This week we continue our look at local hostelries by visiting a couple of very old ones in Knutsford.

The Lord Eldon is situated on Tatton Street and has been serving Knutsfordians for more than 300 years.

The building has had some alterations in the 19th and 20th centuries but remains largely the same in structure.

The inn was previously known as The Duke of Wellington, and the name changed when the Duke supported the emancipation of Roman Catholics which the then landlord did not approve of.

It was reputed that he took down the Duke of Wellington pub sign and used it as a door to his pigsty.

The Lord Eldon may have then been named after politician John Scott who became the first Earl of Eldon and Lord Chancellor from 1801 to 1827, he served under five premiers during that time and was staunchly against the emancipation of Roman Catholics which would explain the name change.

Knutsford Guardian: The ex-Feathers pubThe ex-Feathers pub (Image: Rose Hurley)

In the 1860s it was home to Annie Sarah Pollitt who was the first May Queen, crowned in 1864 aged 14.

Interestingly Annie married Edwin Jackson in 1870 and although started married life running a pub called the Crown Inn in Dukinfield, later moved to the Feathers which was located next to the Lord Eldon.

She took over landlord-ship to run this pub after her husband Edwin died in 1896 and Annie was still there in 1901.

There are many rumours that Annie haunts the Lord Eldon although there is no real explanation of why she would other than she had resided there whilst a child.

Knutsford Guardian: The White Bear on May 20, 1950The White Bear on May 20, 1950 (Image: Rose Hurley)

There have been reports of flickering lights, moving objects, a white apparition, and an unidentified cold draught.

Some time ago ghost investigators attempted to prove or disprove the haunting, a photo was found in an outbuilding, but it was not of Annie Sarah Pollitt.

The owner at the time framed the photo and hung it in the pub, since then there have been reports that many framed pictures within the pub are found to be crookedly hanging in the morning although had been perfectly straight the previous evening.

The hauntings at the Lord Eldon thus remain a mystery.

Knutsford Guardian: The White Bear, KnutsfordThe White Bear, Knutsford (Image: Rose Hurley)

Our second hostelry is that of the White Bear Inn in Canute Place, just down the road from the Lord Eldon.

It is positioned in the heart of Knutsford, thatched and traditional black and white in appearance.

It shows a white bear at a pulpit on its sign which probably refers to a travelling bear that was taken to the Chapel of Ease.

Amongst its customers, it boasts of Highwayman Higgins who resided close by in Heath House, Heathside now Gaskell Avenue.

Knutsford Guardian: The fire at the White Bear in KnutsfordThe fire at the White Bear in Knutsford (Image: Rose Hurley)

Highwayman Higgins was infamous for leading a double life where he lived as gentry in Knutsford and was known as 'the Squire'.

However, he would tour the country accosting and stealing from the rich to fund his lavish lifestyle back home, whilst his family thought he was collecting rent from owned properties across the country.

He was eventually caught and hanged at Carmarthen in 1767.

This ancient pub has been here certainly since the 18th century and had extensive alterations to the front elevation in the 1800s, it is Grade II listed.

Sometime after the Second World War, the thatched roof caught fire but thankfully replacing it with a cheaper tile option was not undertaken and the thatch was completely restored to stay in keeping with its past appearance.

Internally the inn has stone-flagged floors, displays historic photographs and has cosy drinking areas adding to the charm.

It had a large investment recently which has enabled the updating of the pub and garden to more modern standards whilst maintaining the character and ambience.