WHITE LION AND THE GUERNING DOG
END, WADSWORTH MILL
White Lion story begins with an older pub of the same name known
to all and sundry as the Guerning Dog, a nickname it acquired when
the inn sign was painted, and it was such a poor replica of a lion
that it became known as the grinning dog and then by local dialect
the Guerning Dog.
Guerning Dog was owned by the Fieldens of Swineshead and was later
passed on to the Fieldens of Allescholes. In 1795 the owner of the
property was James Baron and John Howarth occupied it.
was situated at the bottom of Butcher Hill and at the turn of the
century Martin Mitchell became the landlord and stayed until he
built his own pub in 1832 on the opposite side of the road, and
named it the Greyhound.
Baron owned the Guerning Dog property after his brother James had
died and he in turn left the property to his nephew Samuel Baron
Fielden, son of the aforementioned James Baron. Samuel carried on
in competition with the Greyhound until he decided to build a new
pub next door to the Greyhound on Rochdale Road, some time after
1832, and he transferred the licence from the Guerning Dog to this
made him decide to do this is a mystery. Two pubs side by side you
would think would be detrimental, but they each survived well into
the 20th century. Samuel named his new pub after the original, and
the sign must have met with approval as from then on it was always
referred to by it rightful name of The White Lion.
daughter Mary Baron Fielden inherited the old Guerning Dog property
and married James Crossley, a butcher who carried on his trade at
Cheapside. He demolished the property, built a brand new butchers
shop in its place, and by 1851 had installed two brothers, John
and James Ashworth, as tenants. James Ashworth had been an established
butcher at Gauxholme before he moved to these new premises. He stayed
until after 1861 by which time he had removed his trade to Wharf
Street at Hollins and had he had retired by 1881.
Dog Bridge at Bridge End
Nothing remains of the old
Guerning Dog property apart from the name, which still lives
on in the bridge at the bottom of Butcher Hill, still mentioned
by that name on OS maps. This photo is of the area today.
Halstead from Erringden seems to have been the first landlord of
the new White Lion and his wife Sally and family of four in 1841
ably assisted him. He had left the trade by 1848 and became a butcher
at Dobroyd. He died in 1857.
is possible that William had left the pub earlier than 1845 and
that Martin Mitchell of the Greyhound was running both pubs, as
he was reported to have died there in 1845 by a young woman who
kept a diary of events of the time.
young married man by the name of Samuel Mitchell, possibly a relative
of Martin's, had taken over the running of the pub by 1848 and one
particular event in that year, in the form of a wedding party in
November 1848, must have attracted quite a bit of attention.
Gledhill of Swineshead Clough and his bride Martha held the ceremony
at St. Peter's, in Walsden, and from there the wedding party processed
with 9 asses, 2 horses and a carriage to Littleborough for a jollification.
on that day they returned home and finished off the proceedings
at the White Lion. No doubt a merry time was had by all and
the sight of the procession must have caused quite a stir
as it passed by. The newly weds went to live Gauxholme Stones
where Stephen carried on his trade of stripper and grinder.
Mitchell and his wife Sally ran the pub until his untimely death
in1850 leaving Sally a widow at only 32 with two young daughters
aged 6 and 3 to bring up. She had help in the form of Christiana
Bepler, who hailed from Frankfurt, Germany and who was to later
gain a sort of notoriety, which you can read in the Woodpecker story
also took in lodgers to supplement her income and Josiah and David
Smith were both boarding there in 1851.
is debatable as to whether or not Sally left the White Lion after
the death of her husband. She is still there in a directory entry
for 1853, which means she was there in 1852 as directories are inevitably
a year out of date when they are published.
entry in a diary of the time states that John Fielden and his wife
of Hollins Lock House moved to the White Lion at Wadsworth Mill
in September 1851. John's father was Samuel Fielden of Scout and
Horsepasture, a well-known chap in the area whose sons nearly all
followed him into the masonry profession. Samuel had married twice,
first to Betty Crabtree and then to Mary Fielden. He and Betty had
two children, the first born being John. Samuel and his second wife
Mary then went on to produce 10 more children.
Fielden married Jane the eldest daughter of Edmund Wrigley of Waterstalls
Mill in 1846, and together they set up home at Hollins Lock House,
with John carrying on his profession as a stonemason. Whatever the
reason for John moving to the White Lion, be it as landlord or just
to take up lodgings, he was also to meet an early end like Samuel
Mitchell before him and he died in 1853 aged just 28. His widow
Jane married again two years later to William Stevenson, the grandson
of Robert Stevenson of Warland Quarry.
Mitchell was the landlady in 1852 when the following event occured at the White Lion:
The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Saturday, October 2, 1852; Issue 6200
Ancient Order of Foresters
The members of this order celebrated their anniversary at the White Lion Inn, Wadsworth Mill, on Tuesday last. About eleven o’clock the principal officers mounted on horseback, and, dressed in the garb of the order, went in procession to Walsden, and thence through Todmorden to Portsmouth, returning to the lodge about four o’clock, where an excellent dinner was provided by the hostess, Mrs. Mitchell. After the cloth was removed, several appropriate speeches were delivered respecting the present and future prospects of the order, and the evening was also enlivened by recitations and songs.
Sally remarried landlady and by 1858 she and her new husband James Horsfall
ran the pub together until she was widowed yet again. James died
in 1868 and Sally was again left on her own and again took over
the responsibility for the White Lion until William Dewhirst replaced
her around 1870.
couple of notable incidents involving the White Lion occurred whilst
James and Sally Horsfall were in charge. The first took place in
late December of 1862 when the body of Anthony Crossley aged 60,
was found in the water by Joseph Turner whilst walking along the
bank of the Rochdale canal at Gauxholme.
was found hatless and coatless and upright in the water.
It must have been a strange sight for Joseph to come upon.
At first Joseph didn't recognise it as a body, and thought
it was a bundle of clothes. When it was established that
it was indeed the body of a man, the process of identifying
him began and it was found that it was one Anthony Crossley.
Anthony was about 60 and was lodging at the time with blacksmith
John Crossley at Gorpley Cottages, and he worked at Gorpley
Mill for the Ormerods.
can be read about this mill HERE
had a wife and five children, but they hadn't lived together for
some time. Anthony was known to be a thief, frequently stealing
fents from the mill where he worked.Maybe this was the rift between
him and his wife and she may have preferred to do without him rather
than put up with his light fingering. At the time of his death he
was known to have at least 30 yards of fents in his possession and
John Crossley, who had found out about them, brought him to task
about the theft. John threatened to tell the Ormerods, Anthony's
employers, about it if he didn't return the stolen goods. On Sunday
evening at 8 o'clock, Anthony left his lodgings and by 10-30 he
was in the White Lion and bought two pennyworth of rum. After that
he was never seen alive again.
the inquest held later that week the verdict of Found Drowned was
brought in as there were no signs of any foul play. He died on the
28 December 1862 and his grave is in the churchyard at St. Peter's.
His estranged wife Martha died a year later and is buried with him.
next incident was the sad case of an attempted suicide. It happened
in July of 1863 when on a Thursday night late in the month, Fielden
Greenwood, aged 23, who lived at Butcher Hill, cut his throat very
deeply. The Greenwoods were a normal working class family with four
children at home, who all had employment in the cotton mill. They
had all returned from the mill, and after they had their tea Fielden's
parents and his three siblings all went out. Left on his own, he
went upstairs, got his father's razor and proceeded to cut his throat
whilst sat on the edge of the bed. One of his younger sisters came
home and found him there, not yet dead, and raised the alarm. Dr.
Sutcliffe was sent for but afforded little hope for a recovery.
Fielden subsequently died from his injuries the following day and
an inquest was held later in the week at the White Lion. Mr. Dearden
recorded a verdict of temporary insanity.
a lighter note, on the 17th of November 1865, a bet was laid between
Mr. W Barraclough and Mr. James Helliwell as to who could cut up
a goose in the shortest time. The contest was held at the White
Lion in front of two dozen invited guests. The contest began and
the winner, James Helliwell, took only 4 minutes to dissect the
bird whilst Mr. Barraclough took 10 minutes. The winnings were spent
on the guests and drinks were ordered all round.
the pub next came in the hands of William Dewhirst who came from
Erringden. William was the son of Luke Dewhirst who had kept beer
houses at Spring Side and Lobb Mill before becoming the licensee
of the Navigation at Gauxholme for a short time and then moved to
Bacup to take over the New Inn on Rochdale Road, where he was to
be found in 1861.
went with the family to Bacup, married and lived there for time,
working as a cotton weaver, before moving back to the Todmorden
area with his wife Alice and son Luke, to take over the running
of the White Lion some time around 1870.
sister Ellen also kept up the family tradition when she married
Samuel Jackson and they became landlords of the York Hotel on York
William had grown up with the trade and obviously had a liking for
beer was evidenced by the fact that in November 1875 he was up before
the petty sessions and fined 10 shillings for being drunk.
widowed mother moved back from Bacup and in 1871 was living
at Lion Street, near to the pub and her son. Lion Street is
still there next to the car park where the White Lion was
died in 1876 aged 41, so again a widow was left at the White Lion.
Alice didn't remain a widow for long as she married again some time
after 1878 to John Butterworth, a man 14 years her junior. John
was also widowed and had two young sons, Fielden and Joseph, when
he married Alice.
Butterworth and his first wife Sarah Ann Fielden had started their
married life living at Meadow Bottom, Stansfield, with Sarah Ann's
widowed aunt, Sarah Stell. The Stells, Benjamin and Sarah, had once
been the landlords of the Fountain Inn before Benjamin died and
Sarah was left a widow, and it was at the pub that Sarah Ann Fielden
was to be found as a young girl of 6 in 1851. She stayed with the
couple and it looks likely that for some reason her uncle and aunt
brought her up.
Butterworth was a cotton weaver as was his wife and by 1871 they
had already buried one baby followed by little Arthur in June of
1877 who only lived for 2 days. Sarah Ann followed baby Arthur to
an early grave 8 months later and they are all buried together at
Cross Stone along with Fielden Butterworth, their eldest son who
also died young in 1884 aged 12. John and Sarah had been living
at Watty Farm before Sarah's death.
then met Alice Dewhirst and some time after 1878 they were married
and in 1881 they were at the White Lion, John, his wife Alice, Alice's
14 year old son Luke Dewhirst, and John's two sons Fielden and Joseph,
with John as the innkeeper. The Butterworths had left by 1884 and
when Alice died in 1890 she was buried with her first husband as
next new landlord was James Farrar and his wife Mary Ellen, who
had once kept the WOODPECKER
at Shade for a few years before going to live in Industrial Street
prior to taking over at the White Lion.
was the son of Henry Farrar and the family was heavily involved
in the butchering trade. Again tragedy was to strike and Mary Ellen
was left a widow in August of 1884, James dying at the young age
of 37. Out of their seven children, only two girls and one son survived
into adulthood. These were Emily, Ann and Edmund. Emily first married
William Hubbard of the Rope and Anchor and her second husband was
James Bulcock of the Gauxholme Brewery. Ann married Walter Ratcliffe
of the Golden Lion so both girls kept up the pub connection.
their only surviving son carried on the family trade of butcher,
but by 1891 he became an innkeeper at Summit, Littleborough
following the other family tradition.
Mary Ellen carried on at the White Lion and the opportunity arose
for her to buy the premises, which she took. Three brothers, Robert,
Thomas and Samuel Fielden JP, held the mortgage for the White Lion.
All were involved in the manufacture of pickers and a well-known
family in Walsden and Todmorden. They had the power of sale to the
White Lion public house with a stable and brew house plus some cottages
and in 1887 they were sold to Mary Ellen Farrar.
September 1890 the pub along with 5 cottages was offered up for
sale again. The bidding reached £3,750 and was withdrawn.
Ellen and her daughter Emily ran the pub whilst Ann worked as a
dressmaker. Nephew Arthur Farrar boarded with them for time, also
in the family butchering trade.
the regular meetings of the Ancient Order of Foresters and the canary
exhibitions, which were held frequently, it would keep the two ladies
busy and maybe nephew Arthur helped out with the brewing. Mary Ellen
was still there in 1897 but she had left a year later and in 1904
she was living at Cambridge Place, Todmorden where she died. She
is buried at Christ Church along with the rest of her family.
Stockwell was the next recorded keeper, a married man born
and brought up at Oldroyd, a small hamlet in Langfield, near
to Woodhouse. His family were all workers in the cotton mill,
and he was still at home with his parents James and Sarah
in 1871 aged 21 and working as a cotton spinner. He married
Charlotte King in 1877 and by 1881 he, Charlotte and their
two young children James Edward and Annie Mary, had moved
to Wellfield Terrace.
|Three of their children died
young, but son Jesse lived to the great age of 81 whilst son
Ernest was killed in France in 1918 aged 33, a private in
the Scottish Rifles. He is remembered on the WAR
MEMORIAL in Centre Vale Park and also at Tyne Cot
Cemetery, Belgium. More of James Edward the
eldest son later.
family continued to live in the Langfield Road area and David
still worked as a cotton weaver until by 1898 he was established
as the landlord of the White Lion at Wadsworth Mill. He took
out and advert in the 1898 edition of the local yearly almanac
and business thrived
and Charlotte and their five children were well established by 1901
and daughter Edith who became a barmaid helped him out in the pub.
Son James Edward was now 23 and working as a weaver, Ernest was
16 and had a job in a warehouse whilst the two youngest, Jesse 11
and Emily 6 were the only ones not earning any wages.
never seemed far away at the White Lion and suddenly, on the 4 January
1905, Charlotte died leaving David a widower. Probably for the first
time in its history that the White Lion had a widower as landlord
and not a widow. Charlotte was buried at Cross Stone in the family
Edward Stockwell, their son, as well as working in the mill had
a nice sideline in music. He had a band that was well known in the
Todmorden area and they were hired to play at many occasions. Just
8 days after his mother's death he and his band had been hired to
play for the dance at the Town Hall in aid of the 10 th annual banquet
of the Todmorden and District Licensed Victuallers' and Wine and
Beersellers' Association. Not something he would have enjoyed under
the circumstances I am sure, but the show must go on.
also played piano in the White Lion, which would draw in the customers,
as a good sing song was what most people wanted, especially when
they had had a few jars of ale. Six months after his mother's sudden
death, things got for rosier for James as he married Annie Pickles
of Broadstone at St. Paul's Church, Cross Stone. His father David
died just before Christmas 1932 and had attained the good age of
84. He was buried in the family grave with his wife and children
at Cross Stone.
later landlord was Frank Shea in the 1930's and in 1939 a Margaret
Ann Shea was the landlady. Was she the widow of Frank and had the
White Lion claimed another victim. She
remained until 1944 when the new landlady was Emily Nothard who
was definitely not a widow, having a husband James who was well
and truly alive.
finally closed in 1961 under the 1904 compensation act and a letter
dated 18 July 1961 from the brewery, John Baxter Ltd. Glen Top Brewery,
Waterfoot, stated that they were to close the premises on 23 rd
July 1961 but the licensee could remain in he living accommodation.
It had survived its rival, the Greyhound, by around 20 years and
was demolished in 1971.
site where it stood is now unrecognisable and is used as a