The Story of the Stamford Arms
(1066 – 2021)
Little Bollington and the Stamford Arms site have a long and interesting history that is tied to that of the Dunham Massey Estate until the turn of the 20th Century.
As the site is about to enter in to a new phase in its history, we wanted to ensure its history and memory is preserved for future generations. As a result, we have produced the following timeline, which tells the story of the site from the Norman invasion through to present day.
If you have any further information, photographs, memories or stories of the site, we'd love to hear from you so we can expand this record.
The Stamford Arms in 2019
(1066 - 1409)
The Doomsday survey of 1086 tells us that prior to the Norman invasion, the manor of Bollington was held by the Saxon thegn (Thain) Aelfward, who was supplanted after the conquest by the Norman Hamon de Mascy. De Mascy added his name to the manor of Dunham and it became Dunham Massey.
Extract from the Doomsday Book mentioning Hamon
The Masseys remained lords of Dunham and its environs until the 14th century, when the family's male line became extinct, with the estate passing firstly onto Fytton family for three generations, then onto the Venables family for 2 further generations until 1409 when Douce Venables (then aged only 9) married Sir Robert Booth (son of Sir John, Lord of Barton), passing the estate to the Booth family.
Family Tree of the Barons of Dunham from Hamon through to the Booths.
(1409 – 1758)
The Booth family held the estate for 10 generations, becoming one of the largest landowners in Cheshire along the way. The Booth family held the estate until 1758, when their line at Dunham Massey ended after 350 years when George Booth 2nd Earl of Warrington had no male heir.
Upon his death the estate passed onto his only daughter Lady Mary Booth who became the Countess of Stamford upon marrying Harry Grey, 4th Earl of Stamford. Thus, the estate passed onto the Grey family (also known as Booth-Grey).
Portrait of George Booth 2nd Earl of Warrington
(1758 – 1898)
The Grey family held the Dunham Estate and its environs for seven generations from 1758 to 1976 (with the Stamford Arms site being sold in 1898), when Roger Gray, the 10th Earl of Stamford bequeathed the Dunham Massey estate, the hall and its contents to the National Trust.
It is during Grey’s stewardship at Dunham Massey that information regarding the Stamford Arms and its land becomes available.
The first evidence we have of built form on the site is shown on an 1839 Tithe Map of the area. The map itself is not labelled but shows an ‘L’ shape building fronting onto Park Lane and Lymm Road.
1839 Tithe Map
By the time of the 1882 OS Map the buildings on the site have changed into two distinct structures and for the first time is labelled ‘Stamford Arms Inn’. These buildings have a prominent location facing onto Lymm Road, the historic turnpike road.
1882 OS Map
The 1898 OS Map shows the buildings have developed further, with additions merging the two buildings into one once again.
1898 OS Map
It is at this point, in 1898 that Catherine Grey (née Cox) (the widow of George Harry Booth-Grey, 7th Earl of Stamford and 3rd Earl of Warrington) along with the trustees of her husbands will, sell The Stamford Arms Inn, known as ‘Bollington Building Ground No.4’ to The Chesters Brewery Company Limited.
This sale occurred during a period when the heir to the estate was under debate as George Harry did not leave an heir. The Earldom briefly passed to George Harry’s third Cousin, Harry, who resided in South Africa. Upon his death in 1890 further confusion arose regarding the legitimate heir to the estate, to the extent that is was debated in the House of Lords. During this period, it appears Catherine, then styled the Dowager Countess of Stamford and Warrington had control of the estate, where she sold the Stamford Arms Inn. When Catherine died, the estate passed to Harry’s first Cousin, William Grey.
Conveyancy Document 1898
Chesters Brewery Company Limited
Within the first few years of ownership of the site (at some point between 1904 and 1910), Chesters demolished all of the existing buildings on the site and constructed the Stamford Arms and the coach houses as we know them today in their distinctive mock-Tudor Edwardian style.
Photograph of the old Stamford Arms Inn Buildings Prior to Demolition
Photograph of the Stamford Arms circa 1956. (Image courtesy of John Ellis)
During the 50's, 60's and 70's, Alexander Bennett was the landlord of the Stamford Arms, during which time he operated a riding school and the UK's first private guard dog training business from the grounds.
British Pathe have a video of Mr Bennett training his guard dogs in 1956, available here:
Local Advertisment for the Stamford Arms
The Stamford Arms remained a public house through the 20th century passing between owners and landlords several times. Historic maps show a bowling green was situated in place of the current car park between 1910 and 1968. The pub became particularly popular with bikers in the 60’s and 70’s before becoming more gastro-focused in 1983 after purchase and renovation by Beefeater Steak House.
News Article from 1983 Advertising the Renovation of the Pub
The pub was renamed ‘Home Bar and Grill’ in 2007 before closing to the public in 2012. The site and all of its buildings have remained abandoned since.
The Building in its Current Condition
In September 2019, Novo Property Group purchased the site with ambitious plans to restore the dilapidated buildings and deliver affordable and family homes for the area.
If you have any information or images that would help us to improve this timeline, we'd love to hear from you!