History of the Rose and Crown by Antony Borrow

Rose and Crown

Antony Borrow, a local historian, has provided these interesting accounts of the history of the Rose and Crown.

The Rose and Crown was originally custom-built as a roadhouse, to serve the Congleton to Buxton Turnpike Road (now the A54), which was authorised by Act of Parliament in 1789. The hamlet of Allgreave stood (and still stands) on the Wildboarclough / Wincle border, the farmhouse and chapel being in Wincle, and the Inn, Smithy and Tollbar in Wildboarclough. The Wheelton family, tenants of the farm, held land in both townships. In 1795 John Wheelton was granted a lease by the Earl of Derby for 13 perches of land on the understanding that he would erect a house of brick or stone with a slate roof within five years. This he did, and he was first licensed in 1802 and continued until 1811, after which the Wheeltons put under-tenants into the inn.

The inn stood at the junction of the new turnpike and the old road to Flash and Longnor, and the tollhouse stood beside the inn (apparently on the site of the modern car park). Some of the innkeepers also collected tolls. One such was Joseph Warren, landlord in 1836, and probably for some years earlier. He lost his license after attacking one of his customers, proclaiming that he could "lick all the men in the house, and would clear the house, and that he did not care for any Wildboarclough printer or Macclesfield butcher". There was also a smithy attached to the pub (which is now the modern restaurant), which was therefore well set up to service the passing horse-pulled traffic, and allow travellers to refresh and relieve themselves before undergoing the hazards of the journey across the moors to Buxton. As well as being blacksmiths, the innkeepers also farmed a small amount of land held under the Earls of Derby, while their wives operated pub and tollbar. The Wheeltons lease lapsed in 1865, and all subsequent tenants held directly under the Earls until 1957. The road was disturnpiked in 1881 and became the responsibility of the County, after which the Derby estate bought back the tollhouse.

Several licensees over the years stand out as characters. One such was Noah Holland, licensee from 1867 to 1897, who was not only innkeeper and blacksmith, but also a considerable farmer, who leased several other farmships under the Earl. However, he stood as surety for a loan to his brother, and some fifteen years later this led to bankruptcy. His son Robert Holland also occupied the inn and smithy from 1903 to 1912 before moving to the smithy in Macclesfield forest, where his descendants lived until only a few years ago.

James Beeson took the license in 1912, but was called up in the first world war and killed. His name is on the memorial in a local church. The licence was transferred to his widowed mother, Florence Beeson, who had run the inn in his absence. She retained it until 1924.

John Harrison became licensee in 1945. In 1953 much of the local Derby estate was offered for sale, and Harrison bought the inn in 1957. The previous year he had also bought the range of Edinboro cottages at the foot of Shutlingsloe, to one of which he retired in 1958. Harrison sold to Vera Doris Clegg in 1958, she to Redlake Ltd in 1964, and on to Robinsons Brewery in 1968.

Another character was Panos Panayi, a Cypriot popularly known as "Jimmy", who held the licence when Robinsons acquired the inn, and retained it until his death in 1974. For the first half of the last century the Rose and Crown was a "local", which also offered teas to ramblers and cyclists. It was Vera Clegg who started more ambitious catering, which culminated with Panayi, under whom the inn reportedly reached its peak as a venue for eating out – until now!