Mottram St Andrew has its origins in Anglo-Saxon times, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, which stated:
"Gamel holds Mottre. His father held it. There is one hide and a half rateable to the gelt tax. The land is four carucates. It is waste. There is a wood three leagues long and two broad, and two hedged enclosures and an aery for hawks."
In the 12th century a Norman family called Motterum held the lands, and are recorded as being the local Bailiffs until 1420, when the Savage family took over the role.
By 1414 the village name Mottre had transmuted to Mottram Andrew, although there is no definitive explanation for the significance of 'Andrew' - there is St Andrew's Well in Mottram wood, and additionally there was apparantly a charismatic local priest called Andrew who might have influenced the choice of name, but no-one is sure. At some later date, the named evolved again to become Mottram St.Andrew.
Things become more relevant to the Bull's Head when in 1726 Mottram was bought by William Wright of Offerton. He built St Peter's church in Stockport, which he endowed with rents from land in Mottram. In about 1750, Mottram New Hall was built by William Wright for his son, which became the family home.
Mottram New Hall is only 400 yards from the pub. It is not known when the pub was built, but The Cheshire Villages Book, written by members of the Cheshire Confederation of Women's Institutes, has it that the Bull's Head Inn was once a farm with a six day license to sell liquor, and presumably it was part of the Mottram Hall estate.
In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's 'Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales' described Mottram St Andrew thus:
MOTTRAM-ST.ANDREW, a township, with a village, in Prestbury parish, Cheshire; 2 ½ miles NW of Prestbury r. station. Acres, 1,600. Real property, £3,170. Pop. in 1851,408; in 1861,460. Houses, 90. The manor belonged formerly to the Mottram family; and, with Mottram Hall, belongs now to the Rev. H. Wright. Mottram Old Hall is an ancient mansion, and was formerly moated. Lee Hall is the scat of Capt. Street. There are a parochial school, and charities £30; and the school house is occasionally used as a place of worship.
The coat of arms of the Wright family consisted of three bulls heads bisected with a chevron, which is the coat of arms carved onto the Mottram Cross in the village. The shaft and head of the cross date from 1832, but the base is actually medieval in origin.There are accounts of bull baiting taking place there, and a story that the steps served as an auction block when a husband wearied of his wife.
In 'A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain' by John Burke in 1836, the heraldic devices of the Wright family are described as:
Arms - Sa. A chev. Arg.
Between three bulls' heads cabossed
of the second
Crest - Out of a ducal coronet
or, a bull's head arg.
Attired of the first.
Originally, then, the Bull's Head was a reference to the crest of the Wright family, which is a bull's head emerging from a ducal coronet.
In this photograph of the pub from the 1960's, you can see they used a sculptural depiction of this crest as their pub sign above the front door.
We came across these photographs on the web, and Colin Little kindly gave us permission to feature them here. The photograph above is of Colin's mother and father and was taken in 1968. Their family was on holiday with their Aunt and Uncle, both of whom worked for the Burton family who lived in a house close to the Bull's Head. Colin recalls that Mr Burton was the owner of a biscuit business, Burton's Biscuits of Leek in Staffordshire, and was also a Director of Manchester United. These days Burton's Biscuits is a major concern employing over 2,200 people: http://www.burtonsbiscuits.com
Colin remembers the beer garden outside, and reports that the pub was extremely busy.
We were contacted by another couple, Bob and Maureen Spiers, who were assistant managers at the pub from February 1964 'til March 1965. At that time the pub was owned by Ted Roberts who had a great many pubs, restaurants and hotels in Cheshire and Liverpool, including our sister pub, the Grosvenor Arms in Aldford. At that time there was a tap room for working men who would play darts and dominos, and a lounge bar for well-to-do customers: Bob would wear a white shirt, black tie and a steward's jacket.
Apparantly the pub was hugely busy, and the car park was full of Rolls Royces and Jaguars: at that time the Bull's Head was a very traditional pub with log fires, beams and brass tables, and in those pre-breathalyzer days, the draymen would have a pint in every pub they visited, throughout the day.
In the 70's and 80's the Bull's Head became a Beefeater restaurant operated by Whitbread, and by all accounts it fell on hard times: apparantly the carpets were sticky with beer and it had a bit of a rough reputation.
Subsequently, it became an Italian restaurant called the Osteria Mauro before we acquired the property in January 2013.
The Bull's Head in the 1960's
We would be most grateful if anyone can help with any further history of the building, and we're particularly keen to get in touch with any local historians. If you could email the pub, we'll get back to you promptly. Many thanks.
With thanks to the Mottram St.Andrew Community website, from which we have unashamedly plundered information, who researched material from the following sources:-
1. J.P.Earwaker. East Cheshire.
2. George Ormerod. History of East Cheshire.
3. Cheshire County Council. Township Pack No.54