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What do you know about the King William pub?

Hi Andrew
CAN you please find any information about a public

house in Nantwich called the King William?
BOB ELLIS, Nantwich                     
MARCH 2015


Andrew replied:

Hello Bob,
  I'm afraid that I am completely baffled by this query. I have not come across any Nantwich public house of

that name, but it was not uncommon to change a pub name, particularly with a change of owner.



THEN Andrew did some further research and found a newspaper cutting from around 1850 which referred to the King William pub. It is a long article and sometimes it is hard to read, but the following are excerpts from that article.

   “The Barrister General with whom was Ms. Trafford, stated the case. The prosecutor stated that he and the prisoner had been drinking at the King William public house in Nantwich, on the 19th of December last.

    "The prosecutor, on his way home, was struck on the head and knocked down with a stick or some bludgeon. In falling, he recognised the prisoner standing two or three yards from him.


    "It appeared by his statement that he was not sober at the time: and that he had had a quarrel with the prisoner about two years since. In cross-examination he said that the prisoner had a whip with him when at the King William: that he called the prisoner to come with him as he was staying behind.

   "The prisoner was drunk, also was not in the habit of fighting pitched battles.

   "Examined by the Judge – fought with the prisoner three years since over which was the best man: and witness happened to beat him: they had several pints of ale together before they went to the King William. Mrs Hamnit, keeper of the King William, said the parties lighted their pipes at her house: the prosecutor lit first and followed by the prisoner. Oxley had a whip but he left it with the witness: the parties had three pints of ale together at her house."


   "James Simpson, who apprehended the prisoner Jones on the 13th day of November: and on taking the prisoner to the lock-ups he said that when he left the public house with Newton, they quarrelled about……..that the prosecutor struck him and they fought seven or eight rounds: that they fell down against the gate and if the prosecutor was hurt it was then.


Andrew commented:  

From the information above it is possible to narrow down the possibilities of where it was.

   The most important clue is the landlady’s name which is Mrs Hamnett. A quick consultation of MacGregor (see footnote) leads to three Hamnetts as licensees, two at the Talbot in Beam Street but really too early  (1774 to 1777) for the above newspaper article and the other is John Hamnett at the Lingard Arms in 1860. Another clue is the reference to the "lock-ups” which refers to the round house on Snow Hill. This would put it before the Constabulary building in Welsh Row which opened c1865. So all things so far point to the Lingard Arms in Beam Street, next to the Nag’s Head opposite the end of Pepper Street.


Andrew added:

The most recent change in name for a Nantwich

pub is the Talbot in Oat Market. For over 200 years it was the Talbot before it changed to Bowlers, then the more well-known Frog and Ferret.


Footnote: Dr A.J.MacGregor wrote a booklet called "Inns and Innkeepers in Nantwich"   


Pub reverts to its former name | Seeking information about Lingard Arms 


Does explorer's childhood home still stand?


I'M contacting you to ask if you know of a house called Parkfield in Nantwich? This was the childhood home of John Hornby who was an Arctic explorer.

   He died with Edgar Christian (of Bron Dirion, Gwynedd) at Hornby Point on the Thelon River, Barren Lands, Canada, in 1927.

   I have visited Bron Dirion already and wonder if Parkfields is still standing.

GARETH FOULKES                     MARCH 2015


Andrew replies


I can confirm that Parkfield is not standing, having been demolished some 40 years ago.

   Of course, John Hornby had a famous father, A.N.Hornby, the cricketer, who was nicknamed “Monkey” because of his small but wiry stature.

   There is a brass plaque in Nantwich Parish Church in memory of John Hornby.


Picture: The plaque in the south transept of St Mary's Parish Church, Nantwich, reads:

This tablet is given to the memory of John Hornby, M.C., aged 48 years, an intrepid explorer who on July 21st, 1927, was found dead on the bank of the Thelon River in Northern Canada with two companions, Harold Adelard, aged 27 years, and Edgar Christian, aged 18 years. R.I.P. 



lRead more about Parkfield House here

lRead here about a one-act play based on Edgar Christian's diary


How town has changed where the old shop was situated

The shop at 3 Millstone Lane, now demolished, when it was James Ashley's family butcher’s. Pictured in 1885, it appeared in Andrew's book, “Lost Houses in Nantwich.”

I WAS just looking at the Dabber’s Nantwich website and reading through the old Nantwich pictures.

    I noticed that on the page Old Pix 6 my uncle, Les Heath, gets a mention, I knew he had a second hand shop in Nantwich but was never sure exactly where. He  later moved it to Whitchurch where he later lived.

   Sadly he passed away in the 1990s after a short illness, but it’s nice to see he was remembered on the website. Many thanks,

PAUL HEATH                                   JANUARY 2015


Andrew replies

Hello Paul,

   Thank you for your kind words.

   Yes, Les had a second-hand shop, firstly at the end of Millstone Lane at Crewe Road end and then later moved premises to a shop in Beam Street, also now demolished but roughly where the Fire Station is now.

   I stand to be corrected by eagle–eyed Dabbers!



Paul wrote

Hi Andrew,

Many thanks for your response and for the information


about my uncle, Les. It’s strange to think how that part of the town, as well as others, has pretty much completely changed in that time as you'd never know there had ever been any shop where the fire station is now.
   There’s one other question I would like to ask. As I lived on the Millfields estate for quite a few years from 1987 to 2002, namely Blagg Avenue (my mum still lives there), do you know any history of that estate at all as in when it was built, and what if anything may have been there before it?


Back to Andrew

Hello again Paul,

   Firstly, the shop at the end of Millstone Lane has also been demolished so there is no trace of it now. All I have is a photo of the shop when it was a butcher’s over a hundred years ago and I put it in my book, “Lost Houses in Nantwich.”

   Secondly, yes I can tell you about the Millfields

estate. In the mid 1950s I was friendly with a lad called John Boyes who lived in Millfields.

   His father, I found out some 20 years later, turned


out to be the Manager of Trufoods factory at Wrenbury.

   I can remember seeing display cases in the house of pinned butterflies and moths. That was obviously his hobby.

   Anyway, John and I used to play in the fields opposite his house and the houses were just starting to be built then. Before then it was all fields, apart from one farm called Cope’s Farm and now called Fields Farm.

   They are now starting to build more houses on the fields belonging to the farm behind Queen’s Drive. Of course, Queen’s Drive was built in 1953, commemorating the Queen’s accession to the throne, hence the name.

   Blagg Avenue was named after Joe Blagg, the local councillor.

   It would be great to see one of the new roads being named after local Conservative councillor, Tom Holman, who worked tirelessly on behalf of the town for a long, long time. He lived in Millfields.



Lost Houses in Nantwich

The sales rep who lived in one of the town's mansions

Hi Andrew.

IN the early 1950s I worked as a sales rep for F. H. Burgess Ltd and lived in Whitehall, Welsh Row.  F H Burgess was knocked down so Burgesses could use the space to display farm implements.

   I have not got a photograph of Whitehall, nor can I find one on this very comprehensive web site, or in any books on Nantwich. There are pictures of the opposite side of Welsh Row.

   The black and white front, I was told, was only put up in Victorian times, I was also told that during the war there were stone statues in front of the building but the Americans stationed locally knocked them about after a Christmas booze up.

   Have you any history about Whitehall? 


Albert Roderick                      NOVEMBER 2014


Andrew replies 

YES, I do have details regarding the history of Whitehall.

   I found it to be one of the most interesting and intriguing buildings in the town. It was a great shame that it was demolished as it was one of the earliest mansions in the town and may well have dated to Tudor times.

   It was the home and main residence of the Wettenhall family for 300 years from around 1500. The Wettenhalls had a long and close association in the town affairs during that period.

   It went through a variety of owners after then. It was the Liberal headquarters for the town in 1896. Around then it came into the possession of the Bayliss family who had an antiques business there until the early 1950s when it was sold to F.H.Burgess.

   In my book “Lost Houses in Nantwich” I give a fuller description of the owners and there is also a brief description of the interior of the building.

   On the right are two photos of the building. The top one was taken in the 1930s when the antiques business was in full swing and shows the statues you mention.

   The other was taken just prior to the demolition of the building.

   I would be interested to hear of any recollections you have, particularly of the interior of the building.


Albert replied

WHITEHALL was my first house in the early '50s at a rent of 10 shillings a week. The house came with my job.  I complained  when the council put the rates up to 17 shillings and six pence (88p), which I also had to pay.

   I tried to get it reduced as a listed building but they checked and said it was not a listed building.

   My recollections include:

l The stairs were polished oak about five feet wide and a real sight to behold.

l All the floors were solid oak boards.

l In the left-hand part of the building, which stands out, was the manager of Burgess's seed house.

l We had an AGA cooker which was top of the


range in those days.

l The heating was only an open coal fire in the room at the back.

l One Sunday morning we got up to find the room thick with smoke, so we closed the door and phoned the fire brigade. To hear the fire siren sounding and coming to your house is a funny feeling The firemen found no flames. It was caused by a gap between fire ash tray and the hearth surround. They showed me the glowing embers about a foot inside the oak beam the fire place


was built on and told me it had been burning for a long time.

   The manager who lived next door was also the person I had my house insurance with, so I was covered for smoke damage.

   Thanks again, Andrew

   PS: I will have to get your book - it looks really interesting. 


Burgess's farm implements depot - and what's there now

I helped to construct the 'Secret Bunker' at RAF Hack Green


I RECALL the construction of the so-called  “secret bunker” at RAF Hack Green.

    I took a civil engineering degree at Manchester University. As my parents lived at the School House, Sound, I was fortunate to live just across the fields from the RAF radar station and was able to work on the construction of the building during my summer vacation in 1952.

Michael Lloyd                    NOVEMBER 2014


Andrew replied:

That’s interesting, Michael.

   My book, “Lost Buildings around Nantwich”, has some information and photographs from the Hack Green site.

   I understand that the building you refer to was part of the 1950 Rotor plan requiring the building of 25 Ground Control Interceptor stations nationwide. Eleven were housed underground while the other 14 were semi-submerged as this one was.

   It was a type R6 and this same type was used in four other locations. The main contractors were Humphreys and accounts suggest that the building work was considerably behind schedule.

   As you probably know, the original bunker was extensively refurbished in the late 1970s to allow it to be used as a Regional Government Headquarters and it is as you see it today.


Michael replied:

Yes, Humphreys were the contractor and I was paid £4 a week!  At the time they were


Andrew writes: This is the old "secret bunker" building - taken in the 1960s, judging by the car! The guard house (right) was later demolished.

constructing the upper half above ground level. I nearly caused a strike because I used a hammer to adjust some reinforcement when I was marking out positions for pipe connectors.

   The joiners said they were the trade to use hammers so a joiner accompanied me while I continued my work.


  There was also a problem when the contractor started to use metal formwork and not employ joiners to fix it!

l AT the same time as writing about RAF Hack Green, Michael sent a comment about the crash of the American plane in Nantwich during the Second World War. It appears in this special article by Andrew.