The Stag’s Head on Mill Lane has always been the most central public house in Great Warford. The current pub was built in 1899-1900, by Clarkes’ Brewery of Stockport. Before this, ale was supped in the barn which lies next door, which used to have a thatched roof.
The hanging sign in the above photograph, likely to be of a Stag’s Head, would have been taken from the coat of arms of the local landowners, the Stanleys of Alderley:
The following article taken from the Manchester Guardian, 20 September 1893, details Clarkes’ building application for the new hotel, and contemporary local reaction:
“Mr May applied on behalf of Mr David Clarke, brewer, Stockport, for a provisional license for a house proposed to be erected by him at Great Warford, in place of the present house called the Stag’s Head, occupied by Thomas Richardson. Mr May argued that there was a large amount of holiday traffic in the neighbourhood and that the erection of the proposed house at the crossroads about 150 or 200 yards from the present house, would be a great convenience to travellers. Mr Grey did not see that there was a large amount of traffic in the district and Mr Brocklehurst said no man would go to the expense proposed in building the house unless he hoped to create the traffic to make it pay. Mr Mewburn of Warford Hall, it was stated, objected to it’s erection as an eyesore in front of his park gates. The magistrates objected to the building of the house on the proposed site and Mr May then undertook to build a house in a spot as near as possible to the present site”
1893, Sep 20. County Brewster Sessions. The Manchester Guardian (1828-1900), 3.
Alan Dale, local historian, shared some of his memories:
‘One day when my grandfather was walking up Mill Lane going to the Stag’s Head Inn, old Samuel Jennings , the proprietor of the wheelwright business, saw my grandfather going past, so Mr Jennings then went into his house and started rummaging all over the place, but he could not find the five shilling piece that he had hidden for such a day at the Stag. I do not remember whether he joined my Grandfather later or not, but when his very small Wife was spring cleaning, and moved the four poster bed, there was the 5s piece. He had put it under the bed post and had forgot where he had put it.’
‘My Great Grand Mother’s nephew Jonathan Wood was set up on a farm at Lindow End, Great Warford, he did not like work, but liked his drink too much, after he left the farm, his Father put him in a thatched cottage in Mill Lane,and he told Jonathan that he would make him an allowance of One Pound a week when he was working, but only ten shillings when he was not working.
Jonathan Wood sometimes went after dark to the Stag’s Head Yard and searched for and rolled an empty spirit barrel down the road to his cottage, quite a short distance, he would then pour boiling water into the barrel, and eventually drink the contents.’
Taken from Alan Dale’s “Sandlebridge Tales”
The census returns of 1891 to 1901 show the Stag being run by the Richardson Family, William and Emily who live there with their family. By 1911, Emily is a widow and is living with her five youngest children.
Before this, the Stag was inhabited by James Wood, Farmer and Publican 28 acres with his wife Margaret.
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