A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls of Chester

The Vanished Pubs of Chester Gallery

hawarden castle inn

The Hawarden Castle Inn was a Walker's pub located next door to Tudor House in Lower Bridge Street. The building still stands, today utilised as an estate agent's premises, illustrated below.

In October 2008, Norma Vachet (nee Stanley) from far-away Vancouver, Canada wrote to tell us that "my Stanley family lived in Chester at Lower Bridge Street in 1858. My Great Great Grandfather William Stanley was a 'licensed victualler' and his wife Mary (Blundell) Stanley is listed as a Publican's wife according to the 1861 census. One of their sons is listed as being born at The Hawarden Castle Inn, Lower Bridge Street, Chester". A few years earlier, the Post Office Directory for the year 1857 lists one William Stanley as the licencee.

In Lower Bridge Street, next to the splendid, and much-photographed, early 17th century Tudor House, is a narrow passageway by the name of Hawarden Castle Entry which formerly led to an area of mean and squalid court dwellings. It features in one of Louise Rayner's famous watercolours and can be seen here. Did the inn serve the poor community in the vicinity of this narrow street? In 1828 the licencee was William Ellis, in 1850 John Hughes and, as Norma tells us, in 1857-61William Stanley. It is just possible to make out the name 'W Williams' over the inn's door in the photo, whose date is unknown by was taken and published as a postcard by the famous Chester firm of Will R Rose.

In the 1870s a linking bridge over Hawarden Castle Entry was built from the Hawarden Castle Inn, that used the upper parts of Tudor House as an annex for paying guests (the lower part in the photograph is occupied by 'F C Quinn, Baker & Grocer'). The sign hanging from the front of Tudor House announces, "Cestrian Lodging House. Beds 6d & 8d. R Griffiths".

The postcard, incidentally, is entitled 'The Oldest House in Chester'. Just above the upper window of Tudor House may be seen the date '1006' painted onto a beam. This has long since disappeared, but a cartouche bearing the inscription 'Built in the reign of Henry VII 1506' is now prominently displayed on the building's facade. Both are incorrect, the house probably having been erected a century later, around 1606 (perhaps the top of one of the sixes in the earlier date got accidentally painted over and the '1006' then became accepted?)

hawarden castle inn 1905
The Hawarden Castle Inn in a street scene of Bridge Street from around 1905

town and country estate agents

Do you have any more information about this old pub?

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