The building that housed the former White Lion pub is thought to have been built around the middle of the 18th century, by Hull carpenter George Newby. The internal layout of the former inn is still vaguely discernible within the existing building and some original features such as fireplaces and stairs are still intact. Whilst it has an 18th century front, it may have an earlier core, possibly of the 17th century. I think George Newby may rebuilt an earlier building that had once stood on the site.
A 1952 newspaper article describes it as ‘the oldest licensed hotel in Barton’, dating from 1558, and in a later newspaper article of 2 March 1967 the then licensee, Mr F R Register noted that the pub was ‘originally built more than four hundred years ago’. He went on to say that he believed it had burnt down and been rebuilt on the same site in the 18th century and had a copy of the Barton Tribune newspaper from 1754, which described cock fighting in the yard of the pub.
Barton was indeed troubled by a huge fire in 1730, which may have badly damaged or possibly even destroyed the White Lion and many other buildings on the south side of Market Place. Following the fire, an inventory was taken ‘of Joseph Moor’s stable’ and the stock included eight Hogs heads [of ale] valued at £2-8s-0d, three half Hogs heads at 12s, five 10-gallon barrels at 10s-0d, two small barrels at 3s. Also recorded were eight and a half Hogs heads of ale at £25-10s-0d and stocks of claret and other wines. The cellar was noted to have been laid out in Baltic timber as a Cock-Pit. The White Lion was still known to have a cock-pit, barn, yard and stables as late as 1767. The Hull Advertiser of 25 March 1831 gave the following brief details of the pub:
The White Lion Inn c.1905.
‘TO LET - All that well accustomed INN known by the sign of the White Lion, and being in the Market Place of Barton upon Humber, now in the Occupation of Sarah Newton, Widow.
The House has undergone lately great improvements, is in thorough Repair, and compromises Four Sitting-Rooms, a long Public Dining Room, with a good Bar, Cellars, Kitchens, Stables, and other necessary Out-offices. A well-attended Ordinary is kept up every Market Day. Barton, March 16th 1831’.
In 1832 a meeting of the White Lion Inn News Room was reported in the Hull Packet, where a Reform Supper was held.
By 1913 the licence was held by Moors’ & Robson’s Ltd of Hull, who maintained its full alehouse licence until they were taken over by Hewitt’s Brewery of Grimsby in 1960, and latterly the Bass group c.1962. The White Lion closed on the 4 July 1971 and the building is now partly occupied by ‘Best Wishes of Barton’ and is quite rightly a Grade II Listed Building. Through the arched passage that leads to the rear of the former inn are private dwellings in what is still referred to as ‘White Lion Yard’.
The building that was once the White Lion, as it appeared in 2004.
Some references to the White Lion:
1730 — Joseph Moor
1754 — White Lion
1767 — Sarah Newton
1791 — Law Newton, victualler, White Lion
1822-1829 — Ann Newton, White Lion, Market Place
1831 — Sarah Newton
1835 — Thomas Eve, White Lion, Market Place
1841 — John Pearson Horsfall, White Lion
1841 — Henry Gibson, innkeeper (census)
1842 — Henry Gibson
1849 — George Goodman
1855 — Collin Bowskin
1856 — Robert Gowland
1861 — Frank Nicholson, innkeeper (census)
1861-1872 — Frank Nicholson
1876-1882 — Robert Whittaker, White Lion Inn
1885 — Foster Middleton, White Lion P.H.
1891 — Foster Middleton, licensed victualler & horse breaker (census)
1885-1905 — Foster Middleton, ‘& horse breaker’
1905 — Foster Middleton, ‘& pig dealer’
1909-1913 — Frederick Middleton
1919-1926 — Mrs Louie Middleton, White Lion, 16 Market Place
1930-1937 — Frederick Middleton
1952 — S G Greathead
1967-1971 — Frederick R Register
A drawing of White Lion Yard from the 19th century.
1 Wheatsheaf Inn
2 George Hotel
3 Queen Inn
4 White Lion Inn
5 Black Bull Inn
6 Old Mill
7 Corn Exchange Club
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