Written by John Headon
The Inn was built of brick, at the end of the 18th century, probably 1770 and was first called The Brook Arms, after the Lords of the Manor. Thomas Brooke was purchasing land and property in Church Minshull while living at Heferstone Grange in Weaverham. Being a second son, he had not inherited the family estate at Norton Priory and so it was his intention to purchase a manor house and estate of his own. He first converted two old Tudor cottages into Bridge House as a temporary home then his son, Henry, built the manor house, Ashbrooke Towers, but this has since been demolished.
There was almost certainly an inn on the site previously, which makes The Badger Inn, one of the first buildings in the village rebuilt by the Brookes dynasty. The family crest was of a brock, better known as a badger, hence the change of name after the estate was sold off in the early 1920s. It was an old coaching house inn and the two storey part of the building was a coach house, before it was a garage with a single petrol pump. Looking at the east wall of the building, facing the churchyard, you can clearly see how the building was heightened later. Bare knuckle fighting was a regular sport here, as was cock fighting and bull baiting and the Cheshire Hunt frequently met here, as Henry Brooke was Master in 1827. There were two other pubs in the village but they were not licensed to sell spirits, so were really only ale houses. It was common practice for estate workers to be paid on a Friday evening at the inn, so that wages were quickly spent, returning to the Lord of the Manor via the pub landlord's rent. There were also no laws covering a legal drinking age so it was considered great sport to get children drunk and watch the results.
In 1916, the landlord was Mr Tite. The photo shows George Tite with Rose on his knee, Alice holding Jane, Will and Nance below.
The Tite's both worked at Ashbrook Hall, before taking over at The Brock Arms, as The Badger was still called then. They would have been highly regarded and trusted by their employer to become the landlords and we know from recently discovered letters that the Brooke Family were not the easiest of people to please. They liked their own way and anyone who crossed them was thrown out of their property as Miss Brereton found out.
Mr Tite was also a churchwarden and is buried in the churchyard against The Badger perimeter fence.
The Inn was pebble dashed in 1934 and is listed as 'of architectural merit'. The work to restore the inn began in 2012 and with David Hughes and Phil at the helm we have a village inn that is the envy of many.
Ref: J.H. Headon- "...Too proud to be forgot"
VillageArena is powered by our active community.
Please send us your news and views using the button below: