PLANS have been submitted to restore Warrington’s oldest pub – the reputedly haunted Black Horse in Old Liverpool Road.
Believed to date from 1632, the attractive black-and-white half-timbered old coaching house, has had to close for public safety reasons.
Structural repairs are proposed to the timber frame of the West and North facing walls which is in such a poor condition that much of that part of the building has had to be cordoned off because it is dangerous. At first floor level, two beams are in such a condition that they have had to be propped up.
Now owners Hawthorn Leisure have submitted planning and Listed Building applications to restore the building to its former glory.
Although the Grade 2 listed building has undergone many alterations over the years, its external appearance retains much of its original character and the proposals aim to protect its features as a heritage asset as well as make it a safe and habitable building. It is hoped to re-open the pub some time after the COVID-19 restrictions are over.
The Black Horse is reputedly haunted by a “crawling man.” According to local legend, a gatekeeper on the nearby Sankey Canal in 1912, saw a man crawling in the street. But as he approached, the man vanished.
Other local people claim to have seen the crawling man, saying that he was clutching his chest and appeared to be in great pain, but then disappeared.
The story goes that the Black Horse was the scene of the last local skirmish between Roundheads and Cavaliers during the Civil War. A party of Royalists was fleeing the area and called at the pub – which then had stables – demanding horses. The landlord refused and was killed.
Blacksmith Giles Boston, who was in charge of the stables and was a staunch Cromwellian , took on the Royalists with his sword and killed two of them before their leader shot him twice in the chest with his pistol. The Royalists then took horses and fled while Giles Boston staggered from the building and crawled along the road seeking help until eventually dying near the canal – giving birth to the legend of the “crawling man of the Black Horse.”
Owners Hawthorn Leisure, as part of their planning application, say they believe a carefully restored Black Horse, could become a tourist attraction.
Ed’s note: While the Barley Mow, built in 1561 is older, it was built as an Inn. An inn is an establishment where travellers can procure lodging, food, and drink while a pub is a public house, where beverages, primarily alcoholic, may be bought and drunk many pubs also provide food and/or entertainment.