door would be preserved as a reminder of the Royal Oak.

  10. Used to visit a pub in 70s in nantwivh.
    The landlord played train noises and looked like George Bernard shaw.
    Very good memories

  11. Was the Bulls head an Ale House (rather than a pub) where, in the 60s and early 70s your beer glass was topped up by the land lord wandering past with a big jug of ale? I seem to remember it was up the London Rd towards where Wyche Anglers place was.

    I recall a former colleague of Andrew’s saying that one of the reasons he came to work at Reaseheath (in the early 1980s) was that the Camra guide listed Nantwich as having more pubs per head of population than anywhere else in the country.

  12. Does anyone know anything about the Derby Arms? listed as being in Willaston in the early 1900’s? i’ve found records for my great-grandparents there but cant find records of where it was.

    1. The Derby Arms was at 89 London Road. It’s included the Nantwich Pubs book that I wrote with Andrew Lamberton, and is available for sale from Nantwich Museum. Sarah Jane Roberts was the landlady in 1903, and William Bourne Morris was the landlord on the 1911 census and in a 1913 Trade Directory. He is still at that address in the 1921 census. His occupation is a builder and John Robert Woodrow (the writing is unclear – the surname could be Woodhouse) is the publican.

      The pub opened in 1877 and closed in 1991. It also is included in the Nantwich Tavern Survey booklet. An elderly person came into Nantwich Museum and told me that the description of the pub in the survey (“rather like having a drink in someone else’s house”), which was written in 1959 is exactly how she remembered it.

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