Pennwood Lane

The Old Stags Head

The pub was in existence in 1818 when the licensee was William Toft. It is listed under the name Stags Head in W. Parson and T. Bradshaw's 1818 edition of their Staffordshire General and Commercial Diectory. In 1834 it was a beerhouse at the top of Pennwood Lane, by the road leading to Penn Common. The licensee at the time was Thomas Nicholls. It was originally known as The Stags Head, then The Stags Head Inn, then The Stags Head and finally in about 1891 The Old Stags Head.

It was once part of the Penn Hall Estate which was sold in 1899. The licensee at the time was George Smith. In 1923 the building was greatly altered. The architect was A. H. Dickenson. Alterations included moving the entrance to the middle of the building and the conversion of the tap room into a women’s and children’s room.

The pub car park opposite, was once a field that belonged to the Lloyd Estate, which was sold-off in 1901:

In 1970 the building was extended and the bar and smoke room were knocked into one. The women’s and children’s room became the bar. In about 2008 the dining room at the western end of the building was extended.

The Old Stags Head on a cold day in 2007 before the western extension was built.

Pulling a pint at the bar. Courtesy of Lawson Cartwright.

Annie and Ernest Bennett behind the bar. Ernest Bennett was licensee from about 1960 to 1963. They lived there with their two young children. Courtesy of Paul Bennett.

The Old Stags Head in 2010, after the extension had been built.

The interior of the new extension.

The pub was well known for its quality food and extra large portions. At the time, the pub was run by Barry and Marlene Benton who were Banks's longest serving publicans, working for 43 years with the brewery, including 32 years at The Old Stags Head. They were very popular with customers. Barry, an avid horse racing fan, renamed the lounge in 1979, after Penwood Forge Mill, the famous horse who won the King George V Gold Cup and the European championships. The horse was from Fred Hartill's stables, 100 yards down the road at Mount Farm.

Barry Benton died in 2010 at the age of 64 and Marlene ran The Old Stags Head for about a year. After her retirement, the business began to suffer. The pub closed in 2014, reopened the same year, then closed again in 2016. It opened again before the year was out, but sadly closed in 2018.

The Old Stags Head in 2017.

Penn Almshouses

The the early 17th century, Penn Hall was occupied by Dr. Raphael Sedgwick and his wife Anne. Ann died in 1728 and left her estates to her husband. In her will she left her property to him, and stated that he should form a charity for the poor of the parish. Doctor Sedgwick died in 1747 and in line with his late wife's wishes, stated in his will that five almshouses should be built out of the proceeds of the estate and then kept in good repair. The will also stated that each year £25 should be paid to the vicar and wardens, to be divided equally between the occupants of the almshouses.

Thomas Bradney inherited the estate, but was unwilling to carry out Raphael Sedgwick's instructions regarding the almshouses. Eventually the local parishioners took him to court over the matter and the almshouses were built in 1761.

They were modernised in 1958 and bathrooms were added. They were again renovated in 1962 and again in 1981.

The almshouses.

The plaque on the front wall.

Mount Farm

Mount Farm was part of the Lloyd Estate until 1901 when it was sold to Frank Howard Jeavons for £1,750. At that time it was farmed by Mr. E. Beddard and covered over 25 acres.

From the Lloyd Estate sales brochure.

The farmhouse in 1901. From the Lloyd Estate sales brochure.

From the Lloyd Estate sales brochure.

From the Lloyd Estate sales brochure.

For many years the farm was occupied and worked by the Goad family. In the 1940s and 1950s F. W. Goad ran the farm. Barrell Price and his sons, who lived in the cottages opposite the almshouses, worked on the farm, where a large amount of hay was produced each year.

Fred Hartill bought Mount Farm and had a saddlery and stables there which became Pennwood stables riding school. Mr. Harthill and his daughter Valerie, and their employees helped many people learn to ride and look after horses.

The stables are remembered for their most famous occupant, Pennwood Forge Mill who became one of the leading showjumpers in the 1970s. He was trained and rode by Paddy McMahon and had an exceptional career, both at home and abroad. In 1973 they won the European Championships and became stars, both at show jumping events and on television. Thousands of enthusiasts joined the Forge Mill fan club and when the horse retired after the 1979 Royal International Horse Show, they began a new career making public appearances and meeting fans from all over the world. Valerie Hartill rode the horse every day until he sadly died of colic. Part of the stables still remains.

Mount farmhouse in 2020.

The remaining part of the stables in 2020.

Pennwood Lane on a cold winter's day, looking towards Pennwood Cottage. Courtesy of Lawson Cartwright.

Pennwood Cottage. Next door to the Barley Mow pub.

The Barley Mow

It began as a farm cottage built in 1630. By 1851 it had a beerhouse license and was run by Alan Pitt. The pub has been owned by Frank Myatt Limited and then Ansells Limited. In both the 1871 and 1881 census, the licensee was Edward Davies who was born in Madeley and had been a moulder. He lived there with his wife Mary and his son, also called Edward. Unfortunately Edward senior died on Penn Common in May 1882.

John Read later became licensee and was followed by William Lloyd-Roberts. In the 1901 census the licensee was John Causer. Other licensees have included William Henry Priest, M.  T. Ward, Simon Hinks and Roger Paul and Rachel Faye Bridgwater. In 2009 it was Wolverhampton CAMRA's Staffordshire Pub of the Year.

The Barley Mow in the 1940s. From an old postcard.

A more recent view. Courtesy of Lawson Cartwright.

The Barley Mow in 2013, after the extension had been built..

The interior in 2017.

The bar in 2017.

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