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Rivington - Black-a-Moor's Head

Name: The Black-a-Moor's Head Inn

Address: Horrobin Lane, Rivington

The Black-a-Moor's Head Hotel built c.1850

The Black-a-Moor's Head was the village Inn and centre of social activities in Rivington from the early 17th century onwards.  The above photo is not the original building but one built c.1850 after the original was bought under a compulsory purchase order to allow for the the construction of the reservoir; this replacement was built with compensation monies from Liverpool Corporation, and was sited near Rivington Church.  The original building was located slightly lower down and was covered by the reservoir, the new build being erected on what it is now the car park next to the village bowling green, once part of the Black-a-Moor's Head as the signage above suggests.

The earliest formal reference to the hotel was on the 1824 Gazeteer when Rivington formed part of the village directory of Bolton parish and the image below shows the landlord at that time was a James Brownlow. 

1824 Gazeteer

James Brownlow (aka Bromilow) was named in the following Lancashire verse: -

T' Folk reawnd eawr place
One Tommy Taylor lived at Dean Head Lone,
He'd a shop full o' weyvers, eawr Harry an' Joan,
Eawr Nancy un Meg are nice wenches too,
He'd a keaw un a kawve, un an owd breeding sow.
Derry Down, Derry Down,
Down Down Derry.

Un Jon Taylor lived at Butter Cross,
He'd a sad scolding wife, un a chilt ut were cross,
His looms eawt o' square, his yarn pieced crook't,
Made Jack ill-tempered, sit sulking i' th' nook.
Derry Down, Derry Down,
Down Down Derry.

Up comes Roger Garret, wi' his long sneawt,
Doing his best to put Whittaker eawt,
He'd a Unitarian ready to put in his place,
To come to eawr chapel t' pretch un se grace.
Derry Down, Derry Down,
Down Down Derry.

There was one Jemmy Bromilow lives at t' Black Lad,
He'd a sad scolding wife, un a chilt very bad,
If he'll brew good ale, he'll ne'er need to fear,
We're aw jolly fellows at caws on him theer.
Derry Down, Derry Down,
Down Down Derry.

There's one Willoughby Fisher, lives at Mill Hill,
He's bun apprentice to driving a quill,
His conduct wor bad, un his wit, it wor scarce,
He giv' up being 'torney in this very place.
Derry Down, Derry Down,

Down Down Derry.

James was born in Rivington around 1778 and lived in Rivington all his life.  He married Ann Hopwood on 12th May 1813 at St Peter's Church, Bolton-Le-Moors and they had one son, James.  He was no longer at the Inn by the time of the 1841 census but is recorded on the 1841 and 1851 censuses in Rivington working as a Banksman at the coal pit (1841) and labourer in the brick works at the age of 73 yrs (1851). 

1841 Census

Records suggest he died in 1860 the below excerpt taken from the index of death duties in 1861 where his son James was recorded as the executor.

By the time of the 1841 census the landlord was a Bennett Lowe (1841-51) and later records confirm the landlords were John Jones (1861-71), John & Ann Gerrard (1881-1890), Joseph Howarth (1891) and finally Robert H Patterson (1901).

Bolton Chronicle 30 January 1841

1841 Census

OS Map from 1848

Painting of the original building c.1843

1851 Census

Bolton Chronicle 06 June 1857

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 30 April 1859

1861 Census

About Rivington: A Description of one of the prettiest Villages in Lancashire written by John Rawlinson (Horwich 1969)

Leaving the school and going a little way along the road, on the other side we come to the entrance to Rivington Village Club, now a small establishment with a good bowling green which is very well patronised in the summer. From 1850 to 1903 the front here was the site of the Black-a-Moor's Head, locally termed T' Black Lad, a very popular hostelry where the village organizations held their meetings, and parties of visitors were catered for all through the year. The bowling green now used by the members of the village club was then belonging to the inn.
The original site of the inn was just inside the reservoir wall on the north side of Dean Brook, which, going under the road, connects the large pool known as the Breeding Pond with Upper Rivington Reservoir. This village inn was a very old institution going back long before the sale of the manor in 1611, when it was described as a fair inn with a fair new barn, stables and other necessary buildings. A rent of 15/- per annum was paid to the manor and four days shearing were due. The stone effigy of the Black-a-Moor's Head was saved when the inn was dismantled and built into the gable of the barn which belonged to New Hall farm, and is situated across the field to the east of the church, where it can still be seen.

1871 Census

1881 Census

Chorley Standard and District Advertiser 31 March 1883

Chorley Standard and District Advertiser 14 April 1883

Following John Gerrard's death in 1883 his wife Annie ran the business for a period up to 1891.

Annie Gerrard c.1890 from Rivington by M.D. Smith

1891 Census

1901 Census

Lancashire Evening Post 07 August 1901

Ironically it was the reservoirs that brought to an end the second Black-a-Moor's Head due to pollution of the drinking water from the septic tanks. Records show that in 1900 the Liverpool Corporation attempted to acquire the entire area to safeguard its water supply, and proposed to demolish the entire village. Some buildings were protected and others left vulnerable in an Act of Parliament known as the Liverpool Corporation Act 1902. This allowed the corporation to acquire by compulsory purchase properties in the west of the village, including the Black-a-Moor's Head public house and the New Hall, which were demolished between 1902 and 1905. 

Further detailed history of the reservoirs and fate of the Black-a-Moor's Head can be seen in the following newspaper article and to an article published on Goggle books: -


Site of the Hotel 2009 Google Maps

Rivington is a well researched area of Lancashire and this page of my blog would not have been possible without the endeavours of local historians such as Malcolm Smith and John Rawlinson to whom I am indebted.

1 comment:

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