The closure of the pub that had been my "home" for nigh on twenty years prompted me to publish this potted history I compiled and which was inserted within the pub menu.

"...ye bruing vessell with other wood gear, £2-10-00."

Christopher Varley of Salterforth Lane Head died in 1679 and was interned in the graveyard of St Mary-le-Gill at Barnoldswick. Shortly afterwards on 2nd May an inventory was taken of all his belongings. The extract above shows that beer has been brewed/sold on this site for at least 330 years.

The original building, shown above, was a farmhouse, the farmer, having the raw materials to hand, would brew his own beer, and in times of plenty would brew enough to supply his friends and neighbours.

This was the origin of many of our countryside pubs, which, in time, were more profitable than farming.

The Fanny Grey stands on the old packhorse route from Colne, along which would come many trains of packhorses, carrying wool to Barnoldswick for the "piece-worker" cottage weavers, or salt from the Cheshire mines, which they would take down the steep hill, "The Drag", through Salterforth(the salters ford) and on into Yorkshire. Thus a steady trade from thirsty packhorse drivers would be assured.

The earliest record I am able to find of the building as an inn is an entry in the 1822 Baines' Trade Directory, when it was called The Bay Horse and the landlord was Michael Pickles.

Some more records of the inn:

1841 Census, Lane Head, Hannah Simpson, 72, Innkeeper

1851 Census, Bowling Green House, James Barrett, Innkeeper and clogger

The large flat car park at the rear of the pub is obviously the site of bowling green.

1853 the first edition Ordnance Survey named the pub Lane Head or Fanny Grey Inn. This is the first and only record of the name Fanny Grey.

1861 Census, Lane Head, James Barrett, farmer of 14 acres and Innkeeper.

1871 Census, Lane Head Inn, James Barrett, licensed victualler.

1881 Census, Lane Head, Anne Barrett, Farmer of 16 acres.
          Ann was the widow of James Barrett, there is no mention of the inn.

1901 Census, Lane Head Inn

Kelly's Directory, Salterforth 1908, Lane Head, Robert Barrett, Inn and farmer.
Robert was the son of James and Ann.

Kelly's Directory, Salterforth 1911, Robert Barrett, farmer Lane Head.
There is no mention of the pub. Perhaps the building was now in a state of disrepair?

The new building was erected in 1914 and named The Lane Head Inn.

Kelly's Directory, Salterforth 1920, Lane Head Inn, Hugh Ellison

The Lane Head Inn reverted to the Fanny Grey in 1974 after some renovations had been done.

As for the elusive Fanny Grey, I don't think we will ever find out who or what she was. There is no record of a family called Grey. It has been suggested it was the name of a famous race horse of the times and Michael Town, landlord of The Fanny Grey for many years, relates the story that a Mr Uttley, a manufacturer from Trawden, was riding by one day on his "grey" horse when he told the landlady, Mrs Sowerbutts, that he would whitewash the building if she called it The Fanny Grey.

Researched and compiled by:
Ken Ranson
February 2008.