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The Duke’s Head Inn - High Street
Externally 18 th -century, but enclosing an earlier post and truss timber-framed core, possibly 16 th century 1 , this picturesque thatched ex-inn is a Grade II listed building. Some previous owners found evidence pointing to a Civil War origin 2 . Documents at Stafford Record Office show the Poor Law Overseers adjourning to the Duke’s Head from 1791 onwards 3 . In the first part of the 19th century, every May or June, the annual dinner of the Gnosall Association for the Prosecution of Felons was held there. It was also used for auctions – in December 1818, there was a sale “at the Sign of the Duke” of eight tons of strong sheet lead on behalf of the Gnosall churchwardens 4 . The licensee was Mr Adderley. The inn was the venue for the bloodhorse Sawney at stud on Monday mornings in the summer of 1824, before he went on to the Bell at Haughton 5 . In January 1825 the Stafford Advertiser published an apology from cordwainer Benjamin Barnett to William Beavan, farmer at Coton End, for an assault committed at the Duke’s Head. He stated the assault was committed in anger and in a state of intoxication, and he sincerely asked pardon – and paid costs. In return Beaven withdrew proceedings 6 . In 1826 following the death of the landlord Mr William Adderley 7 , John Brown took the inn over temporarily and it was advertised for auction in October 1827: “that old established inn or public house” with a malthouse, cowhouses, stabling, pigsties and garden 8 . Two months later it was advertised to let 9 . The Duke’s Head was the scene of an “excellent dinner” for the poor in September 1831 in celebration of William IV’s coronation. This had been paid for by a number of “spirited gentlemen”. More than 200 women had tea and toast, and the men prime ale 10 . In 1835 there was a saddler, Joseph Griffiths, based there but his wife Mary died in May of that year 11 , and the inn was advertised to be sold or let again, with its contents, in March 1836 12 . James Martin, who had previously been publican at the New Inn (Brook House) was shown there on the 1837 Awards. In 1841, Thomas Bettelley, ex-Governor of Gnosall Workhouse, was the publican there 13 , and the premises were used for furniture auctions. By 1850 Joseph Whittle and his wife from Sheriffhales were running the pub 14 , which was the starting point in 1851 for the anniversary parade of the Jenkinson Lodge of Oddfellows, with a band and banners and wearing decorations. They were joined by the Princess Alice Lodge of United Sisters, who started from the Horns, also with a band and banners. After parading around the village, they all listened to a sermon in the church on the theme of providing for one’s own house, and sat down to dinner in a booth behind the Duke’s Head. The Rev. K C Bailey and Gnosall doctor Mr Baddeley presided 15 . On the 1861 census, John Podmore, a widower, was the licensee. He had previously been a farmer in Bromstead where his son William and daughter Emma had been born. William was now working as a butcher. In 1863 there were several property auctions at the pub, including surgeon John Jones’s house (St Lawrence Cottage) and its surrounding grounds. Podmore was still the licensee in 1863, but he isn’t mentioned in auction advertisements there in 1868. In 1870 the following advertisement appeared in the Staffordshire Advertiser: The 1871 census shows William Podmore, butcher and innkeeper, now married, at the Inn. In 1881 Samuel Addison, a joiner, and his wife were there, and in 1891 and 1901 the innkeeper was Samuel J Whitehouse from Birmingham. In 1911 the publicans were John Grant and his wife. The Duke’s Head remained a public house until 1953 16 . F. Potter
	1.	Staffordshire County Council Historic Environment Record Monument Report, via Mike Corfield. 	2.	Staffordshire Newsletter, 17 May 2014   	3.	Overseers of Poor account book 1782-1802, SRO D951/5/7 	4.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 19.12.1818  	5.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 1.5.1824 etc 	6.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 15.1.1825 	7.	Birmingham Journal, 7.10.1826  	8.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 20.10.1827  	9.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 22.12.1827 	10.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 17.9.1831 	11.	Burial register and memorial inscription A-32  	12.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 19.3.1836  	13.	Wolverhampton Chronicle, 12.2.1840 and 1841 census 	14.	Baptism, 1.9.1850; 1851 census  	15.	Staffordshire Advertiser, 16.8.1851 	16.	Staffordshire Newsletter, 17 May 2014 TO BE SOLD BY PRIVATE CONTRACT. with possession at Lady-day next, all that old established LICENSED PUBLIC HOUSE or INN, called the “Duke’s Head”, with cottage, stable, butcher’s shop, outbuildings and large garden, well-stocked with fruit trees, adjoining thereto, situate in the centre of the High-street, in Gnosall, in the county of Stafford. The Court Leet and several Rent Audits are held twice a year at the house, and the premises offer a desirable opportunity for the investment of small capita. The premises are copyhold and have an extensive frontage. - For further particulars, apply to Mr. JAMES BELCHER, Moreton Park, near Newport, Salop; or to Mr. FREDERICK GREATREX, Solicitor, Stafford and Eccleshall.
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