Union Cross Halifax

The Union Cross Inn stands at 15 Old Market, Halifax.

It was originally called The Crosse Inn because it stood opposite the old market cross. Recorded in 1535 – when landlord Richard Lister was fined £10 for erecting a lean-to building in the market place – this is the oldest inn in Halifax and stands in Old Market on the site of the old town market.

It had one of the largest cock fighting rings in the district, and this continued in an upstairs room long after the sport had been banned. Heywood writes of a great cocking at the inn on 31st May 1680, when the inn was kept by Widow Mitchell.

Around 1557, it was owned by Richard Lister.

In 1680, Heywood recorded

... they drank all night and were so high in swearing, ranting at the Crosse that they were heard far in the town. Lord Eglington, a Scotch Lord, stood on horseback at T.C door, swearing, ranting, calling for sack, making people drink, 100 were flocking about them, then rid desperately along the Corn-market and light at Crosse, stayd most of the week – men went home with heavy heads and empty purses

In 1735, it had a bowling green.

In 1745, it was renamed The Union Cross in support of the Crown during the Jacobite rebellion – as was Union Street.

Accommodation which stood behind the inn is now disused. The stables are now a separate bar. At one time, horses were stabled on the first floor which was reached via a ramp.

The Inn had a warehouse for visitors trading at the Piece Hall.

There are said to be cellars beneath the pub which lead to Halifax Parish Church.

Daniel Defoe and John Wesley stayed at the inn.

On 14th February 1748, Wesley preached here for the first time in Halifax. On 22nd August 1748, Wesley met a rough reception from the crowd when he tried to preach from the steps of the inn, and was forced to move on to Skircoat Green.

J. B. Leyland had a studio at the rear of the inn, and he and Branwell Brontë and Tom Cliffe, were members of a club which met at the inn.

Around 1805, the Halifax Triennial Music Festival was held in Assembly Rooms here.

The yard alongside the Inn is named Whewall's Court

This is discussed in Sketches of Old Halifax

This is discussed in the books Halifax Antiquarian Society Transactions and Halifax Pubs.

See Probity [No 61] Masonic Lodge

Innkeepers, licensees and landlords:


This & associated entries use material contributed by Glynn Helliwell & Jeffrey Knowles

© Malcolm Bull 2024
Revised 16:05 / 20th April 2024 / 9755

Page Ref: KK_71

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