Some history of the Jolly Carter Inn at Chapel-en-le-Frith in the county of Derbyshire.


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The Jolly Carter Inn was located on the Buxton Road near the old turnpike junction. The inn sign reflected and celebrated the patronage of the many carters who would have travelled on this route in days of old. The Jolly Carter closed around 2009, the site transformed to accommodate three two-bedroom houses. High Peak Architects Limited were responsible for the conversion of the existing fabric into three houses, along with the construction of three new houses adjacent. Nowadays it is hard to recognise the site as that of a former public-house.

Chapel-en-le-Frith : Map extract showing the location of the Jolly Carter Inn at Sandyway Head [1898]

The location of the pub is marked on the above map extract published in 1898. The building was a short distance from the junction where the old turnpike road to Sheffield, via Sparrowpit, branched off the former Buxton to Whaley Bridge turnpike road. Constructed around 1821, and colloquially known as The Round House, a tollhouse was sited on the junction from where the keeper would collect the toll from travellers. With the old doorway bricked up, the tollhouse still stands on this road junction.

Chapel-en-le-Frith : Entry for the Jolly Carters in the Post-Office trade directory [1849]

In the early years of Queen Victoria's reign there were two public-houses near this road junction at Sandyway Head. From the evidence I have seen it would appear that the Spread Eagle was trading in the 1820s whereas records for the Jolly Carter do not seem to emerge until a little later. Certainly, by the 1840s the building was trading as the Jolly Carter or, as can be seen from the above extract taken from the post-office directory published in 1849, the Jolly Carters. The inn sign was an astute choice by the first publican as it allured to those carters and waggoners travelling along the turnpike. In addition, there were carters living at Sandyway Head. The census of 1851 records a general carter named John Green, along with Benjamin Goddard who seemingly only transported lime. Another entrepeneur also adopted the sign of the Jolly Carter when opening a beer house at Hague Bar near New Mills.

Born in the parish, Joseph Fox, the publican recorded in the post-office directory, had formerly worked as a farmer. He had married Martha Hulley in 1839. They lived at the Jolly Carter Inn with their two children, Sarah and Joseph. The latter would work with his father in later years when they both went to the quarry as lime getters. The census of 1861 recorded Joseph Fox as an innkeeper and lime getter. I am not sure if he led a gang in this line of work. It was standard practice in those days for men to work together as a gang, each being responsible for his own tools. They were possibly paid by the weight or volume of limestone quarried. Explosives helped with excavating the rock face of the quarry but from then on it was hard graft with whatever implements they deployed to exploit the calcium carbonate-infused limestone.

Although Joseph Fox's place of work is not recorded I would imagine that it was almost certainly at one of the quarries feeding the ironworks founded by Henry and Thomas Kirk. One such quarry was located a relatively short distance away, to the south of Blackbrook. A tramway was laid from the quarry to the ironworks at Townend.

Joseph Fox died in 1869, though I think he and his family had already moved to Dove Holes. By 1871 the Jolly Carter Inn was being run by John and Ann Hallam. At this time their rival for trade was trading as the Derby Hotel. There had been a blacksmith offering services to turnpike traffic at Sandyway Head but John Hallam brought victualling and the role of blacksmith all at one premises. However, after a short spell at the pub, the Sparrowpit-born hammer-wielder concentrated on his main trade, moving to a cottage a few doors down.

By 1876 Joseph Lomas was the licensee of the Jolly Carter Inn. Like the earlier publican, Joseph Fox, he had also spent some years working in quarries. He grew up at nearby Plumpton, from where his father worked as a quarry labourer. Like his brother Peter, he too went into the limestone quarry for his employment. However, following his marriage to Hannah Barnes, he upped sticks to operate the toll bar at Barmoor Clough.

In late November 1880 an inquest was held before the coroner at the Jolly Carter Inn following the death of the publican, Joseph Lomas. He was only 41-years-old but, from the evidence, had seemingly drank himself to death. The coroner was told that he had been drinking all the week up until his death on the Saturday night. For some days, it was disclosed, he had consumed nothing but liquors. On the Saturday afternoon, prior to his death, he had come down from his bed, gone into the cellar, drank a quantity of neat whiskey, and then retired back to bed, where some four hours later he was discovered in a dying state. Medical help was sent for but he died before assistance could be administered.

Hannah Lomas, wife of the publican, and better known as Fanny, told the coroner that her husband came home from his work on the Monday before his death and, though worse for drink, was quite well. However, she told of his drinking throughout the week. She had heard him come down the stairs and go down the cellar but she did not see him again until she had fetched the cows. From this one can assume that the Jolly Carter Inn formed part of a farm. When she found him in a dying state she went to the cellar and found a pint mug that reeked of whiskey. Martha Lomas, daughter of the licensee, gave similar evidence at the inquest, though she stated she did not hear him in the cellar. She was the person to go up to the bedroom by candlelight to find him at death's door.

The Coroner, in summing up the evidence, called it "a case of "dipsomania," a disease brought on by the use of stimulants, and which reach a worse form in women than men. It was brought on by the gradual and continued use of intoxicants, and when once the victim was in its power, he or she did not care what became of them, nor what they did, so long as they could obtain the drink to satisfy their insatiable thirst." A verdict of "Died from whiskey poisoning" was returned.¹

Widow, Fanny Lomas, left to fend for five children, continued as landlady of the Jolly Carter Inn. Eldest daughter Martha went to work at the local mill, William became a limestone quarry man, whilst John, though only 14, brought in additional income working as an iron moulder. The two youngest, Joe and Herbert, remained at school but would no doubt be given jobs to do in the pub or on the farm. Hannah Lomas remained as licensee until the 1890s when she, along with the children who had not flown the nest, moved to a house on Hayfield Road.

The licence of the Jolly Carter Inn was transferred to Thomas Bennett at the Petty Sessions held in March 1894. A farmer and publican, he and his wife Hannah had previously kept the Chapman Arms Inn at Hattersley in Cheshire. Thomas Bennett was, however, a son of Chapel-en-le-Frith, having been born in the town around 1828. They were at the Chapman Arms for quite a spell before which they lived in Edale where they kept a small farm. The couple were married at Castleton in 1854. They were getting on in years when moving into the Jolly Carter Inn. Thomas Bennett was seemingly a popular figure for when he died aged 72 in 1900 there was quite a funeral at Edale, the hearse and coaches being supplied by Mrs. Hyde of the King's Arms.

At the beginning of the Edwardian period Scottish-born former railway guard and signalman, Richard Graham. was running the Jolly Carter Inn along with his wife Barbara. He was summoned at the High Court by the builder Ezra Wilson for non-payment of work relating to the removal of the stable and carriage house of the Jolly Carter Inn. The fathers of both Richard Graham and Bugsworth-born Barbara Mellor had been publicans. In the late 1870s and early 1880s Richard and Barbara Graham were running the Sycamore Inn on Spinnerbottom at Birch Vale near New Mills.

By the end of the Edwardian period Frank Henry Pain was the licensee of the Jolly Carter Inn. He followed quite a circuitous route to find himself at the house on Sandyway Head. He was born in the Shropshire village of Dudleston early in 1871. His Somerset-born father was the schoolmaster in the village. His elder sister Mary was also the schoolmistress. Their mother, also called Annie was recorded as an imbecile in 1881. There were quite a few women called Annie in the life of the publican. He married Mary Annie Tinsley on the Isle of Man in May 1894. Quite how they met is a mystery as Frank Pain flew under the radar somewhat. She was the daughter of Edward Tinsley, of Plas Fynnon in Shropshire. Frank Pain was already living on Derby Road at Douglas when they tied the knot at the Church of Saint Barnabus. Frank Pain was recorded as a widower in the 1911 census which listed him at the Jolly Carter Inn, along with his sister Mary Annie Hassall [yes another Mary Annie], the former schoolmistress being herself a widow. Her two daughters also lived on the premises.

Frank Pain appeared in court in July 1912 following an ugly incident at the Jolly Carter Inn. It was one of two cases heard at the Police Court. In the first hearing, Daniel Harding, of Barmoor Clough, was charged with being drunk on Buxton Road on the previous June 26th. He admitted the offence, telling the magistrates that "he had had a lot of trouble at home. For a week he had not slept, and had not been to bed." He added that "since he lost his eye in an accident it did not take much to make him drunk, he ought not to drink at all."

The magistrates moved on to the second case in which Police-Sergeant Cosgrove stated "that in consequence of complaints he went to the Jolly Carter and there saw Daniel Harding lying on the ground outside the door. The landlord, Frank Pain, was evidently speaking to him. Harding was very drunk. He had a cut over his right eye, which was bleeding, and his nose was also bleeding." The officer went on to say that the landlord of the Jolly Carter "complained that the defendant would not leave the house, and Daniel Harding complained that the landlord had "chucked him out." He asked Harding where he had got his drink from to be so drunk, and he said from the Jolly Carter." He added that "Harding's son came up, and he allowed him to take his father home, otherwise he would have had to lock him up."

The result of this incident led to Frank Pain being charged with permitting drunkenness and selling drink to a drunken person. Mr. Walker, the legal representative for the police, stated that "the house was owned by Taylor's Eagle Brewery. That was important, because he had in his possession a bottle of beer of Eagle's Brewery, and this was the only house in the district where that beer could be purchased." Sergeant Cosgrove, having repeated the evidence he gave in the previous case, added that "when he got up to the Jolly Carter the landlord said he wanted him to remove Harding, who would not go away." The policeman also stated that "the landlord further said he had been down Chapel, and when he came back Harding was in the house drunk. Harding, however, said that the landlord would not give him the beer that he paid for. Pain said Harding had had no drink there, but Harding said he had, and that Pain's sister had supplied him."

The police officer told Frank Pain that he was going to report the matter to Superintendent Durkan, when the landlord asserted, "You might look over it this time, and let him go." The sergeant told the Bench that "a man named Fred Yates complained to him about what was going on at the Jolly Carter, and handed him two bottles. One contained Eagle Brewery beer, and the other whisky. The Jolly Carter was the only place in this district where Eagle beer could be obtained."

Frank Pain had a reason for wanting the matter to be "looked over" as it would have stopped further investigations. This would be revealed in court when Sydney Bainbridge, of Shaw Heath, Stockport, stated "he was passing the Jolly Carter when he heard a loud noise. He went to see that it was, and saw the landlord putting Harding out." Bainbridge told the court that "He simply toppled him head over heels, and was very rough." He remarked that "Harding said something about not having the beer he paid for, against his advice, he went back again. He heard Harding ask for the beer he had paid for, and Pain said it was in his pocket when he went out, and that he would knock his other eye up if he did not go." Sydney Bainbridge looked around, and saw the bottle of beer lying near the door step. He thought if it would settle the bother he would take the beer to them. In his evidence he said that "he then he heard a tremendous crash, and saw Harding lying in the passage inside the door. He was bleeding very much." Bainbridge stated that "Pain gave Harding a tremendous blow in the face, and knocked him spinning out of the premises." He told the publican that "it was a shame that he should abuse a man like that when he had patronised him so well." The publican repeated that he had not bought the beer in the Jolly Carter despite the witness pointing out that it was Eagle Brewery beer.

Another witness, Frederick James Yates, a local farmer, stated that "he saw Harding come tumbling out of the Jolly Carter. He was very drunk, and bleeding in the face."

Daniel Harding, the customer who was ill-treated by the publican stood up to give evidence in court. He stated that "he called at the Jolly Carter at five minutes to eight in the morning, and had a small peppermint. Afterwards, he had three beers in Chapel, and went back to the Jolly Carter at a quarter to eleven. He was then sober. He remained in the Jolly Carter until half-past two. He asked for a glass of beer, and one shilling's worth of whisky. He was supplied by Miss Pain, defendant's sister. He went to sleep, and did not remember anything until he was struck by somebody. When he left home he had 12s. 10d., and he got 18s. 8d. in Chapel. He lent a friend 5s., and when he left the Jolly Carter he had only a halfpenny in his pocket." As a result he alleged that he had been robbed. Note: the Miss Pain he mentioned was in fact Mary Annie Hassall.

Frank Pain stoutly denied that Daniel Harding had got drunk on his premises and that he was never asleep in the house. However the Bench were having none of it. For permitting drunkenness the publican was fined £2 and costs, including £2 2s. for the advocate's fee. There was no conviction in the charge of selling to a drunken person. For being drunk in Buxton Road, Daniel Harding was fined 10s., including costs.²

The fine imposed on Frank Pain was not the real issue for the owners of the Jolly Carter. There was a real threat to the licence of the house because of this sorry affair. I do not know if the brewery gave Frank Pain his marching orders but within a few months, in September, the licence was transferred to William Millner. By this time Frank Pain had announced his intention to sail for New Zealand. The Buxton Herald reported that "his many friends in Chapel-en-le-Frith and district will wish him every success in his new sphere of labour." ³ I am not so sure that Daniel Harding was sorry to see the departure of the publican.

Within days of the court case being published Mary Annie Hassall, sister of the publican, sailed with her family on the Royal George, of the Royal Line, which left Bristol on July 10th 1912 bound for Quebec. This was one of the first crossings of the Atlantic for the vessel purchased and refitted by the Canadian Northern Steamships of Toronto. The Glasgow-built ocean liner had previously sailed as the SS Heliopolis.⁴

Advertisement for Joseph Taylor, Ale and Porter Brewer of the Eagle Brewery at Chorlton-upon-Medlock

As can be seen in the court case of July 1912, the Jolly Carter was operated by Taylor's Eagle Brewery Limited, a firm that was based on the corner of Lloyd Street and Burlington Street at Chorlton-upon-Medlock, though officially recorded as Greenheys. However, there is a Derbyshire connection as the founder, Joseph Taylor was born at Wensley around 1825. After working at the Dolphin Brewery on Jenkinson Street, it is thought that he started his own enterprise in 1849.⁵ The beers were either fantastic or Joseph Taylor was an exceptional businessman for the growth of the firm was rapid. Taylor's Eagle Brewery Limited was registered in February 1888, with Joseph Taylor and his son, also named Joseph, on the board of directors. The company operated around 60 public-houses when the brewery was sold in in 1924. They continued in a form that would now be called a pubco. That business was acquired by Marston, Thompson & Evershed Ltd. in 1958.⁶ However, the Jolly Carter Inn did not follow this path as Taylor's Eagle Brewery Limited relinquished their interest in the premises. The pub became part of the tied-estate of Bell & Co. Ltd., of the Hempshaw Brook Brewery in Stockport. The company's livery can be seen on the Jolly Carter below.

Chapel-en-le-Frith : The Jolly Carter Hotel on Buxton Road [c.1937]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

I believe the photograph dates from the mid-1930s. The inn sign displays that the premises boasted hotel status. Buses stopped outside the house, a timetable being displayed by the North Western Road Car Company, a bus operator based in Stockport but with garages in towns such as Buxton. The timetable was secured to the outside wall of the rather rudimentary ladies' lavatory. At least they had a roof! Such luxury was not afforded to the gents facility accessed via the gate. Slowly replaced or improved in the post-war years, I feel some bizarre form of nostalgia for outdoor toilets. Many public-houses retained the outdoor experience in the 1970s but, sadly, most have now vanished.

Bottled Beer Label for Strong Ale by Bell & Co. Ltd., of the Hamshaw Brook Brewery at Stockport

In the decade before the above photograph was captured tragedy visited the house again when the licensee, George Henry Kean, was killed in a car accident when returning to the Jolly Carter from the New Inn at Rangemore, a tavern kept by his aunt. It was in the early hours of Sunday July 17th, 1927, that he died when a car overturned on Collycroft Hill near Ashbourne. At the inquest, held at Clifton Methodist Chapel, the driver of the car, George Anthony Hallam, of Chinley, a motor driver, employed by Messrs. J. T. Cresswell, also of Chinley, said he was engaged to take a party from Chinley station to Chapel-en-le-Frith on the Saturday afternoon. He told the coroner that he "put the party down at the Jolly Carter Inn, of which the deceased was the licensee, and George Keen engaged him to take a party to the New Inn, at Rangemoor, near Burton-on-Trent, which was kept by the deceased's aunt. They started out 10.30 p.m. and arrived at the New Inn at 1.30 a.m." He stated that the party stayed at the New Inn for half-an-hour to an hour, but he was not quite sure of the exact time they started back. He also stated that he only had two glasses of beer at the New Inn. He said that he had never been through the district before and it was a dark night. George Kean apparently sat next to him and gave directions, though the driver was rather doubtful about the road.

George Hallam stated that "after he had been driving for about an hour he felt a slight pull to the right and took his right hand off the steering wheel to apply the hand brake, the foot brakes being already on." The driver told the coroner that he "was unable pull round quick enough with his left hand and the car turned over on its side." From his continued evidence it transpired that he had not seen a bend in the road as he descended Collycroft Hill. The were six people in the vehicle, a Crossley landaulette that weighed two tons. They managed to climb out of the vehicle but the publican was trapped underneath. They attempted to move the vehicle but it was too heavy for them. When the police arrived on the scene there were enough people to move the vehicle but it was too late for George Keen who was found dead.

The Coroner, police inspector and the doctor attending the scene all agreed that George Hallam, despite having two beers, was fit to drive and it was agreed that it was simply an accident. The foreman of the jury stated that they were of the opinion that it was a pure accident and the driver was exonerated from blame. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned. It was a different world back then. I wondered why they would make such a journey at that time of night, especially as they only stayed at the New Inn for a very short visit.

Great sympathy was expressed at the passing of George Keen, a man who had worked as a barrister's clerk for many years.

Licensees of the Jolly Carter Inn

1849 - Joseph Fox
1871 - John Hallam
1876 - Joseph Lomas
1876 - Hannah Lomas
1895 - Thomas Bennett
1910 - Frank Henry Pain
1912 - Alfred B. Watson
1925 - James Ruehorn
1927 - George Henry Keen
1932 - Alfred Barker Walton
1941 - William Hadfield
Note : this is not a complete list of licensees for this pub. The dates of early licensees are sourced from trade directories, census data, electoral rolls, rate books and newspaper articles. Names taken from trade directories may be slightly inaccurate as there is some slippage from publication dates and the actual movement of people.

Unicorn of Robinson's Brewery at Stockport

Chapel-en-le-Frith : Cyclist on hill climb event passing the Jolly Carter on Buxton Road [c.1947]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

I think this photograph dates from the post-war years. The pub, which had gained a pictorial inn sign, was still displaying the livery of Bell & Co. Ltd.. In April 1949, the company, along with its tied-estate of public-houses was acquired by their local rivals, Frederic Robinson Limited.

The cyclist is seemingly competing in an event, possibly a hill climb test. Judging by his heavyweight gloves and the overcoats worn by the spectators, it was a chilly day. The cyclist is not looking too distressed so I assume he has simply come up the Buxton Road which has a fairly easy gradient. He wouldn't have been grinning as much if he had just climbed Peaslows - unless his recovery rate was off the scale! Typical cyclists ... holding their event when the pub was not open!

1. "Shocking Death From Whiskey Poisoning" : Derbyshire Courier; December 4th 1880. p.8.
2. "Story Of A Publican And His Customer" : Buxton Herald; July 10th 1912. p.7.
3. "Off To New Zealand" : Buxton Herald; September 18th 1912. p.6.
4. "RMS Royal George" : Ships Nostalgia website []; Accessed December 12th 2023. p.6.
5. Gall, A. "Manchester Breweries No.21" in "What's Doing"; January 1981. pp.12-3.
6. Barber, N. "A Century Of British Brewers" : Brewery History Society; 1994. p.63.
7. "Car Overturns" : Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal; July 22nd 1927. p.28.

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Related Newspaper Articles

"At the Chapel-en-le-Frith Police Court on Thursday Sarah Mellor, Sandyway Head, near Chapel-en-le-Frith, summoned William Watson, blacksmith, of Fairfield, Buxton, landlord of the Horseshoe Inn, for assaulting her at Sandyway Head on the 30th of August. Complainant said that her sons had just gone into the Jolly Carter near to divide their money when she saw defendant drive up in a trap. There were two other men with him, namely Benjamin Simpson and William Arthur Dakin. She saw Watson and Simpson go into the inn, and then Watson came out and asked Dakin to go in and fight her sons. On hearing this she followed asked them to be quiet, upon which Watson struck her on the side, and nearly knocked her down. She had given him no provocation. Before the Bench decided this case they heard the summons taken out by Dakin against Mrs. Mellor's sons, John and Thomas, for assaulting him on the same occasion. Dakin said he went in and John Mellor attacked him and threw him down and kicked him in the eye, and while he was down the other man also kicked him. He had had to lie in bed for a week. He had had no quarrel with them, but they had threatened him for nine years owing to a quarrel their father and he had at that time. Witnesses were called to prove that Dakin, Watson, and Simpson were all drunk, and that Dakin struck Mellor first, and that his eye was hurt by falling against the form. They had made a mistake in summoning Thomas Mellor, as he took no part in the fray; it was another brother, viz., William Watson was fined 40s. for assaulting Mrs. Mellor, and the other case was dismissed."
"A Fracas"
Derbyshire Daily Telegraph : September 12th 1879 Page 2

"Ezra Wilson, joiner, of Bamford, sued Richard Graham of the Jolly Carter Inn, Chapel-en-le-Frith, for the sum of £34 debt, and costs of an action in the High Court, when a judgement was obtained against defendant. Mr. Woodman, solicitor, appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. A. Walker, solicitor, of New Mills, for the defendant, who was not present owing to indisposition. Plaintiff stated that the £34 was owing on work done and materials supplied to defendant, and the costs of the High Court action. The work consisted of the taking down of a stable and carriage house at Hayfield, and removing and fixing up the same at Bamford for the purpose of carrying on a meat business. Cross-examined, he said he did not know that there were other creditors in the Edale district of the firm of Graham and Swindells. He had never seen any business done on these premises. The Jolly Carter, he believed, was in Graham's wife's name. Judgment was made for payment within 10 days, the order being suspended for a month."
"The Removal Of Stables"
Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter
April 18th 1902 Page 7

"An accident occurred on Tuesday morning to Mr. James Shatwell, of Plumpton near Dove Holes. He was driving through Barmoor Clough on the way to the Station, with milk, when the horse must have taken fright, and he was thrown from the trap. The unfortunate man was picked up unconscious and taken into his sister's house, the Jolly Carter Inn. Dr. Greenhough attended him, and upon examination found that there were no bones broken, but Mr. Shatwell had sustained a somewhat severe shock."
"Thrown From A Trap"
Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter
May 1st 1903 Page 8

"Police diversions were put into operation at Chapel-en-le-Frith today when about 1,000 residents took part in a protest march to draw attention to the need of a bypass for the A6 trunk road which passes through the town. Small delays to traffic lasted about an hour as the protestors marched from Long Lane to the Jolly Carter Inn. A police spokesman said that there were no serious problems."
"Protestors Call For A6 Bypass"
Derbyshire Daily Telegraph : July 18th 1970 Page 10

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