Located in Hankelow – a traditional English village in East Cheshire – The White Lion Pub in Hankelow has enjoyed a storied past.
Villagers often speak fondly of the high days and holidays of days gone by with family and friends spent around the pond on the village green before heading to the White Lion for a refreshing drink and a light bite.
Dominoes and darts league champions of the 1960s frequented the pub and piano-accompanied singalongs were also a huge success among visitors from nearby Stoke as well as local residents.
The pub has been in the village for over 200 years and has opened its doors to a whole host of Hankelow heroes and villains. Tony Lee researched some of the chequered history.
What’s interesting is that the pub is older than we had thought. We knew it was there in 1812 at the time of the famous murder in the village but we found a list of landlords as far back as 1778. It was also known as the Dog and Fox until 1785.
Pub landlords in the 18th Century:
Rowland Cadman 1778-79
William Hughes. 1782-84
Thomas Jervis. 1785-86
Mary Dowless. 1791
Benjamin Penlington 1792-1828.
Mr Penlington’s stint as landlord lasted an impressive 36yrs. A George Penlington was the landlord in 1892. It’s thought this could be his son or grandson.
Did you know Hankelow once experienced a murder?
An article from the Chester Chronicle, dated April 17th, 1812 reports the murder of George Morrey in Hankelow on April 12th.
The strong connection with the pub is that the pre-trial inquest was held there on Monday and Tuesday, April 13th and 14th before the wonderfully named Coroner Faithful Thomas. The corpse was also present. We have no information as to whether or not the bar was closed during the hearing!
In his confession on Tuesday 14th, John Lomas said “that his mistress, Edith Morrey set him on to murder his master and he was to have all he had. She told him to go to William Shaw’s, a public house in Hankelow, on Saturday afternoon the 11th of April, to get some drink and she would get things ready to kill him”.
The pub was called The White Lion and is referred to as this in the Court papers. It is therefore assumed that locals referred to the pub as William Shaw’s for reasons as yet unknown.
We have some information about the subsequent trials and executions. Also Edith Morrey was pregnant at the time of the trial, her execution was delayed until after the birth of a son, Thomas. He was eventually deported to the colonies aged 20 after a number of court appearances.
A news article from the Chester Chronicle dated April 17th 1812 can be seen here. Thanks to Tony Lee for supplying this document.
You can find out more about the murder at http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/morrey.html
In more recent times The White Lion has enjoyed a relatively scandal free few years.
Although The White Lion Pub closed its doors in January 2016, as of 14 September 2018, the pub has been the property of The White Lion Community Pub Hankelow Limited – a group formed of 34 investors from Hankelow and surrounding areas committed to restoring the pub to its former heyday.