Plans to demolish the “Old Hare and Hounds” pub in Breightmet, Bolton

There has been a planning application made to demolish the “Old Hare and Hounds” pub in Breightmet, Bolton. Local residents have been campaigning to save it but it has been empty since 2008 so it does not seem to have much of a chance for survival.

The “Old H & H” has been a key focal point in Breightmet since the 1700s and two generations of my family were landlords from about 1770. It is strange in this day and age to see that the sale of spirits was of course expressly forbidden :

“ Twelfth Day of September; in the Year of our Lord, one Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty six. We His Majesty”s Justices of the Peace for the said county acting in and for the said Division (whereof one is of the Quorum) do at this General Meeting, under our Hands and Seals, allow and licence Josiah Phethean at the Hare and Hounds, Brightmet, in the said Division or Hundred, and County, to keep a common Ale-house ….. … to utter and sell Bread and other Victuals, Beer, Ale, and other excisable Liquors, by Retail; except Brandy, Rum, Arrack, Usquebaugh, Geneva, Aqua-Vitae, and all other Distill”d Spirituous Liquors, and Strong Waters, unmixed or mixed with themselves or any other Ingredients, and by whatsoever name or names they are or may be called. “

In addition to being an “ale house” proprietor and licensed victualler , Josiah Phethean was also a papermaker; local magistrate/JP; Overseer of the Poor and and reputedly proprietor of the Toothill Bridge bleachworks – which is enterprising to say the least !

Some of these duties were also carried out by Josiah’s eldest son Joseph. Joseph succeeded, on the death of his mother, Alice Phethean (1806), as tenant of the Old Hare and Hounds:

“To the Worshipful the magistrates of Bolton.- We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being respectable and substantial House Holders in the Township
of Brightmet, in the County of Lancaster, do hereby certify unto his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, acting in and for the Division of Bolton, in the said county, that Joseph Phethean, at the Hare and Hounds, in Brightmet aforesaid, is a person of good fame, sober life and conversation, and very fit to keep a Public House.- Brightmet, Sep. 12th, 1807.”

This seemed to start a tradition of publicans in my family – at The Old H & H; The Blue Boar in Deansgate; The Church Hotel, Crook St; The Boat House (Little Lever); The Fleece, Bradshawgate; The Boar’s Head, Churchgate (by marriage) and an unknown establishment in Ainsworth to name but a few. Sadly the tradition in my direct line of the family died out in 1907!

If the “Old H & H” does get demolished, as seems likely, it will be a sad day. From those early times Joseph and his brother John Phethean became involved in the counterpane weaving business. Subsequently the family became cotton millers and spinners first in Bolton and then later in the 19thC at Moses Gate, managing to keep John Phethean & Co Ltd running until 1932 against all odds.

9 thoughts on “Plans to demolish the “Old Hare and Hounds” pub in Breightmet, Bolton

  1. i am very surprised the pub it not listed .and will be upset when it is pulled down as this is a part of Breightmet history and was part off the first buildings to be built hear.Maybe Bolton council should pull down The Old Man and Scythe to as this would be an ideal place for flats too. What a shame to take such an old and historic building away but Bolton council don’t care how local people feel about there own history.

  2. My great, great, great grandmother was MARGARET ( PEGGY ) PHETHEAN and she married JOHN HARDCASTLE – and they ran The Boar’s Head, Churchgate, Bolton
    as did their son JOSIAH HARDCASTLE who was born there – as was my great grandfather JOHN HARDCASTLE, who was an Iron Turner – not a publican – father of my grandmother ANNIE HARDCASTLE

    The Boar’s Head has been demolished, and I have been able to find only a little about it – more information would be very welcome.

    Brian Taylor

    1. Hi Brian,
      I’m afraid I don’t know anything about The Boar’s Head either! I have however added some of your comments regarding births at The Boar’s Head to the family tree so the web version will get updated at some stage soon.
      There is a photo of The Boar’s Head here

    2. Boar’s Head was a Greenhall Whitley pub in the early 1970s when it was the underage pub for Thornleigh and Mt. st. Joseph’s sixthformers.

      Historically it was where the Court Leet for I think Little Bolton met (even though it was in Great Bolton) before Bolton Council was incorporated in 1835

  3. Thank you very much for the picture of The Boar’s Head – very grateful

    I am having a day in the Bolton Archives in just over a week’s time – if I discover anything more I will let you know


  4. Permission is currently being sought from Bolton Council to transform the former Hare and Hounds pub in Bury Road, Breightmet, into a mixed residential and trade building. The council is aiming to reach a decision by April 16. See the article in the Bolton News

  5. I believe that my great great grandparents ran this pub, in the early 1800’s? They were called Walmsley. My great grandmother was Betsy Walmsley but I don’t know the parents’ names at this stage.

    Any information would be helpful.

    1. The Boar’s Head Inn on the north side of Churchgate was was demolished in 1998. The demolition site was included other buildings and a much larger pub was built on the same site known as the The Varsity, now called Hogarth’s.The only evidence for Roman activity in Bolton comes from a fragment of Roman pottery found during archaeological excavations at the site of the former Boar’s Head Inn.

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