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Penwortham - Fleece Inn

Name: The Fleece Inn

Address: 39, Liverpool Road, Penwortham

1910 Fleece Inn Sepia postcard RP-PPC by G. Cross-Image courtesy of Jenny Foster
The Fleece Inn dates back to the 1700s and is the oldest surviving Inn in Penwortham.  Back in the 18th and 19th centuries it shared business on the main thoroughfare with the Farington Arms Inn, which was only a stone's throw up the road towards Preston, on the junction with Cop Lane adjacent to the water tower but this premises has long-since gone and was demolished sometime in the later 1800s.

The Fleece Inn
The Fleece Inn with cottage and workshop attached to the west: Grade II Listed Building of 18th Century origin that were characteristic of the area, called Penwortham End. The building is constructed in brick, with roughcast cream render and has been altered significantly over time. The roof is slated with a gable chimney and three ridge chimneys. The cottage has a central door and two sash windows with glazing bars on each floor. The Workshop has a square window with glazing bars at the first floor, three altered windows and at the back a wagon door with wooden lintel and slightly arched brick head. The cottage is two-storeys with a black painted cement quoin patterns at the left end to the main door, which is in the second bay. The Inn has five three-light casements on each floor, those at the left end set higher and having a gabled dormer. All have painted cement surrounds, with wavy heads at the ground floor. The rear of the cottage has a board door, a square window next to it, and a two light sliding sash at the first floor. The rear of the inn has various modern extensions. The interior of the Inn and its roof are entirely modernised, except for one ovolo moulded beam in the cellar.
(thanks to South Ribble Council Conservation Area report 2013)

1824 Baines Directory
The earliest recorded landlord at the Fleece was John Eccles. He was a Blacksmith by trade as many Innkeepers were at this time, the main mode of travel being driven by horses. 
1818 Baptismal Record for his son,John Eccles Jnr
By the 1835 register he had moved on and was living at Mill Hill Farm. His son John followed in his father's trade but did not take over at the Fleece. John's successor was William Mossman, a Scotsman who moved down to Penwortham with his wife and family. Sadly his wife died in 1845 and he then relocated to smaller premises, the Plough Inn on Pope Lane. 
1835 Electoral Register - William Mossman

1842 Map of Penwortham End
Listed landlords at the Fleece Inn were John Eccles (1818-24), William Mossman (1834-45), Thomas Carlisle (1851-54), Edmund Norris (1861), William Sutton (1865-1896), Martha Jane Sutton (1896-1916), James Sutton (1916-30) and William R Strickland (1952).
1834 Pigot's Directory

1841 Census William Mossman
A Richard Breakell can be seen living next door to William Mossman on the enumerator's route in 1841; he was the landlord of the Farington Arms Inn. Following William's departure Thomas Carlisle, a farmer from Howick had taken over behind the bar by the 1851 census.

1851 Census - Thomas Carlisle

1854 Mannex Directory

1861 Census - Edmund Norris
Next door on the enumerator's route to The Fleece Inn was the Farrington Arms, ran by Hugh Breakell (son of Richard, the previous landlord).

Oak Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows met at their lodge rooms, the Farington Arms Inn and the Fleece Inn, Penwortham, for the purpose of having their annual procession.
11 June 1864 - Preston Chronicle - Preston, Lancashire, England

The Fleece, like many Inns in the 19th century was used for a multitude of events and really was a public house in the truest sense of the word, playing host to auctions, Coroner's Inquests, and meetings of local societies such as the Oddfellows and Sick and Benefit Society to name but a few.

Dark Bay PONY, middle age, about 12 hands high. The owner may have the same by applying at Mr. Wm. Sutton's, Fleece Inn, Penwortham, and paying all expenses. If not claimed within 14 days from this date, it will be sold to defray expenses—Penwortham
23 December 1865 - Preston Herald - Preston, Lancashire, England

1869 Slater's Directory
Prior to taking on the Fleece, William Sutton had run the Black Horse in Much Hoole and following his arrival the Sutton family were to run the Inn for the next 65+ years. Like his predecessors William was both Innkeeper and a Farmer.

c.2020 Rear of the workshop at the Fleece
Railway Accident near the Preston Station.
He was member of the Sick and Benefit Society held at the house of Mr. Sutton, the Fleece Inn, Penwortham, many years ago, but some peculiar circumstances arose...
16 October 1869 - Preston Herald - Preston, Lancashire, England

1871 Census - William Sutton

1881 Census William Sutton
The coroner, Mr. W. Gilbertson held an inquest at the Fleece Inn, Penwortham, touching the death of Peter Green, gamekeeper, who died from the after effects of a dog bite.
26 March 1881 - Preston Chronicle - Preston, Lancashire, England

Marriage: 5 Sep 1882 St Mary, Penwortham, Lancashire, England
Frederick Richard Ford - 26 Trap maker Bachelor of Whittingham
Mary Sutton - 27 Spinster of Penwortham
    Groom's Father: William Ford, Trap maker
    Bride's Father: William Sutton, Inn keeper
    Witness: Edward James Ford; Susanna Sutton
    Married by Banns by: W. E. Rawstorne
    Register: Marriages 1857 - 1885, Page 228, Entry 455
Source: LDS Film 1526058

Marriage: 1 Jul 1885 St Mary, Penwortham, Lancashire, England
Richard Sutton - 25 Farmer Bachelor of Penwortham
Sarah Elizabeth Price - 26 Domestic Servant Spinster of Penwortham
    Groom's Father: William Sutton, Inn keeper
    Bride's Father: James Price, Pipe maker
    Witness: John Harrison; Martha Jane Sutton
    Married by banns by: Geo. Bladen Curate
    Register: Marriages 1857 - 1885, Page 249, Entry 497
    Source: LDS Film 1526058

1891 Census William Sutton
 At Three o’clock in the afternoon, the following FREEHOLD PROPERTY in Penwortham
Lot 1. The FLEECE INN, Penwortham. A fully licensed and free Public-house on the south side the Liverpool road, with Land adjoining.
30 May 1891 - Preston Herald - Preston, Lancashire, England

By 1891 William was nearing 70 years of age and the day to day effort of running a busy public house was clearly beginning to take its toll and the business was put up for auction as the records above attests albeit the business did not change hands at this point.
1892 Map

1896 Burial William Sutton
Following William's death in 1896 his daughter Martha Jane Sutton then continued to run the pub until the middle of WW1 when she died. 

1896 Probate William Sutton
As shown on the Probate record above William's son, James Henry Sutton worked as an Innkeeper (beerseller) and was running the Earnshaw Bridge Inn in Leyland at the time of his father's death. His son, James Sutton took over at the Earnshaw Bridge from his father and later moved back to the Fleece shortly after 1911 to take over from his aunt, Martha Jane Sutton.

1901 Census - Martha Jane Sutton

1905 Kelly's Directory
Important Licensing Point - Martha Jane Sutton, licensee of the Fleece Inn, Penwortham was summoned for selling intoxicating liquor to child under fourteen years of age. Sergeant Dumbill stated that about...
13 April 1907 - Preston Herald - Preston, Lancashire, England
1909 Map

1911 Martha Jane Sutton
1916 Probate - Martha Sutton

1917 Directory

1924 Kelly's Directory
 Penwortham Agricultural Show ground from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on August 22nd was granted—James Sutton, of the Fleece Inn, Penwortham, was granted an extension of hours from 10 a.m. to 11 30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. on August 22nd.
10 August 1925 - Lancashire Evening Post - Preston, Lancashire, England
1930 Probate James Sutton

Application was made to sell liquor on the field during the Show on August 20. Mr. William R. Strickland of the Fleece Inn, Penwortham, made the application Chief Superintendent F. Hogg pointed out, “The boundary line runs through the field"... 
18 July 1952 - Lancaster Guardian - Lancaster, Lancashire, England 

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