Some details of the very early inn on this site.
In the 17th century, the inn on the main street in Neston, opposite to the site of Iceland and the Town Hall, must surely have been an interesting place; it was there from at least the 1590s, when there was probably little in what was later to be called Parkgate, apart from the Beerhouse where the Boathouse how stands.
A couple of reports illustrate the Irish problems that Neston, a main port to Ireland, had to deal with in the years just before the English Civil War broke out. One account involved the brother of Irish Lord Maginnis at the inn, with talk of driving the Scots out of Ireland, and a false beard; another man was thought to be carrying seditious literature. A few years earlier the sons of some Cheshire papists had been trying to bribe a French merchant to take them to France, and on yet another occasion a popish priest who had landed in Neston was reported to the authorities by Betson. Catholics were regarded with great suspicion at this time.
A 1638 inventory lists the goods of the late Thomas Betson, who ran the inn, (Cheshire Record Office). Henry Rawlinson lived where the Town Hall is now situated and he was one of the three men who went around the property listing the goods. The inn was obviously also a farm, though many of the fields would be scattered around the neighbourhood.
Betson had sixty-seven sheep and a sheep-cote which also stored dried peas and cheeses, six heifers (two in-calf), six other cattle, two oxen and a bullock, and ten pigs in the yard. The well was in another yard. There was presumably a pond, as there were ducks as well as hens, and a pen for them.
There was a stable of course, with hay stored in the loft; two barns, one with oats and the other with barley, and straw and hay for thatch. Codfish (presumably dried) was stored in the ox house.
A cart-house held the muck-cart, corn-wain and the horse-cart. The old ox-house stored beds, spades and other stuff. Cellars held wine, meat and empty casks.
One of the outhouses was a kiln for malting the barley for brewing, with a mill for grinding it, sieves, charcoal, a furnace and copper pans. Two butteries (a place for ‘buts’) housed barrels and casks.
Several lofts in the main building were also storing goods including bedding and furniture, books, wool and linen cloth, chests, trunks, boxes, malt and corn. Linen included towels, napkins, tablecloths, thirty-two pairs of flaxen sheets, and thirty-two pairs of pillowcases.
All the kitchen tackle necessary for cooking over a fire, a cheese press, wooden ‘treen’ ware, brass, pewter, Spanish cushions, spinning wheels, candlesticks, a boat mast and sail, and a clock were listed.
Clare Johnson has skilfully transcribed Thomas Betson’s Inventory. There are many such documents available for earlier Neston, providing invaluable information for local historians.
A true and perfect inventorie of the goodes Cattels and Chattells which Thomas Betson of Great Neston died possessed of at the tyme of his death praysed the fourteenth day of February by John Cottingham of Lyttle Neston Henry Rawlinson and Andrew Blakon of Great Neston and Thomas Prenton all of the Countie of Chester yeomen Anno Domini 1637
Sixty seavon Sheep
The two Incalfe heffers
Another heffer and a little Bullock
In the yard tenn swine
All the Duckes hens and poultree
In the Shepcoat loft 11 measures of pease
In the Same loft 4 cheeses
All the treen ware a measure and flasket there
In the Kilne the hand Milne
In the Same place the fouirnauce and 6 copper pann
The coles in the kilnne
A cesterne and a trough
All the treene ware in the killne
A heire and other thinges in the kiln loft
All swine troughs and stone troughs in the yard
All the fuell and wood—in the yard
A corne waine in the Cart house wheels and Rope
A horscart and wheels
The Muck cart and wheels
All husbandry implements plowes sacks……….
A hen pen
All in the wellyard
All bedinge and things in the Dondey chamber
All the beding table stooles in the parler loft
In the little clossitt in candles……….
The bedinge table stales wainscot & cushins in ye parler
All pewter and other things in the old butry
All in the new Buttry
In the New Buttry loft a Jack and other things
The Bedds in the Lower Parler
All things in the Milk house
In the store loft first All his Bookes
All the glasses bottles and stone bottles
The presse and thinges therein
The Grate Chest and Boxes
The yarne,The wolen cloth and linan cloth……..
The Linans in the Tow Cheste in the store loft
In the Chamber by the Clock all his wearing
Apparrell Linnan and Wollen
A new peece of Flaxen Cloth
In one trunk in towels napkins and tablecloths
In another cheste 32 payres of flaxen sheets and
25 payre of pillowberes
The bedinge in that loft
The cheste trunks and boxes there
The plate and spones
For Mault and Corne in the corne loft
All Baskettes shoolves ? and other thinges
For the Clock
For clothes in the wash
The Rack spites and grate and such things in the kitchen
All the Brasse and Pewter in the kitchen
The cubert Dishbord and other things there
All the Treeneware in the kitchen
All hatchets and husbandry tooles
The Beds and bedsteds in the mayds chamber
All in the boulting house
All in the Bowers Lofft
In the wine Seller All the wine
All the flesh in the Seller
Emty caskes and all besides in the Seller
In the house the bacon at Roofe
A bason a Ewre and a Voyder
All the Pewter dishes in the house
All the candelstickes in the house
All quartes pottes and pintes
The wainscoot, Table, frame formes & stooles
The cubert Glasscubert Spanish Cushins
Three Sitting wheeles
The Caban Bedd
All the sives and a pewter Bason
In the oxehouse – a dozen of Coddfish
The Cracks and 2 swingle feet
In the old Oxehouse Beds spades and other implements
The Crack and Manger in the stable
The hay in the stable loft
The Coles in the Colehouse and all ye Muck
All the Barly in the Higher Barne thrasht & unthrasht
A Cheese presse and 2 Tubes
A long Ladder
All the Oates in the Lower Barne thrasht and unthrasht
All the Wheat
The Hay Thatch and straw there
Fourteen mesurs of Wheet sowed
A tack from John Jonson
Debtes Owing him
A boat Mast and sayle
2 Hogsheds and frames in the kitchen Entry