The Woodcock Inn stood on an area of land near to where the present day Bell Holme sports field is today.
The photo shows the sports field and the area of Holme. The houses in the foreground are Warland Gate End. The area is quite historic, as it is where a family of Fieldens from near Bradford settled in the 1500's. They came to Horse Pasture and later were tenants of Top o' th' Fold and Maggotholme farms.

This Fielden family married into the Bottomley Fieldens and it was the beginning of the Fielden dynasty of Todmorden fame. Nicholas Fielden of Bradford was reputedly the last resident of Maggotholme in the 1600's, and the fields and area around became known as the Holme. It was here that the Woodcock Inn opened its doors and John Marland became the landlord. He was there in 1825 and later founded a large iron roller manufacturing business.

John left in 1826 and James Howarth took over in the December of that year. James was known as Old Jock and was the landlord for quite a few years. His sister was Susan Howarth, or Sue Poppit as she became known. She also was employed in the trade, being the landlady of various pubs in her time, including the Cherry Tree to name just one.


James was born in 1795, married a girl from Deerplay called Margaret Roberts in 1816 and had two daughters, Mary and Sarah. Mary married Robert Dawson, a local lad, and they continued to live in the area whilst her sister Sarah married a Sutcliffe and went to live in Erringden. Mary and Robert's daughter, Margaret Dawson, later married Hamer Hollinrake and followed in her grandfather's steps by running the Hollins Inn with her husband.


Old Jock also ran a timber business, so with their two daughters married off and only themselves at the Woodcock, he and Margaret would have quite a good lifestyle for that time. Margaret would take on the pub duties whilst her husband made a nice bit of money from the wood trade. The pub trade would mainly be the farmers, canal carriers, carters and quarrymen, along with the local hand loom weavers, a tight bunch who usually were reluctant to fritter their money away in the beerhouses and pubs.


Jock and Margaret had left the Woodcock by 1849 and on 7th. February 1850, he went missing. A search yielded no sign of him and it was not until the 11th that his body was found in the canal opposite the Sun Inn. He is buried at St. Mary's with his parents.


The back of the Sun Inn can just be seen as the building furthest away from the canal.


They may have also taken in lodgers, as a William Law of Ramsden Wood and his second wife Betty, who was a Stansfield, were known to be there from August 1845 until May 1846 at the least. It is a long while to be lodgers and William may have been the landlord. William's first wife was his cousin Sally Law. She was the daughter of Abraham Law of the Clogger's Arms, who later built the Cross Keys, so there is evidence of a pub connection. No evidence of William being the landlord has come to light, so this is just supposition.


The next recorded landlord is Thomas Fielden who took over on 24th December 1849. At the time, he was single, but he was married on the 31st of December the same year to Mary Dawson, the daughter of John and Hannah of Stonehouse. As they already had a daughter aged four, Thomas must have thought that it was time he made an honest woman out of Mary. Thomas' trade was a mason, but gave this up and spent most of his life as an innkeeper.


He was a local man, born in 1824 to John and Hannah, both Fieldens and residents of Warland. Thomas and Mary had five children. They had moved on by 1853 to keep a pub at Sleighty, in Wardle. He died in 1867 aged 44 having moved to Spotland, and was possibly at the Birches Inn at Healey, which is where his widow was in 1871, named as the publican. Their son Samuel followed into the trade and became the landlord of the Dog Inn at Milnrow, which is where his mother Mary died in 1879. Thomas and his wife Mary are buried at St. Peter's, Walsden.


Deanroyd Lock. Photo taken from


John Sutcliffe is the next known landlord, taking over some time after 1853. He was born around 1812 at Knowl Top to Abraham and Sally. He and his seven brothers and sisters were left orphans at an early age, one of them only a year old. Their father met a sad end, being drowned near Deanroyd Lock when going home one Saturday night in 1821, bearing a heavy load of work - warps and weft for the looms.

It was December and would have been freezing cold, so he would have had not much chance of surviving for long in the cold waters of the canal. Abraham's wife Sally survived him  only a few weeks, dying of a broken heart.


John Sutcliffe married Hannah Schofield of General Wood who died soon after their marriage, leaving John to remarry, which he did in 1844 to Betty Dearden of Calf Holes. They had three daughters and he and Betty ran the Woodcock between them. John carried on in the business of farming, and they took in lodgers, which would be a nice supplement to their income. So much so that by 1871 John had made enough money to be able to afford to retire and he and Betty went to live at Sun Terrace in Walsden to enjoy a well deserved rest. John and Betty both stayed in that area until they died in 1882 and 1888 respectively.


The next to become the landlord of the Woodcock was John Uttley. John was a local man who farmed at Long Lees farm, which is very near to the Woodcock Inn.

This modern photo shows Long Lees farm in the foreground in the right hand corner, with the Woodcock would have been on the main road near the sports field


John carried on with farming his 12 acres, helped by his son John. He and his wife Sarah, a Walsden lass, had a family of seven; some grew to adulthood, some did not. By the early 1880's, he had gone back to living at Long Lees farm and given up the pub life. His family carried on being involved in the licensing trade.


His daughter Betty married John Marshall and for a time they lived at Square, but moved to take over the running of the Jubilee Inn at Crompton. Betty was widowed by 1891 but carried on with the pub, helped by her brother John.


Michael Uttley, a son of John and Sarah, married Alice, the sister of Martin Jackson who kept the Bird I' th' Hand across the road from the Woodcock. Michael was later to run the Rose and Crown on Halifax Rd. and his sons and grandsons later ran the Hollins Inn for many years.

The pub then passed into the hands of Thomas Greenwood and his family. Thomas was the publican and also farmed 8 acres helped by his son Daniel. Thomas and his wife were from Heptonstall, and had moved around, from Cliviger, where Thomas had been a gamekeeper, to Wardle and Littleborough before coming to Warland. The pub is still listed as the Woodcock at this time. His son Daniel was to take over the Sun Inn in Walsden before 1891.

After the Greenwoods came William Mitchell, who had taken over by 1891 when the pub was then called the Bell's Arms. How it came to change its name is not really known. One theory is that Mally Bottomley, a widow who ran the Inchfield Corn Mill, married one of her employees named Bell Parkin. Bell was killed, and in his memory, Mally changed the name of the pub around the 1890's to the Bell's Arms. This theory is impossible as both Bell and Mally were by this date buried in St. Paul's, Cross Stone, Bell having died in 1822 and Mally a year later in 1823. See the story on Inchfield Mill HERE.

William Mitchell was not a local man and does not appear to have been a long serving landlord. He came from Accrington and by 1901 was back there. Maybe the locals did not take kindly to a "foreigner" especially one who had such an exotically named daughter as Esmerelda. Whatever the reason, William left to go back to work in the cotton mill, which was his job before he dabbled in the pub trade.


Bells Arms 1910 to 1920

by kind permission of Roger Birch

A man by the name of Young Sunderland then took over. He and his wife Jane both came from Blackshawhead, a little closer than Accrington, and no strangers to pub life. He had been a farmer before taking over at the Woodcock. He also ran the Shoulder of Mutton at Blackshawhead for a number of years. He had left by 1917 when Fred Drury was landlord, and Fred Westall had taken over by 1922.

The old pub had closed by 1936 and the building was later pulled down. Nothing remains today of the place where it stood, just a lay-by where a mobile trailer sells snacks to passing trade. The tradition of wayside stops continues, but in a more modern fashion. It is called progress.

The area of the Holme is still there and the sports field bears the name of Bellholme, so both the pub and the area are still remembered today.