The Original Golden Lion Inn.

  GOLDEN LION ( original )

1663 LAWRENCE GASKELL In the Alehouse Returns for Rainford in 1675 only two names are given, without any indication of their place of residence. One was John Berrington who is known to have been at the Derby Arms (see Derby Arms); the other was Lawrence Gaskell. In the Returns for 1662 Berrington is listed with MARY MARSH, widow, who was possibly the predecessor of Gaskell. If this is so then this public house could date back to 1630 when a HUMPHREY MARSHE was listed as alehouse keeper.

In the diary of Roger Lowe, a young apprentice mercer of Ashton-in-Makerfield, he records his many visits to various inns and the amount spent there. On a visit to Rainford with two of his friends in January 1663 his diary reads:-

-5 Tusday   We went to chappell, to Lawrence  Gaskellís and spent each  man 4d. Thence we went to to Barringtons and did likewise.

This would conveniently place Gaskell at the site of the old Golden Lion between the Chapel and the Derby Arms.

Furthermore a lease of a cottage and one acre of land was granted to Lawrence Gaskell by the Earl of Derby in 1663. This does not give us sufficient details to establish its whereabouts but does tell us that he had a son JOHN GASKELL.


1710 JOHN GASKELL  In 1710 the lease was renewed to John Gaskell, aged fifty.


1723 ELLEN GASKELL The same premises, now identifiable as the Golden Lion, were leased in 1723 to Ellen Gaskell, widow. She was presumably the widow of John and may not have been occupying the premises herself as she was described as being of Ormskirk. The next tenant may already have been in occupation at this time.


1728 ELLEN COOKSON In the annual Rent Rolls due to the Earl of Derby for the year 1728 Ellen Cookson is occupying as a tenant under Ellen Gaskell. The following year the tenant becomes WILLIAM LASSELL.


1729 WILLIAM LASSELL  William Lassell, innkeeper, renewed the lease in September 1731. In another document of 1740 William is described as a butcher and he may have been responsible for the addition of the butcherís shop which can be seen to the left of the photograph above.

William had a long term as landlord of this inn. He was still there in 1758, by then aged 60 years, but when he retired or died is not known.

There now comes a gap of about fifteen years where it has not been possible to confidently associate anyone with this public house.


1773 ROBERT BIRCHALL In the Rent Rolls for 1773 the name JOHN BIRCHALL appears for these premises but the actual occupier is more likely to have been his son Robert. John Birchall was a pipe maker of Orretts Nook and by the time he made his will in 1787 he was the leaseholder of some sixteen different properties in addition to Orretts Nook. Some of these estates were occupied by his children or grand children (see also Derby Arms)

  ROBERT BIRCHALL was recorded in the Alehouse Returns from 1780 and by 1800 he is given as occupying the Golden Lion. It was about 1785 when the name Golden Lion first appears

William Lassellís lease of 1731 expired in September 1778 and in October of the same year it was renewed by John Birchall who bequeathed it to his son Robert in 1787. The property remained with Robert and his wife Esther and when Robert made his will in 1816 he stated that it was in the occupation of JAMES JOHNSON.


1812 JAMES JOHNSON    James, great nephew of Robert Birchall, is not recorded as an innkeeper and it was probably his wife Ellen who looked after the public house.


1820 ELLEN JOHNSON  After the death of her husband in 1820 at the early age of 36 Ellen carried on the licence for at least the next eleven years and appears as such in the Ale House Returns.

During her stay here the leasehold of the premises was taken over by JAMES BIRCH who had recently acquired the Brewery at Rainford House from the heirs of William Johnson.


1840 WILLIAM BIRCHALL William Birchall, son of James & Lydia of Bickerstaffe, was married to Margaret Cook of Prescot in 1833 and described himself as a butcher. By 1840 he was a publican occupying the Golden Lion Inn. They had 11 children before Margaret died in 1856 soon after which William remarried to an Ann.


1869 ANN BIRCHALL   After Williamís death his widow Ann continued the innkeeping, the butcherís shop, and a small farm with five of Williamís unmarried children assisting in various departments. Ann died in January 1875 and the licence was granted to her step-son JAMES BIRCHALL who had been her principal assistant in all departments.


1875 JAMES BIRCHALL  James Birchall, aged 40 and now married to Mary, was to be the last publican to occupy these premises. His name appears on the sign board in the only surviving photograph of this inn but he and the sign board were soon to depart.  

Early in 1876 meetings were held to discuss the proposal to build a new Parish Church to replace the dilapidated old Chapel and it was agreed to accept Lord Derbyís offer of a site for the new building. This we know was the site of the old Golden Lion. Business was transferred to the present Golden Lion, then known as Alpine House, which stood on the other side of the Chapel. Building work on the new Parish Church commenced in April, 1877, and the 250 year old building was gone for ever. 


  See Ďpresent Golden Lioní for the continuation of this enterprise