Public Houses

Inns, Alehouses, Victualling and Tippling Houses

We all understand when a friend asks “What’s your tipple”. The origin of the word derives from an early distinction between the necessary rest and refreshment taken by long-distance travellers and the hedonistic custom of drinking for pleasure in tippling houses.

The dotted routes on the maps below show the early routes through Marsden before the turnpike roads were built. The solid red lines are the modern roads which follow the routes of the turnpike roads.
(Click on the maps to see a larger view)

Key to Public Houses in Marsden

1. Shoulder of Mutton
2. The Traveller’s Rest
3. Gatehead
4. The George & Dragon
5. The Red Lion
6. The Two Dutchmen
7. The White Hart
8. The Old Ram Inn

9. The Blue Lion
10. The Old New Inn
11. The George
12. The Hare & Hounds
13. The Moorcock
14. The Rising Sun
15. The Olive Branch
16. The New Inn

17. The Shepherd’s Boy
18. The Coach & Horses
19. The Great Western
20. The Carriage House
21. The Junction
22. The Shakespeare
23. The Swan Inn
24. The Railway

Key to Public Houses in Marsden

Licences were required for premises selling alcohol. New applicants had to produce a certificate signed by a local clergyman and church overseers which showed that they were “of good Fame and sober of Life and Conversation” Having satisfied the Justices of the Peace of their suitability they were “duly Licensed and allowed to keep a common Inn, Alehouse, Victualling house and Tippling house in the Houses wherein they dwelt for the selling of Ale, Beer and other liquors and strong Waters”. Early inns were not purpose-built but were more accurately a room in a cottage which sold ale that had been brewed in the back kitchen.

Drinking establishments were established from the 1600s along the paths and tracks running through the village from all four points of the compass.

Old track at Holt Head

Old track at Holt Head

The most important early route to the village centre ran from Huddersfield, over Crosland Moor to Holt Head and then down into the village along a track running near to the present Meltham Road to Market Place and over Town Bridge into Towngate. We know that this bridge was present in 1664 when the inhabitants of Marsden appealed for an allowance towards the cost of the repair of the wooden bridge “over the river at Marsden” which they maintained was “a great way for most of Lancashire and Cheshire”.

The photograph shows the state of these old tracks which were only passable by pedestrians and horsemen or pack ponies.

We have a letter dated 13th January, 1607 written by the 14 year old Joseph Radcliffe to his mother describing the journey that he took with his cousins on horse-back from Huddersfield to their school in Oldham. “We alighted at Marsden and sat there.” It may be that they called at The White Hart in Towngate, pictured below, which had been present since at least 1590.

Rear of the White Hart

The rear of the White Hart prior to demolition

He continues “Coming to Pule and Standedge the wind was so boisterous that we could hardly stand and being both cold and some of us half sick we went to Saddleworth on Monday and stayed all night. At noon we set forth and so we came, God be thanked, to Oldham in the afternoon.”

The track over Standedge rounded Pule Hill on its south side.