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Bonus Boozer #2

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

On my ride to visit the Cheetham Arms I passed a couple of buildings which suggested that they were bygone boozers and as such were in need of a little investigation. Bonus boozer #1, the Green Dragon, featured in my last post. Now it's the turn of the Royal Oak in this brief one.

Pedalling through Church Broughton, a building almost opposite the still trading Holly Bush caught my eye. Royal Oak Cottage suggested that it was pretty much a cert to be a bygone boozer, and so it is.

The former Royal Oak, Church Broughton.

The building dates from the 18th century and it was probably serving many years before the first definite reference to it that I've found.

White's 1847 directory attributes an unnamed beer house as well the Holly Bush to the village and in the 1871 census William Hibbert was recorded as a beer house keeper, not far from the other pub. He was also recorded as being blind. Although the beer house is not specifically named as being the Royal Oak it is so recorded a decade later. Whilst according to this census the pub has gained a name, William hasn't gained his sight.

In 1886 William was buried in the village churchyard but his widow Caroline carries on at the pub until her own death in 1909. She even sees her daughter, also Caroline, marry in 1894 and take over the running of the Holly Bush across the road with her husband, as both Carolines are running pubs in the village by the time of the 1901 census.

Neither Caroline is in Church Broughton a decade later by when a Lucy Wardale has the Royal Oak, but the pub doesn't have much of a future left. Following a campaign by the village vicar Alfred Auden, a cousin of the poet W. H. Auden and a strong supporter of the the temperance movement The Band of Hope, the Royal Oak served its last pint in 1917. It is now a private residence, but it doesn't appear that the current owners think in the quite same way as the Rev. Auden if the display in the front window is anything to go by.

Beer still seems to be of interest!

[Edit March 2021. I have recently received an email from Simon and Emma, current occupants of Royal Oak Cottage who informed me of an error. A minor one. I've only got the wrong building!

Royal Oak Cottage was formed when three smaller cottages, Royal Oak Cottages, were combined to form a single house in the 1980s. Their name came from their proximity to the Royal Oak pub which was the property at the end of the terrace of the three original cottages. The one hiding behind the white van in the picture below. At some time after the pub's closure the building went on to house the village's post office – hence the cottage's current name.

Post Office Cottage, the former Royal Oak, in 2009. © Google 2021

It seems that I was close, but not close enough!]

I thought that would be it for this post, but we also have a bonus bonus boozer! The Church Broughton village website informs me that we cycled past what once was another pub in the village. Now known as the White House, although it's hard to tell why, it supposedly once had a cock pit but as to any name or further details I have drawn a total blank. I'll file this bonus bonus boozer away for possible further research at a later date.

The photograph of White House is © J. Thomas and is licensed for reuse under this license: CC BY-SA 2.0.

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