Pubs and Beer Houses.
Prior to the 18th century gin craze, English taverns primarily sold beer and ale. As the production of gin rose the country became dangerously lawless, as famously depicted in William Hogarth’s Gin Lane, the Government took action. In 1751, The Gin Act put drinking establishments under the control of local magistrates and obliged manufacturers to sell only to licensed premises.
As a consequence in 1830 the Government passed the Beerhouse Act, which aimed to wipe out the re-emerging gin shops and promote the healthier alternative of beer. This Act allowed a householder, assessed to the poor rate, to retail beer and cider from their own premises on payment of two guineas. The purpose of the legislation was to popularise beer at the expense of spirits. The Act was repealed in 1869.
As a result of this new Act the number of the beerhouses exploded, licenses being easily obtainable. Publicans’ set up business often in the front parlour of their own homes. By 1869 this growth was checked as the precursors to modern licensing laws were introduced, paving the way for beerhouses to become public houses properly licensed to sell beer, wine and spirits.
Penkhull in the early 18th century was an expanding community. One family that came to exploit the possible advantages of an increase in population was that of Thomas Elkin. Elkin was born in Wolstanton, two miles to the north of Penkhull. His wife came from Trentham, two miles to the south.
This ale house and brewery were subsequently inherited by his wife. It would appear that the loan from Thomas Lovatt was not paid off until January 1729 when the Alice was readmitted through the court. Alice at the same court surrendered the estate to Edward Smith (her son-in-law) in respect of a loan of £67.
Apart from the two licenced inns, The White Lion in Honeywall and the Marquis of Granby in the centre of Penkhull village there were no other establishments apart from beer houses which continued until the Act of 1869, when such establishments became public houses. Early records are not only scarce, but also difficult to interpret because names that have survived are often difficult to locate as to whom ran what and where.
The Beehive Inn
The Beehive Inn is located in Honeywall which originated as a separate hamlet. It is formed from three old cottages set in a row of back to back working class terraced houses. In all probability the row of workers cottages, like those in the surrounding area were built by Josiah Spode at the beginning of the 19th century for his workers. The location is shown on Hargreaves’ map of 1832.
The census of 1841 does not indicate there being any inn at the site. The 1851 census however does list a Thomas Howell as a greengrocer and beer seller. In simple terms, he would have had a little greengrocer’s shop, and at the same time, probably had a couple of hand pumps, one for Mild and the other for Bitter beers, both for consumption off the premises. It is from here that the residents of the nearby houses would fetch the beer in a jug after a day’s work to have with their evening meal. The seller would not sell spirits.
By 1861, Thomas Howell was no longer recorded but his son Enoch Howell, aged 50 was listed as beer seller at the same address but by this time the premises had become a Beer House under the sign of ‘The Beehive’. Thomas was married to Sarah and they had four children together with a servant Julie, aged 22, from Silverdale.
Looking much further into the pages of a trade directory dated 1887 there was no mention of the shop, only the Inn. John Trickett was listed as the landlord. This fact is further endorsed by the 1891 census which confirms John Arthur Trickett, aged 36, as a beer seller, born in Hanley, living at No. 53 Honeywall along with his wife Sarah, aged 34, a local girl together with live-in servant Hannah Beech.
One of the most interesting assets of the inn is its cellar, carved out of the native sandstone. This helps to maintain the beers in perfect condition.
So why the name The Beehive? Probably this links with the address in Honeywall. There is no evidence to suggest that it has any direct connection is with bees or honey. However, it is known that, for centuries bees provided the only sweetening agent available, and there are records of beekeepers in Penkhull from medieval times. Therefore, it is not beyond the possibility that beekeepers were active on the lower slopes of Penkhull behind, the inn.
The White Lion, Honeywall. The White Lion Inn has at various times in its history has had the name Hotel tagged on. It commenced life as a coaching inn situated on the steep hill called Honeywall commencing from the town of Stoke-upon-Trent, a road which dates from prehistoric times. The inn is shown on Yates’s map of 1775, and the 1777 Duchy of Lancaster Map on which it is recorded as in the occupation of Mr Thomas Appleton. Records for the Justices of the Peace at Stafford note the issuing of a licence to sell wines and spirits from the mid 18th century.
It would seem that Thomas Appleton had established himself as a property owner as early as 1762 when the copyhold records list him as renting a property described as: all that house, shop and chamber over the same and garden and yard in Penkhull currently in the holding of Thomas Appleton. The annual rental for this amounted to £12.
The inn was advertised to be let in the Potteries Mercury in April 1839 “and may be entered on immediately, that old established, well known, and well accustomed inn known by the sign of the ‘White Lion’, with suitable out buildings, and a large excellent garden, situate at the Honeywall, midway between Stoke and Penkhull. The incoming tenant will be expected to take from the present tenant the small stock of ale and spirits, with the household furniture etc. Apply to William Outrim, Stoke-upon-Trent.”
In 1861 it was owned by Richard Stone who sold the plot of land at the rear of the inn to Frederick Bishop to enable a new road to be built from Honeywall to Princes Road, thereby opening up the area for housing development from 1865. Note the name Stone Street.
Probably as a direct result of the development of the nearby allotments housing estate towards the end of the 18th century, The White Lion was extended as can be seen from the red brick addition. By 1914, the inn was occupied by Harvey Howell, and owned by Burton Brewers, and described as the White Lion Inn with stables and garden. The annual rent paid by Mr Harvey amounted to £60, and the rates amounted to £48. If compared with those of The Beehive, it is obvious that The White Lion was a much more substantial establishment than The Beehive just across the road.
The Terrace Inn, Penkhull New Road
The origins of the old Terrace Inn commences with the building of a row of five terraced properties, just below what was to become known as Commercial Row, the old narrow street leading to The Views. The first deeds to the properties are dated the 29th July 1858, with the transfer of the cottages to Hester Till from her late husband John. Evidence suggests that from the original five houses, three were converted into The Terrace Inn by 1879, when a trade directory confirms it was occupied by Samuel Bowers and Mrs Wolfe. By 1881 William Birch, aged 33, born in Stoke was the licensee. He lived with his wife Emma, aged 36, together with two children William, aged 5, and Albert, aged 3. The following year, 1882, the new husband of Mary Cliff, Thomas Bratt was now listed as the landlord with no mention of William Birch. It is not clear as to why but the Rate Books of 1889, although listing the owner as Mary Ann Bratt; the occupier was Mrs Sarah Kinder. By the time the 1891 census came around, Mary Bratt was the licensee and widowed again.
For many years the old Terrace Inn was probably the most popular with the locals. Many stories still circulate of the old characters that frequented the pub. I recall my late friend Ernest Tew talking to me some thirty years ago of his memories of the 1930s and 40s when the back room snug was often referred to as ‘The Third Programme’. The highlight of the pub was the little men’s smoke room where the conversation was brilliant, debating most things of the day from politics to religion. Sometimes they became very heated, especially after a few pints. Mugs were frequently picked up in anger but never actually thrown. It was here in this little room that everyone was an equal no matter what his position was. All were on Christian name terms and included many high ranking officials from the council. It was truly a remarkable meeting place.
Another good friend, the late Reg Brunt, who used to live just around the corner in Penkhull Terrace and was known locally as the Mayor of Penkhull, recalls an old chap called Bob Dowie who used to enjoy a few pints at the old Terrace each evening. Bob, whenever he ordered his pint, would strike a match as if going to light his pipe and threw it into the freshly pulled pint with its head still overflowing the glass. Even though some nights he would stretch out a pint to last some couple of hours, the match would remain, sitting at the top of whatever remained in the glass. One night I asked him why he did that and came the reply ‘that with the match on the top, if he had to the need to visit somewhere during the evening, be could be sure that no one would bother to drink his beer with a match on the top’.
As part of the city council compulsory purchase plan to demolish most of the old village in the early 1960s the old Terrace Inn was purchased by the corporation on the 5th October 1964 for the sum of £550.
The Royal Oak, Manor Court Street At the corner of Manor Court Street and Newcastle Lane stood for many years, The Royal Oak Inn. The premises were surrendered as mortgagee in default to William Bridgwood in 1860 who converted two cottages out of a row of eight into a beer house. At a copyhold court held on the 13th day of September 1866 the properties were sold to John Royal.
The 1861 census lists the property as The Royal Oak, but then recorded not in Church Street, but at the top of Newcastle Street, numbered 1 and 3. It was occupied by a direct ancestor of mine George Henry Underwood, aged 36, beerseller and potter, born Penkhull. He was married to Eliza, aged 38, of Stoke. They had four children, Henry, aged 16, John, aged 12, and both working as potters’ boys, followed by Frank, aged 9 and James, aged 2. James was my great grandfather. His daughter Eliza Ann was my grandmother who married Thomas Talbot in 1908.
The 1871 census shows that Benbow, then aged 36, also worked as a potters colour maker as well as running the beerhouse, a practice not uncommon for the period. Benbow was not local; he was born at Coalbrookdale and married to Jane, aged 37. She was widowed. Her son, George Willott, aged 13, was working as a turner. Three other children were also living at the house.They took in lodgers; Mary Addison, aged 65, and her son James, and lastly Edward Lewis, aged 28. A total of nine people in such small accommodation, but again a not unusual practice for this period in history.
Ten years later in 1881, The Royal Oak was held by Mr David Shenton, aged 45, and his wife Mary, aged 42, together with their seven children ranging from Albert, aged 20, to Blanch, aged 1. Three years later, in May 1884, his wife Mary died and is buried in Penkhull churchyard. Her gravestone reads In Loving Memory of Mary Ann, the beloved wife of David Shenton of the Royal Oak Inn.
By 1891, David Shenton had remarried to Emma, aged 34, eleven years his junior. At the time there remained four children living at home, together with Jane Bryan, a domestic servant. David Shenton died on the 15th March 1900, aged 72. He is buried alongside his first wife Mary. On the gravestone there is no mention of Emma his second wife. The epitaph under his name reads his end was peace.
On the 30th June 1898 two years previous he had sold his other property in Penkhull. Shenton had already sold The Royal Oak in 1890 to Parkers Brewery although he continued to run the establishment at least until 1891 on their behalf. The court minute commences by stating that Shenton was formerly of The Royal Oak, licensed victualler but afterwards of No. 14 Church Street, grocer but at the time of the court record living at No. 191 Campbell Road Stoke.
By 1901 it had ceased being used as a beer house. The census returns records the property was vacant but still listed as The Royal Oak. Following this it was converted back into a domestic residence. In 1911 it was occupied by William Woolley, aged 30, a pottery worker and his wife Florence, aged 32, and their three children. By 1912 it was occupied by Walter Roberts whose occupation was a goods porter.
Later the same year the premises were purchased by Mr Albert Swetnam who previously held a small shop on the corner of Seven Row in Penkhull New Road. He converted the old Royal Oak Inn into a high class grocer’s shop. Mr Swetnam continued in business until 1955 when Mr Brunt purchased the shop.
The Marquis of Granby This old established inn has proved the most difficult to research its early history. I was always of the belief that the original inn would date from the medieval period on the basis that Penkhull was situated on the main highway from the south to the north of Stoke-on-Trent before the current London Road, Stoke was laid.
Here in Penkhull, at the top of a long climb up the hill from the Trent Valley at Hanford before the downward path to the town of Stoke, an inn was listed in the 15th century under the sign of Lord Wagstaff. The court rolls list a Thomas Bagnall victualler of Penkhull in 1587. A Thomas Tittensor was licensed to sell spirits in 1606; James Bourne was named a victualler of Penkhull in 1775. Sadly none of these identify the inn by any name.
Some thirty five years ago, I interviewed Miss Maskery of Richmond Hill she was then in her 80s. She had a vivid memory and could recall the Relief of Mafeking in May 1900 during the second Boer war by the ringing of a hand bell by a young lad as he ran around the village shouting ‘Mafeking has been relieved, the siege is over’. Miss Maskery also remembered the old Marquis, a thatched building standing back from the road followed by the building of a new Marquis. She was able to date this by the fact that the scaffolding once removed was employed in the construction of the new senior school in Princes Road in 1895/6.
The name The Marquis of Granby is interesting as there are so many pubs of that name throughout the country. John Manners, the eldest son of the 3rd Duke of Rutland, and known by his father’s subsidiary title of the Marquis of Granby, was a highly distinguished soldier and later a politician. Manners died in 1771 and when his soldiers retired, John Manners helped financially many of his soldiers to set up public houses who subsequently named those inns The Marquis of Granby out of respect and admiration of the former Major General. When he died the Marquis left £60,000 of debts with assets of around £23,000 which could imply that he was most generous during his life time.
The census dated 1901 shows a further change in tenancy. Charles Sims, aged 49, from Stoke was the licensee supported by his wife Mary, aged 47. They had five children Maud, aged 20, to Harold, aged 4 at home. Mr Sims was still the landlord in 1914, and the property owned by George Pimm and Co. The annual rental for The Marquis was substantial at £85 which had to be found, in addition to the rates being charged at £65.
Searching the copyhold minutes, the first record which conclusively identifies the site of the inn does not appear until September 1783. The land upon which The Marquis now stands was formerly a part of Bowyers Meadow owned at the time by the Terrick family. There was no Penkhull New Road as we know it today, only a narrow track to where West Bank now stands. The record states: To this court comes John Plum of Houghton in Lancashire Esq, and his wife Hannah. Hannah was previously living together with her sisters, Elizabeth and Mary Terrick surrendered all that small parcel of land now marked out lying at the top of Bowyers Meadow to be enclosed by a foot set hedge and formerly in the holding of Mr Wm Ford to the use of Michael Henney, wheelwright.
Michael Henney died at the age of 83, and was buried in Stoke churchyard on the 6th May 1785. The land was then transferred to his widow Elizabeth, who survived a further twelve years after the death of her husband until May1797. In September of the same year, the copyhold court dealt with the transfer of the estate to her son, also called Michael, upon trust. The blacksmith’s shop was recorded as being in the holding of John Gallimore, but now of Thomas Cheadle. On the 13th May 1802, Michael Henney junior died, leaving his estate to his widow Hannah upon trust.
This part of the court record tells us the name of the property, The Marquis of Granby. It further confirms that the inn was previously in the ownership of William Crewe. His will dated the 26th October 1852, also confirms that he owned The Marquis of Granby as well as The Nantwich Arms situated in the Swine Market, Nantwich, and a large house in Marsh Parade, Wolstanton and several other properties. William Crewe states in his will: I give and devise all my messuage or public house by the sign of The Marquis of Granby now and for many years past in the occupation of Mrs Holroyd. Together with the malthouse buildings and garden attached at Penkhull to my son Samuel Crewe my daughters Mary Lees and my grandson Frederick Crewe Lees of Burslem, solicitor.
The documents list the previous occupiers of The Marquis; Joseph Pickering, William Kettle; Robert Archer; Edward Candland; Robert Holroyd then his widow Ann Holroyd. This document gives the first evidence of The Marquis prior to 1818. A trade directory of 1800 lists William Kettle, victualler, Penkhull but no address or the name of business. With the evidence of other documents it is shown that it refers to The Marquis of Granby. Not only this, the previous occupier is also listed, Joseph Pickering. The court records point to the fact that Joseph Pickering acquired property in Penkhull in March 1772, a date which ties in with the assumption that inns, trading under the sign of The Marquis of Granby, followed shortly after the death of John Manners, the Marquis of Granby in 1771. This is conclusive evidence.
The Greyhound Inn:
Latest send-up for April Fools Day that appeared in the Sentinel 31st 2018
How King Charles II almost met his end in Potteries pub
by Dr Richard Talbot MBE, Author and Historian
Over the last thirty years I have acquired and transcribed what has become the only and largest collection in the world of the Manor Court Rolls of Manor of Newcastle-under-Lyme which included what is two thirds of Stoke-on-Trent from 1347 – 1927. It is from this extensive archive that an account appears of King Charles II visit to Penkhull.
Following the demise at the castle at Newcastle all manorial courts were held once every three weeks from c1530 in a large farm house in Penkhull and what is now known as the Greyhound Inn. No doubt many readers will know that Major General Thomas Harrison, the second in command under Oliver Cromwell was the son of a butcher and born in High Street Newcastle, the site of which is now occupied by the HSBC Bank. There is a brass plaque on the wall to this fact. It was Harrison with others who also signed the death warrant of Charles I.
During the Commonwealth period 1649-1660 Cromwell was designated the Lord Protector and appointed Harrison as the head of the former Royal Manor thereby receiving all rents and court dues. He is frequently mentioned as attending as head of the manor in the court rolls.
After the Restitution of Charles II, Thomas Harrison was executed on Saturday 13 October, 1660. He was dragged on a hurdle through the streets of London from Newgate Prison to Charing Cross and executed. In his diary, Samuel Pepys wrote:
I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy… Thus, it was my chance to see the King beheaded at White Hall, and to see the first blood-shed in revenge for the blood of the King at Charing Cross.
Eighteen months later, Charles II decided that it was now time to have his revenge on the family of Harrison still residing in Newcastle. He travelled to Penkhull in 1662, staying overnight at Penkhull Hall, (now the Greyhound) owned by one William Tyttensore where, true to form, he indulged in a dalliance with the owner’s daughter, Sarah Tyttensore. Upon discovering these shenanigans in the bedroom of Charles II, her father engaged the King in a sword fight down the stairs, and, when the King momentarily lost his balance on the turn of the stairs, Tyttensore brought his sword down in a mighty thrust within a fraction of the Kings heart but in a blink Charles managed to turn to one side and the sward became embedding into one of the stairs the cut of which remains still visible today.
The commotion attracted the ‘King’s Men’ from the stables at the rear who rushed to seize Tyttensore and save the King. Tyttensore, there and then was charged with high treason against the King, escorted to London where he was executed at the Tower and his headless body being returned to Penkhull, where it was buried in Stoke Church yard. His head being tossed into the Thames.
Who would have thought that the events on an early spring morning IV.I.MDCLXII that Penkhull could well have been listed in every history book in the land as the place that two years following his restitution King Charles II could well have met his end in the Greyhound Inn.
Dr Talbot writes extensively in his The Royal Manor of Penkhull about the manorial courts in his book which remains available from the Museum shop or direct from 88 Newcastle Lane price £15.
The present Greyhound Inn, formerly known as Penkhull Hall then later Greenhead House, stands opposite what is now the west door of the parish church, but before the church was built here was a large open space of common manorial waste where the village pinfold was situated. The old building, originally a farmhouse, would be constructed of timber, wattle and daub with one large room, the large parlour, which was used for the Customary Court Baron and Court Leet. This section of the building now forms the public bar section of the Inn. The building still retains its original form, although largely reconstructed in 1936.
Early 19th century trade directories identify this old building as previously being the place where manor courts were held every three weeks. The manor court records contain much evidence of its transition through the centuries but the first record that can be identified is dated 1536. It refers to the building itself as being recently built. Unfortunately the word recently cannot be relied upon to mean what it says nor can the limited description of the property with certainty identify the property now known by the name The Greyhound Inn. In many cases, a description such as ‘recently built’ can be carried forward within court documents for years, as any previous reference would be copied to the next court reference without change. One thing is for certain, the old farmhouse was standing in 1536, but it could date from a much earlier period and may even have been the location for the manorial courts since the need arose to vacate the castle at Newcastle-under-Lyme, probably in the early 15th century or late 14th century.
Much has been written of its history, but regrettably, in most cases, it has been a case where fools rush in where angels fear to tread, little if anything is accurate. There are stories of tunnels, which pass under the highway to the church through which prisoners escaped, and the appearance of ghosts. Even Stoke-on-Trent official publications list it as being burnt down in 1936. One local historian even wrote that prisoners were bought out screaming from its doors to be hanged on the nearest tree in the churchyard. Sheer fantasy on his part, and a great pity that such romanticism is peddled as fact.
Early records are difficult to come by, apart from the manor court minutes supplemented by manorial surveys, parish and poor law records, land tax returns, tithe schedules and wills etc. Little else of anything has survived.
For several decades the origins of The Greyhound Inn has remained a mystery. The question first arose with a reference by Mr Robert Nicholls in his small booklet Penkhull cum Boothen published in 1929. Nicholls quotes a court record, a mortgage, dated 25th April 1662 whereby John Lovatt and Joan Dale surrendered to the King one messuage called Penkhull Hall with its buildings, orchards, gardens and pasture into the hands of Ralph Keeling, gent. No doubt Mr Nicholls would have obtained this reference from the Historical Collections of Staffordshire, and for years it was considered to be the only reference to Penkhull Hall.
This is not the case. I for one wrongly believed that the name of Penkhull Hall was the forerunner of the house later named Greenhead House. The problem we have in the first place is the word ‘hall’ itself. Far too often this word is perceived wrongly as representing a large black and white Elizabethan House where titled people once lived. Unfortunately this is romanticism! Although this perception can have a place in historical novels, it has no place in historical works like this. The word ‘hall’ could simply mean a large room where meetings or gatherings were held. This is probably the case with Penkhull Hall.
So what of the entry for Penkhull Hall in 1662, and when does the name appear of Greenhead House? The answer I have come to is that these are separate buildings, for both names appear in court records during the early 17th century. There is, however, a clear explanation as to why the matter has been so confusing. Records have never previously been studied in any detail. One line that occurs in a number of court minutes, and previously not quite understood, is found in later descriptions of Greenhead House. The first reference is in a court minute dated 15th May 1700 when Thomas Dale surrendered the lower part of a messuage or tenement of Greenhead House. Once more in 1704, a part of Greenhead house is described as the lower end of a messuage or tenement called Greenhead House. It was described as in the holding or occupation of Thomas Dale. The last description found in the manor court records is dated July 1711, when the house was described a below mentioned part of a messuage or tenement called the Greenhead House. This ‘lower end’ could well be the part of the building previously known by the name of Penkhull Hall.
Returning to the court entries of Penkhull Hall and a court entry dated 20th December 1650, which refers to Philip Young, gent, through his attorneys John Lovatt and Joshua Hill, was admitted to a capital messuage called Penkhull Hall, stable, garden, a meadow called Penkhull Meadow and two closes of pasture called Middle and Lower moor. At the same court, Young surrendered the hall to Ralph Keeling. The next court entry, dated 1657, refers to the fact that Keeling surrendered it on the 8th June 1654 to Dorothy Machen. Dorothy then surrenders the hall in 1657 to her daughters Jane and Margaret Machen. One year later, on the 7th July 1658, Jane Machen returned the property to Ralph Keeling, no doubt on the discharge of a mortgage. In a survey dated 1618 Roger Machen owned a considerable estate in Penkhull consisting of ninety acres, the largest recorded in that year.
It was the following year, 18th July 1659, when again Keeling surrendered Penkhull Hall to obtain a mortgage after adding various other lands to the package, including the Middle and Lower Moor, the Bearshill waste and the Hole House waste to Joan Dale, on condition that do well and truly pay unto the said Joan Dale the sum of £106 in the church porch of Stoke otherwise the surrender shall be void.
Joan Dale was the daughter of John Dale of Penkhull. His last Will and Testament is dated 10th June 1664. He leaves the sum of £100 to his eldest daughter Margaret, and the same sum to his two youngest daughters Joan and Ann. Dale and also three beds and their furnishings to be divided equally between his three daughters at the discretion of my loving wife Joan. There was no bequest to his only son John.
The next entry relating to Penkhull Hall is dated 25th April 1662, the entry that Robert Nicholls records in 1929. Unfortunately Nicholls had only half the story, as the court minute continued to add further information not mentioned in his 1929 account. John Lovatt and Joan Dale surrendered to the Lord King one messuage called Penkhull Hall with all its buildings, orchards and gardens to the use of Ralph Keeling. It is clear at this point that the mortgage of £106 had not been returned. The next section of the minute then describes at the same court that William Wedgwood was granted seizen (ownership) of the premises and the mortgage of £106 was reassigned to him on condition that Keeling pay this off by the 26th April 1663. There are no further entries found in the manor court records under the name of Penkhull Hall.
From this point in it was originally assumed that the name was changed to Green Head House soon after 1662. This is not the case. The records for Greenhead House date prior to 1662, with an entry in April 1579, in a surrender of property that once stood where now Jeremy Close just off Trent Valley Road. The property was occupied by William Turner and Roger Hutchens and referred to as the inheritance of Thomas Dale who lives at the Green Head. This confirms that not only did the house exist in 1579 but the Dale family also held it.
So where does all this leave the debate as to what stood where? This is something that has been pondered over hard and long. There is significant evidence to prove that both existed side by side. Penkhull Hall, containing a large parlour, would be used once, every three weeks for manor court transactions as well as living accommodation. This is the old section of The Greyhound Inn, largely re-constructed in 1936, because of its decayed condition. Greenhead House, on the other hand, was the other section of the Inn.
As the court records have shown already, the name of Dale is significant in the ownership of each, and it is probable that after the last entry for Penkhull Hall in 1663, it all became one property called Greenhead House. During the occupation of the Lovatt family in the early 1700s, the current lounge area and the small room off, would, I am confident, have been rebuilt. Greenhead House simply means the house at the head of the green, which reflects an accurate picture for the term.
From later records when the property was in the occupation and ownership of John Townsend it was described as having had been divided into three separate dwellings, two of which retained their individual status until being sold to Parkers Brewery in 1936.
Greenhead House then passed through a number of owners and are fully recorded in the book The Royal Manor of Penkhull.
A manor court document dated the 5th February 1829 itemizes both property and the outstanding debts of Townsend who had owned the property for many years. It further indicates the results of the auction and how the finances were sorted to accommodate the sale. Firstly his two daughters were admitted tenants to the copyhold estate consisting of four dwelling houses and two gardens but subject to a mortgage held by John Brown of Knutton Heath. To settle the outstanding mortgage to John Brown, William Bagnall paid the sum of £280 in part payment and discharge of the principal money and interest due. The daughters of Townsend then surrendered all those three dwelling houses described as in the occupations of William Parky, Joseph Dishley and Ralph Pennington, in addition to the land attached to the dwellings to Mr Bagnall. There was also a condition that Bagnall would have the use of the water pump at the side of the other property along with the Malt House.
Regarding the property sold to Bagnall the sale was on condition that the purchase price included the balance of the mortgage to Brown of £36 14s in full payment of the debt, and the sum of £183 6s to the daughters Martha and Hannah. Next, having agreed on these terms, the sisters proceeded to surrender: Greenhead House, divided into three dwellings with the land adjoining previously occupied by John Townsend, William Hewitt and Thomas Green along with the use of the water pump. And also all those stables, piggeries, outhouses, and the pew seats in the parish church of Stoke. The property was surrendered to Mr George Thomas Taylor, overseer of the poor for Stoke.
Two important events in 1828 had a significant bearing on the future of Greenhead House. On the 25th August, George Thomas Taylor applied to the Justices of the Peace acting in the Hundred of Pirehill North for permission to open an alehouse. The document, after the formal introduction continues: That your petitioner is the proprietor of a commodious dwelling house with stable yard and other conveniences in Penkhull and which has for some time past been used by Mr George Marlow as a Retail Brewery. Currently the population of Penkhull has very much increased within the last few years, and that it now contains upwards of seven hundred persons.
There is only one Public House in the place for which a licence was granted when there was not more than one quarter of the present number. In all probability the new Ale House Act of 1828 (9 George IV c61) would have influenced Taylor to obtain a licence to sell ale. He also saw the opportunity for business from the increase in population of Penkhull, as there was only one inn in the centre of the village, being the Marquis of Granby. The Act however failed to make provision for the keeping of licensing records by the Clerk of the Peace, so the discovery of the original application to the Justices of Pirehill North to sell ale just a few years ago in the possession of his great, great grand-daughter Mrs Betty Wildblood makes it even more important.
Your petitioner sincerely believes that an additional Public House in Penkhull is wanted and would be an accommodation and convenience to the inhabitants. This is borne out in such his belief by the testimony of a great number of respectable inhabitants of Penkhull and others. I beg to leave to draw your Worships’ attention to the fact that the present occupier of these premises has sold upwards of thirty barrels of ale off the premises within the last six months. Therefore, I pray your worships to grant a licence to open the said house as a Public and Victualling House and your petitioner will every pray.
The document included the signatures of thirty-seven names, mostly local businessmen, traders and manufacturers as well as the churchwardens of Stoke Church. The significance of this document cannot be under estimated. Firstly, it tells us that ale had been sold from the house for six months, which takes that date back to the date the property was sold to Taylor. It further informs us that a local brewer was selling ale. Would it be the malt kiln to the rear of Greenhead House produced that the ale?
(The Greyhound before its restoration in 1929)
Taylor emphasizes the increase in the population, giving approximate figures but fails to indicate that this expansion was due to the fact that Josiah Spode had provided housing in the village for his workers. There is also only one other retailer of ale quoted. This would be the Marquis of Granby. However, it is surprising that he did not include The White Lion in Honeywall as part of Penkhull. This was probably because it was considered at that time a hamlet with its own identity.
The Penkhull Lock-up There is only a single reference of a lock-up at Penkhull. But first what is the definition of this term? They were often used for the confinement of drunks who were usually released the next day, or to hold people being brought before the local magistrate the following morning. A typical village lock-up is a small structure with a single door and a narrow slit window or opening. Lock-ups were not a gaol; they were only a temporary place to secure prisoners.
The Staffordshire Advertiser dated the 10th October 1829 refers to the Lock-Up at Penkhull in a press report of the activities of the General Court Leet and Court Baron held at the Wheatsheaf in Stoke. In attendance was the Chief Constable for Stoke-upon-Trent Mr John Davis. Mention was made to the Court of the necessity, which existed for a lock-up in the town of Stoke – prisoners sometimes escaping from the custody of the constables whilst being taken to that at Penkhull. The Court stated that it had no funds available for such a purpose; and recommended to the inhabitants to erect the building, and defray the cost by public subscription.
The Penkhull lock-up was situated beneath the old courtroom in what is now The Greyhound Inn. Some forty-five years ago, I recall my visit to Bert Pattinson and his wife Nora who lived at No 27 Penkhull Terrace. He was then aged seventy-two years and could well remember living in that section of the inn, which, at that time was next door to The Greyhound, and a separate dwelling house. Bert continues: I went to live there in March 1932; my mother purchased it for me. I left in August 1934. It was later purchased by Parkers Brewery. The door to the cellar was very thick and was designed with a little hatch and a slide across so the jailer could see the prisoners.
The cellar was approached through this door and down the stairs that curved around. Up the far corner were a large wooden stump and a chain fastened to it. There were also shackles fastened to chains into the brickwork. As money was short then I pulled them out and sold the metal to the rag and bone man for a few pence.
On the 29th September 1925 the Greyhound Inn, No. 6 Church Street was sold to Parkers Burslem Brewery Ltd.
No.5 Church Street (the old court house)was placed on the market for sale in 1935 as a derelict old timber building. Correspondence that I received some thirty years ago from Mrs Aston reveals that Rev V G Aston wanted Penkhull church to purchase this old building to use for church activities and meetings. Serious enquiries were made and an architect employed to view the property. Unfortunately the structural report confirmed that it was in such a poor state of repair that it virtually needed rebuilding. The church did not pursue enquiries any further.
Rev V G Aston later wrote in the parish magazine in 1936, about the part of the building which now forms the public bar that was found to be in a dangerous state with beams rotting. It was purchased by Parkers’ Brewery, who undertook the reconstruction of the whole building, and intended to retain every possible part of the old courthouse. When the front was taken down it was found that such was the state of ruin that little could be rebuilt into the new structure. Thankfully, builders and architects, R Scrivener & Sons, worked marvellously with what they had, and today we see the shape and form of the old court house as it was.
Much of the oak inside is preserved for future generations, the old fire place still stands and the oak that was over the Steward’s chair forms a lintel over the door. The panelling which once adorned the courtroom walls was removed and refitted into the small room of the original Greyhound which displays the sign George Thomas Taylor, Alehouse 1829 today.
This edited version of the history of the Greyhound Inn taken from The Royal Manor of Penkhull is © Richard Talbot.