Hostelry history

Garstang and the villages near the town have plenty of pubs which remain centres of socialising and refreshment.
In past times there used to be even more. This page will take a look at the history of some of both the current pubs and those that have either been demolished or put to other uses.
About four years ago The Garstang Partnership issued an attractive leaflet detailing the history of the town's hostelries.

The Cathouse. A small clutch of thatched, whitewashed dwellings could once be found at the top of Moss Lane and fronting what we now call Parkside Lane – in the area now occupied by C&C supplies. The largest of these premises was an ancient ale house known as The Cathouse. Its title seems to have given the small hamlet its name. ‘Cathouse’ is rather obscure, but it is thought that during the 16th and 17th Centuries that the name ‘Cat’ was used as a nickname for a whore.... and a Cathouse was where their ‘services’ could be procured! The old pub was demolished about 1898 and replaced by a new Cathouse Inn. This was demolished as recently as 1989. Even now, the old name still survives, though the hamlet has long since disappeared. (This information is extracted from the leaflet mentioned above).
The following article on the topic of Garstang's pubs and their history is taken from a 2005 report issued by Lancashire County Council entitled 'Lancashire Historic Town Survey Programme: Garstang.'
Garstang almost certainly had inns and taverns serving visitors to the market and fairs from at least the sixteenth century onwards, but no documents were noted which record them. The earliest building known to have been a pub was the Brown Cow, which had a datestone of 1685 (Hewitson 1900, 63). 
A number of coaching inns and public houses existed by the eighteenth century (Rothwell 1990, 3) but again there is very little documentary evidence concerning them. Many of the public houses known to have existed in the nineteenth century had already been established by the late eighteenth century.
Their relative proliferation is another example of Garstang’s eighteenth-century commercial importance. In 1794 the following public houses were in existence:
the Royal Oak (also the post and excise office), the Eagle and Child, the King’s Head, the Golden Ball, the Pack Horse, the George and Dragon, the Bowling Alley, the Shovel and Broom, the Blue Anchor and the Brown Cow (Anon 1794, 144-5). 
By 1829 the Wheatsheaf Inn was also listed (Pigot 1829, 90), and today it occupies an eighteenth-century building ( In 1840 most of the eighteenth-century pubs were still in existence, but new or renamed pubs included the Horns, the Swan, the Red Lion and the Fleece Inn – a miserable dilapidated building (LRO P144/3).
Almost all of the public houses had their own brewhouses, and many had stabling, coach houses and other outbuildings (LRO P144/3).
Even so, such was the demand for coaching accommodation that a large stable block called Rochdale House, with accommodation for ostlers, was built on the north west corner of Lancaster Road (Tetlow 2001, 19).
The decline in the coaching trade in the later nineteenth century is physically demonstrated by the removal of this building between 1847 and 1890 (OS 1847 1:10,560; OS 1893 1:2500). In the later nineteenth century two additional inns opened, the Crown and the Kenlis Arms Hotel (Slater 1879, 257), the latter at Garstang and Catterall Station.