History of The Bulls Head, Davenham

Written by Tony Bostock

The Bull’s Head Inn has a long history. Although it is first noticed in the mid-eighteenth century when John Royle was the licensee, it likely that its origins go back much further. In conjunction with the inn, the publican also had access to the three large fields at the rear of the Bulls Head. John’s daughter Hannah married Abel Trim, a man from Witton parish, in November 1782. In 1783 the property transferred to Abel Trim. He and his wife had several children baptised at St Wilfrid’s: Hannah, George, John, Abel, Richard and Mary Royle, between 1783 and 1795. Following his death in December 1805 his widow Hannah continued with the business along with their son John who eventually took over in 1809. John and Elizabeth (nee Jackson) had a number of children baptised at Davenham church between 1808 and 1814: Abel, John Royle, Anne, and Elizabeth. When John died in September 1815 Elizabeth ran the inn until she married William Brereton in May 1821.


During the 1820s the inn had a number of outbuildings which included a malt kiln, brewhouse, warehouse, cart-house and stables and were clearly brewing their own beer. It seems that William and Elizabeth Brereton ran the inn, whilst brother-in-law George Trim worked next door as a malster – breing and dealing malt: he had married Francis Chatterton and died aged forty-three in 1831. The Trim family also owned fifteen houses and cottages in the village, principally a block of property along he south side of Church Street, including those occupied by George and Hannah. Hannah Trim died in 1823 aged sixty-eight. Her will, which makes interesting reading, survives but does not refer to disposing of the Bull’s Head which had presumably been fully transferred to William Brereton by this time. First of all she mentions her brother-in-law Thomas Dobell who was bequeathed a debt of £100. Her daughter Mary Royle Trim was given a house and a pew in the ‘chancel part of the middle aisle’ in Davenham church. Two trustees were appointed to oversee the transfer of remaining property to her son George which included the house in which George was then living, the croft adjoining it and the ‘Further Croft’ (in all about four acres), the malt kiln, ‘the Coke House’, the garden beside the malt kiln, a room over the passage between the kiln and a cottage occupied by Charles Pennington which he was also given. Mention is made of two messuages with ‘shoreings’ at each end occupied by Peter Burgess and Ralph Birkenhead, with their yards and gardens which were bequeathed to Mary Royle Trim. She also had the following: cottages occupied by William Hodkinson, widow Boden, Samuel Dewsbury, James Kettle, John Dutton and Thomas Buckley. Another two more cottages were said to adjoin the north end of the Bull’s Head, which were occupied by John Dean and Mary Golden. And a further two cottages, held by George Shaw and John Whitlow, that stood along the east side of the ‘Turnpike Road’ (London Road). Son Abel Trim had £450 given to him and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Brereton had three fields: ‘Further Croft’, ‘Near Croft’, and ‘Upper’ or ‘Bigger Croft’, in all about four acres.


Between 1821 and 1831 William and Elizabeth Brereton kept the inn until followed by Thomas Fairhurst. The next publican was John Teather (1839-57) a man who was born in Lincolnshire but married to a lady from Daresbury. In the tithe survey and map of 1838 Teather is recorded as occupying the inn along with the garden and croft immediately behind, an outbuilding at the southern end of a terraced block along London Road, and two meadows of almost four acres, all of which he leased from Abel Trim. According to the 1841 census Teather was aged forty-seven and his wife two years younger; they had both a male and female servant working and living with them. Elizabeth Teather continued after her husband’s death in April 1859 until 1864. The tithe survey also indicates the extent of the Trim property and the dwellings in which Mary Royle Trim and her sister-in-law Frances (widow of George) resided (see Figure One below). Despite the fortunes of the Trim family it is interesting to note that in 1841 Frances Trim was described as a ‘pauper’ meaning that she was living on the parish poor relief: she resided with her son John, aged twenty and employed as a ‘druggist’; Mary, aged sixteen and employed as school mistress; Richard, a seventeen years old brick setter; twelve years old Henry, and ten years old Ellen.


The following table of other licencees is taken from MacGregor, A.J., The Licensees of the
Public Houses of Vale Royal (1990)


Richard Forster 1869-71
Hilda Allen 1937-40
Thomas Illingworth 1870s
Eli Eyres 1940-75
Thomas Cotterill 1870s
David Barker 1975-84
George Plowright 1881-88
David Walker 1984-86
Thomas Wood 1890-91
Richard Johns 1986-87
John Vost 1890s
Brian Brady 1987-88
George Latimer 1900-03
Amanda Carroll 1988-89
Thomas Platt 1903-36
Thomas Aspinall 1989
Reginald Allen 1936-37

 

Visit: tonybostock.com for more local historical papers