Public Houses / existing before 1800 / licensed up to 1860 / licensed 1860 to 1870 / built after 1870 / Dog and Otter / Victoria Hotel

Dog and Otter

Now on the north-eastern edge of urban Great Harwood the Dog and Otter was for much of its existence relatively separate from the built up area of the town as the map of 1912 below shows. Four generations of the Hindle family were involved with land associated with the pub and it was possibly the first public house in the town owned outright by someone other then the Nowells or Heskeths.

Map of Cliffe, Great Harwood

Although the Dog and Otter would not come into being for almost another 90 years, in 1717 Thomas Hindle, then about 46 years old, leased land close by called Ryley's Tenement. The lease was for a term of three lives, quite usual for land in Great Harwood at this time, namely his own, that of his elder son William born circa 1707 and his younger son Thomas born circa 1709.1It seems likely the sons, or at least William, retained the land until William's son, Thomas, renewed the lease.

Modern map showing position of Ryleys Tenement at Cliffe

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey
and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.


This latest Thomas was baptised in April 1738 when his father, William, is shown as a plodweaver at Cliffe. He married Ellen, daughter of Lawrence Walmsley Innkeeper at the Queen's Head, in 1760. They had three daughters, Ann baptised August 1769, by which time Thomas was himself the Innkeeper, Peggy baptised March 1772 and Ellen baptised June1774.2

In September 1774 Thomas renewed the lease on Ryley's Tenement which was a messuage and "the several closes and parcels of land thereto belonging commonly called and known by the names of the Bowleys and the Croft ......... containing six acres two roods and thirty seven perches of ground or thereabouts" at a yearly rent of 11s 4d (56 1/2 p) plus another £5 extra for each acre ploughed.3From a map of 17634 Ryley's Tenement seems to have comprised fields along Dean Lane while the Croft was along what is now Westcliffe (areas edged red). If this information is correct then the area was measured in customary acres and equates to approximately 11 statute acres. The term of the lease, from Sir Thomas Hesketh, was again for three lives, Thomas himself then aged 35, his uncle Thomas aged 555and John Smalley who was five years old.

Photo of the rear of Dog and Otter

Thomas was still Innkeeper at the Queen's Head when his son, Thomas (what else?), was baptised in January 1777.6In July that year he leased a cottage and one rood of waste at Cliffe for 14s (70p) per year, at some point he also leased Dobson's Tenement a farm of almost nine acres7on Blackburn Old Road. Then in November 1805 Thomas bought 340 square yards of land at Cliffe from Sir Thomas Dalrymple Hesketh for £100 and a ground rent of £1 8s 4d (£1.41 1/2) per year. The sale document says that "on the said plot a dwelling house has lately been erected and is now used as a public house ".8This was, or became, the Dog and Otter. The photograph right shows the main building was erected in at least two phases and it is not known for certain how much of it was standing in 1805; the semi-circular part is a modern extension.


There were restrictions in the sale document among which were:

Thomas Hindle will:


maintain and keep ........................ one or more messuage or dwelling house messuages or dwelling houses of brick or stone set with lime or mortar and covered with slates, the boundary walls thereof being at least 9 inches in thickness, .................

flag or pave one yard of the whole front of said parcel and keep in repair

Thomas Hindle his assigns or heirs are not to:


thatch any buildings ..............................

take apprentice(s) that may gain settlement .................................

employ in manufacture any who or whose families maybe a burden to the town

The area of 340 square yards was

" all that plot piece or parcel of waste land called the Cliff containing on the north 13 yards thereabout 3/10 th and on the south 26 yards or thereabouts making together 340 superficial square yards ................
bounded on the north by a small yard walled in on the south by a small meadow croft held by John Howarth ---------- on the east by a field in lease to Alexander Mercer and on the west by the Turnpike Road.

The Bury, Haslingden, Blackburn and Whalley Turnpike Trust was not responsible for repairing the road passing the Dog and Otter but as a busy thoroughfare connecting the Toll Road to Longridge, Salmesbury and Ribchester it may have been kept in good repair with the town's share of the tolls taken at Harwood Bar. An increase in traffic climbing the Cliffe after the Turnpike was opened might have led Thomas to believe that there was enough custom for another public house only yards away from the Grey Horse.

Ryley's Tenement was still leased by Thomas Hindle and in 1810 it was sublet to John Astley for £30 per year along with the public house, then occupied by Nicholas Brooks, for another £30 per year.9 Under the lease, amongst other things, Astley had to keep the property in good repair and paint the window frames white but he was not allowed to plough the land without permission, except for ploughing in the previous year's stubble, showing there was still arable farming in the town. This lease was for seven years but Thomas Hindle died in 1814, part way through it, his leasehold lands and the freehold Dog and Otter being willed to his wife, Ellen.10 William Thompson, son of the Hindles' daughter Ann, took over the pub and at least some of the land after John Astley's lease came to an end and in 1818 Ellen Hindle passed on the pub and leasehold lands to her surviving daughters Peggy Clegg and Ellen Rawcliffe.11

It has been suggested that the pub was given its name because James Lomax, Lord of the Manor after 1838, was a keen otter hunter. In the lease of 1810, however, when James would be only 6 or 7 years old and Sir Thomas Dalrymple Hesketh was still the major landowner in Great Harwood it is already called the "Dog and Otter Inn". A more likely explanation is that the name was taken from a "sport" already established in the area and who knows but James may have taken up this pastime after seeing the pub's name.

In 1819 the messuage and land on lease to Thomas Hindle's heirs cost them £1 5s 4d (£1.26 1/2 p) a year while the waste land was 15s (75p) which seems a remarkably small sum when they were subletting the land for £30 per annum but this may be because some of the land was being ploughed and attracting the extra £5 per acre due to the land owner. The Dog and Otter itself was only subject to the perpetual rent of £1 8s 4d. Also in the same year an inventory of fixtures in the Lomax Estate Rent Book12suggests the pub had a similar layout to the plan of circa 1900 shown below and that the building, if not complete in 1805, was finished quite soon after opening as a pub.

Fixtures at the Dog and Otter

Oven, boiler, fire grate and ash grate.

Great parlour - Stove Grate

Little Parlour - Stove Grate

Snug - Common Grate

Large Room - Common Grate

Front Bed Room - Stove Grate

The Large Room would be the upstairs Club Room which would have been quite an attraction to the locals for while the other hostelries in the town would be little more than farm houses where people could buy beer and meet their friends the Dog and Otter gave over half its upper floor to a space where people could meet as a group away from other customers. It might not have been darts and dominoes but it would have served the publican in the same way and could have been where John Mercer, Great Harwood's most prominent son, and his choir practiced13and no doubt they "had a couple" afterwards. This innovation possibly makes the Dog and Otter the first purpose built pub in the town too.

John Sourbutts was the tenant in 1825 and Richard Loynd in 1828, he appears to have moved across the road from the Grey Horse, but in 1834 the pub was sold by Thomas and Ellen's daughters for £355 and the remainders of the leases on the other lands for £170 to Richard Grimshaw Lomax. The pub was occupied by William Noble14at this time paying £38 rent but this was increased to £60 in 1835.15

The link between the Dog and Otter and farming continued until the end of the nineteenth century with tenants listed in censuses or directories as:

James Worden 1841 - 1861 Innkeeper and farmer of 16 acres.

Moses Birtwistle 1878 farmer and victualler.

James Morris 1881 - 1894 Publican and farmer of 7 acres.


Land was still attached to the pub's leases up till 1921.

On 2nd February 1895 a lease for 21 years was taken by Messrs. A. Nuttall and Co., Lion Brewery, Blackburn, for the Dog and Otter Inn and Farm which was then 26 acres 1 rood 36 perches, the yearly rent for the pub being £110 and for the land £39-13s-6d (£39.67 1/2 p). The farm lost four acres to the Cliffe Quarry in 1896 and this company's lease was assigned to the Cliffe Quarry Brick and Terra Cotta Co., Ltd. from June 1897 where James Hull was the manager in 1900 and J. H. Fenwick the secretary. The brick works' chimneys were mentioned as land marks in "Pleasant Walks Around Blackburn, with Observations By The Way, Illustrated By Pen and Camera" by Thos. Johnson published in the early 1900s but this was a short lived venture, the Alsprings Estate Farm Rent Ledger noting in1904 "This tenancy now ceases, Quarry now unlet, not being worked"16

Edmund Berry was the Landlord of the pub in 1897 and William Robinson in 1900 but neither of these describes themselves as farmers.

Below is the pub layout of about 190017and probably differs little from the building of 1819 if not earlier.

Plan of Dog and Otter cellar with dimensions


The dimensions of the cellar equate to an area above it comprising the bar, snug and the parlour at the rear of the property, these are now the kitchen, and it appears to have two sets of stairs.
It would seem that the "lower" set were built at the same time as the cellar as they are set into a stair well with an archway giving entry at the bottom. These stairs may have been wooden, the broken lines perhaps showing broken steps by the early 20th century, and no trace of them remains but the top three steps were of stone built into the walls. The later steps have been driven through the substantial cellar wall.


Photo of the Dog and Otter cellar







From the present steps there's nothing to suggest what's behind the curve of the roof to the right.

An arched doorway through the cellar wall leading to what at first appears to be a useless corridor to and from nowhere, and of limited value as storage space, but then the shelf at the far end becomes one of three worn, curving, stone steps. These steps, however, don't reach the far wall of the cellar covering only about 9 feet in length meaning they surfaced well inside the original room above them, just outside the door of the Snug, shown below, and behind the present day bar.

Photo of the 'corridor' in the Dog and Otter's cellar Showing the old stone steps in Dog and Otter cellar

The roof line of the pub shows that the main part was built in two stages and it would seem, with the cellar beneath and stairs to the the upper floor and bedrooms, that the earliest part of the pub is that to the right of the "FRONT DOOR" and "CELLAR STEPS" shown below. Abandoning well built cellar steps then having to drive through a thick wall to create new ones also points to this being the earliest part of the building; unless the architect got it wrong. However it isn't clear whether "on the said plot a dwelling house has lately been erected and is now used as a public house " means these two rooms and bedrooms or the extended pub but from "Fixtures at the Dog and Otter" it's clear that the major part, if not all, of the 19th century building was complete by 1819.

Plan of Dog and Otter ground floor circa 1900

If the oven, boiler, fire grate and ash grate of 1819 were in the kitchen then there were three other grates and rooms on the ground floor in 1819 but in 1900 there are still three fire places but four other rooms. The Snug of 1819 had a fire but in 1900 it doesn't pointing to some changes possibly a division of the Great Parlour to create the bar area, rear Parlour and new Snug after the cellar steps had been altered. Whether the scullery, wash house and spirit store were built by 1819 isn't known at present.

Plan of the first floor of Dog and Otter

Taking the ground floor plan as a template then the upper floor dimensions would be, approximately, as shown opposite.

Samuel Rydeheard was Landlord between1903 - 1912.

When Nuttall's term ended J. Grimshaw Ltd., Keirby Brewery, Burnley took over on a lease for 21 years from 2nd February 1916 at £205 per annum but the Dog and Otter Farm was transferred to S. A. Vickery in 1921 reducing Grimshaw's yearly rent to £165 from 1st February that year. This shows an increase of 50% in the pub's rent since 1895 but the farm rent, allowing for the £40, has hardly changed. In 1932 the Dog and Otter Farm was added to Hindle Fold Farm and ended the long association of the pub with the land.18

Massey's Burnley Brewery Ltd., took the next lease for a term of 21 years from 2nd February 1937 but with the lease coming to an end the owner, Thomas Byrnand Trappes-Lomax, decided to sell. The Dog and Otter, the Wellington Hotel and the Game Cock Inn were bought by Massey's in September 1957 for £18,000 the Dog and Otter being subject to a covenant to maintain walls and fences dividing the property from other Trappes-Lomax land.19

Even with extensions to the side and rear the older 19th century building is still easily identifiable. Alterations inside, however, have left little of the original although the wall stubs and beams bear witness to the earlier, more compact rooms.

Dog and Otter front


Map of pubs


Public Houses / existing before 1800 / licensed up to 1860 / licensed 1860 to 1870 / built after 1870 / Dog and Otter / Victoria Hotel





Many tenant names after 1841 have come from census and directory entries, Baines, Barrett, Mannex, Slater (the usual) others come from the documents below.
Map (Thanks to Mr. J. M. Trappes-Lomax and to Kevin Lambert of Watson Ramsbottom Partnership, Solicitors, Great Harwood)
1 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/4 Abstract of Title
2 Gt Harwood Parish Registers
3 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/4 Abstract of Title
4 Trappes-Lomax family collection
5 This could be a different uncle from the one born circa 1709 or possibly a mistake was made transcribing the original lease of 1774 to the Abstract of Title LRO: DDLX 19/425a/4
6 Gt Harwood Parish Registers
7 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/4 Abstract of Title and LRO: DDLX 19/426 Lease and Release 1834
8 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/1/a Sale document 1805
9 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/2 Lease 1810
10 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/4 Thomas Hindle's will is included in the Abstract of Title
11 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/4 Abstract of Title
12 LRO: DDLX/1/1 Lomax Rent Book from 1817
13 Harwood Gleanings, Pollard, L. 1978 p. 47
14 LRO: DDLX 19/425a/3 Memorandum of agreement 1834, DDLX 19/450/1a Lease and Release 1834 and DDLX 19/450/1b Sale document 1834
15 LRO: DDLX/1/1 Lomax Rent Book from 1817
16 Alsprings Estate Farm Rent Ledger (Thanks to Mr. J. M. Trappes-Lomax and to Kevin Lambert of Watson Ramsbottom Partnership, Solicitors, Great Harwood)
17 Dimensions from LRO: PSBI 20/68 ?pre 1918
18 Alsprings Estate Farm Rent Ledger (Thanks to Mr. J. M. Trappes-Lomax and to Kevin Lambert of Watson Ramsbottom Partnership, Solicitors, Great Harwood)
19 LRO: DDX 1101/74/24/21 Massey Papers

Great Harwood Gleanings, Louie Pollard, 1978, Lancs County Council. Pages 47, 48, 67

Last updated 17th April 2020 by ifinwig
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