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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Chorley's Inns & Taverns

 by Richard Langford

A potted history of the Inns and Taverns of Chorley dedicated  to the
 memory of those who worked there, the buildings, history and the
central part they played in the lives of the community and people who
lived and passed through Lancashire's market town 
over the last few hundred years.

"There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so 
much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn."
Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

I was first inspired to research the history of pubs in Chorley whilst tracing my family tree several years ago.  I was born in Britain's brewing capital, Burton-on-Trent and most of the paternal side of my family hail from the Black Country in the West Midlands.  When I learnt that a great uncle was previously the licensee of the Coach and Horses Public House in Tipton I began to scour the web and swiftly came across the most fantastic website called Hitchmough's Black Country Pubs, which is dedicated to plotting the history of over 5300 pubs in that area and is an amazing resource for historians and genealogists alike (  This blog is not meant to copy what Tony Hitchmough has created over 40 years of research but is inspired by his work and hopefully will prove useful to anyone interested in Chorley's heritage, of which, the humble tavern will always remain an important part...warts an' all!

The Harpers Hotel, Harpers Lane, Chorley

Information has been sourced from records including the Universal British Directory of Trade & Commerce 1793, The Commercial Directory 1814-1815, 1818,1819 & 1820, Pigot's London Directory 1822-1823,  Pigot & Dean's Directory for Manchester & Salford 1824-1825, Parish of Chorley Directory 1835, A History & Directory of Chorley 1839, UK Census Records (1841-1911), Mannex Town & Parish of Chorley 1851, Slater's Directory of Lancashire 1861/1865/1871/1876/1879,  Wigan & District Directory 1872, Mannex Directory Blackburn, Accrington, Darwen & Chorley 1874, Barrett's Directory of Preston & District 1882/1936 & the Post Office Chorley Directory 1889-1890.

Universal British Directory of Trade & Commerce 1793

Chorley's pub heritage is said to date back as far as the Norman conquest and many believe the second oldest pub in the country stands on the outskirts of Chorley in the village of Limbrick; the Black Horse Inn. The author and researcher Thomas Burke claims that there has been an Inn stood on the site of The Black Horse since before 1066, and parts of the original cellar still stand and are used by the pub for serving beer today.

The following pages taken from the Universal British Directory of 1793 provide an interesting insight into Chorley life in the 1790s: -





This blog includes details of the following pubs; Black Bull, George Inn, Joiner’s Arms, King's Arms, Red Lion, White Bull's Head, Royal Oak, Anchor, Britannia, Duke of York, Euxton Tavern, Fox & Goose, Gillibrand Arms, Thatched House Tavern (Rose & Crown), Waggon & Horses, Wheatsheaf (The George), White Horse, Black-a-Moor’s Head (Black Boy / Moor Inn), Jolly Crofters, Roebuck, Standish Arms, Waterloo Tavern, Black Horse, Fazackerley Arms, Prince of Wales, Queen's Hotel, Shepherds' Arms Ale House, Malt 'n Hops, Railway Hotel, Talbot Inn, Castle Inn, Green Man Still, Seven Stars, Swan, Millstone and many many more.

I can't complete the blog without thanking  all those people of Chorley who captured its history by taking photos or completing the census records and directories from 1841 onwards, the excellent assistance of the staff of the Chorley Central Library (especially Jean in the reference section!), Lancashire Lantern, George Birtill (now sadly deceased but long-time editor of the Chorley Guardian and Chorley historian), Jack Smith (author and local historian), Peter Jackson, Ian Bagshaw, Paul Topping and good old Facebook, Adam Cree, Andrew Alston and Chorley Then and Now. There's probably loads of people I've forgotten (sorry) but without all their help this blog would not have been possible. Most of all, my greatest thanks goes to Linda, who has put up with me whilst doing this "little" project!

Further historical information about Chorley's Inns is shown in the excerpts below, taken from Jim Heyes', "A History of Chorley".

All the information on this blog is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. I do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on my blog and related files is strictly at your own risk and I will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of our website.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
For more information about material found please contact me.


  1. Fascinating post and I really like all the photos, too. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Thank you for this. It was great to read such a detailed account of Chorley!

  3. Hi there. I am researching family history and wonder have you come across any records/information concerning what was The Dog & Pheasant Inn at 49 Chorley Road? My 2nd Gt Grandfather John Bowden is listed on the 1891 census as being the Innkeeper there.
    I am also interested in finding out about the Commercial Hotel, where he is listed on the 1871 census as being a publican and farmer. Not sure of the address but the next dwelling on the census is Chapel Lane.
    Many thanks, Dee Donohoe

    1. I'm afraid I haven't got as far as Westhoughton Dee so have very little information to offer.
      The Dog and Pheasant Hotel was at 49, Chorley Road, Westhoughton and looks to have been rebuilt around 1900 after John Bowden was there. There are some records of this at the Bolton Archives and Local Studies Service.

      It is now La Scala Restaurant. Originally was called Dog and Pheasant and was a Greenall Whitley Keg pub, it was then Amigo's and later became the Loose Goose for a short period before becoming La Scala. I have found some directory records on Lancashire Online Parish Clerks website: -

      Tillotsons Directory for Westhoughton 1896 – 1898
      BOWDEN John Publican - Dog & Pheasant 49 Chorley Road

      Directory for Westhoughton 1902 – 1904
      THORNLEY Jas Bleakley Publican Dog & Pheasant Hotel, Chorley Road.

      Commercial Hotel, 222 Church Street, Westhoughton is now a Costcutters.
      Closed and boarded up May 2013, landlord was Philip Murphy and owner Trust Inns. In 1982 it was a Tetley Keg pub.

      I would go into your local library and access copies of the local commercial and trade directories, which will provide details of the different publicans down the years, particularly for the 1800's and give you a idea of how old the two pubs were.Good luck with your research.

    2. Just to let you know, the publican of the Dog and Pheasant in 1902 was James Bleakley Thornley - I think there's a misreading of the original document. He was my great great uncle.


  4. On the 1861 Census a Richard Marsden aged 35 was an Inn keeper on Chorley Road, Whittle le Woods. There is no name of the establishment. Does anyone know what its name was?

    1. It was the Bay Horse...there's a bit more information on the Bay Horse page on the blog.

  5. Dear Richard, If you actually look at the hand written census data for 1851 you will see that the publican of the Red Lion Inn at Euxton, near Chorley, was John Birchby (not Birchley) and his brother whose family is listed below is James Birchby. (James and his wife Anne were buried at the Chapel of Ease at Exuton.) Cheers, Jane, Canberra

  6. Richard are you still collecting information on the Chorley pubs, my Great Great Grandfather was Robert Hebden publican of the Fazackerley Arms and I have some photos you may be interested in?