History of the Village of Stoney Middleton

By Thomas E. Cowen (1910)

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2003

History of the Village of Stoney MiddletonTHE HOSTELRIES


In a list of Alehouses, Innes, and Taverns of Derbyshire in 1577, made by Sir Frances Leek, Knight, Justice of Peace, the names of Thomas Barber, William Hill, Uxor Nicholai Haslam occur, and it is mentioned that there were two ale-houses in Stoney Middleton.

THE OLD MOON INN stood near the Post Office premises. In the old coaching days this inn was the principal posting station, where horses were changed on the way from Manchester to Sheffield. At one time there was no station nearer than Whaley Bridge or Chesterfield, so a chaise carriage with postillion was always available at this hostelry. This was the chief inn where soldiers were billeted when on

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the march to and from Manchester. The old bugle was blown by a relative of the late Jonathan Hallam in the stage coach days at Stoney Middleton. It was to be seen recently at Mr. Froggatt's shop at Eyam. It was in the out premises of this house that a Scotch pedlar was murdered, unknown to the landlord, and afterwards taken on horseback into the cavern at Cael's Wark, in Middleton Dale, where the remains were found some 20 years lager, as stated in the “Tales and Traditions of the Peak”. At one time the house was kept by George Booth who afterwards went up to Highfield Farm. The license was transferred about 1842 to the present MOON INN, and William Moseley was the first who held the license. This was formerly the Dower House of the Shuttleworth's, and the Rev. Urban Smith lived there before the Vicarage was built in 1836.

THE SUN INN was a public-house opposite Verandah Cottage in 1857, and kept by John Lancake, who was also a silk weaver.

THE STAG'S HEAD once stood between Sharman's shop and the Cross. The building was demolished when the new road was made, and the license transferred to premises now known as the Stag's Head up High Street. The old building was kept by Mrs. Hallam, an ancestor of the present licensee. She had to cross the yard to supply customers with refreshment, and needed a lantern on a dark night. George Gregory borrowed the lantern, but forgot to return it. At night Mrs. Hallam sent the following note to the offender:-

“Joshua Gregory my old friend, to thee a lantern I did lend.
Ou' the d---l dost thou think that I can go afilling drink,
For neets are dark and roads are bad, I really think thou must be mad.”=> More on “Mrs HALLAM”...

THE ROYAL OAK INN formerly stood in the portion at present occupied by the kitchen end.

About the middle of April, A.D. 1758, the villagers were surprised very early in the morning by the arrival apparently in great speed of a tall young man and a fair damsel, richly attired. They dismounted, and the young man performed the office of hostler, and then went in to breakfast.

The adopted names of the visitors were “Allan” and “Clara”. The hostess discovered that they were lovers intent

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on reaching the Peak Forest, there to tie the nuptial knot. After luncheon they remounted their horses, and were quickly out of sight. They were murdered by five miners in the Winnats, near Castleton. The saddle belonging to the horse ridden by Clara was kept for many years in the Royal Oak. It was bought at a sale of articles from the museum of the late Thomas Bateman, Middleton, near Youlgreave, and is now to be found in the Peak Cavern Museum. This is given in detail in “Tales and Traditions of the Peak”.

There was formerly bull baiting and bear baiting in the Royal Oak yard, and some of the older residents remember seeing the ring about a yard or so from the corner of the present premises. Mr W. Birks, the first school-master of the National School, lived in a house at the front of this licensed house, and his wife kept a small girls' school there.

THE MINERS' ARMS stood back from the road near the present police station. It was kept by Joseph Pursglove in 1857.

THE LOVERS' LEAP INN is a neat and commodious house closely nestling under the rock of the same name, and renowned for the exploits of Hannah Baddeley in 1762. It was kept for many years by Mr. Samuel Mason, who in conversation told many stories of bye-gone days. When all the lime-kilns were in full swing, day after day 40 or 50 carters were to be seen waiting their turn to be supplied, as early as four and five o'clock in the morning. The carts came down from a wide district, Barlow, Brampton, Chesterfield, and Holymoorside being always represented. Many a battle royal was fought by the carters during their long wait. All this has changed, and the industry has disappeared with the exception of Mr. Henry Goddard's kiln.

Modern Footnote [1]
THE STAG'S HEAD [which] once stood between Sharman's shop and the Cross...
(By Rosemary Lockie, compiled with the research assistance of Glenn Trezza, PhD)

The observant amongst you will notice that Cowen's anecdote relating to the said establishment refers to a George GREGORY in the text, but his verse, attributed to its landlady Mrs HALLAM, names the gentleman as Joshua! The HALLAMs were indeed long-time landlords of The Stag, but its first official landlady (recorded in Pigot's Directory of 1821-2), was in fact Mary TOWNSEND. She inherited the premises from her second husband Joshua when he died in 1809. Mary (née SKIDMORE) had been married previously to a John HALLAM, who died in 1779; but after her death in 1831, the Inn is believed to have passed to her grandson, another John HALLAM, followed in turn by his sons, Frederick Stockdale and Peter John. It was not until Peter John's death in 1911 that the establishment had (officially) another landlady in charge - Peter John's widow, Mary, formerly HANCOCK, née GODDARD.

At the time of Cowen's publication (1910), Peter John HALLAM would have been the licensee, so it seems likely, to qualify as an ancestor (and not a mother, or a wife) the subject of the anecdote would have been Mary TOWNSEND. Mary's daughter, also Mary TOWNSEND had married a Joshua GREGORY at Eyam in 1803, so she could indeed have had a “friend” in Joshua GREGORY, her son-in-law, or perhaps, more likely, in his father, also Joshua.

End of Chapter X: => THE DALE

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in February 2003.

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