Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
Here is a little potted history of our pub and the local area... if you have a spare minute or two and maybe a cup of tea (or is that a G&T), we think it's well worth a read.
The Morris Dancer can claim to be Kelsall's oldest surviving public house.
For most of its history it has been known as The Globe and can be dated back to Cheshire records of the 1630s. It may well have been there earlier.
Alehouses began to flourish after Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. Up until then the monks had had a virtual monopoly of the manufacture and distribution of ale and the provision of board and lodgings for the poor, and also travellers - particularly pilgrims, the tourists of their day.
The Globe Inn was located along the old Watling Street route; also close to where it was joined by a branch track connecting with the road through Tarporley to London. Chester was still the main port for Ireland. Pub licences were first issued in 1552, but the earliest Cheshire records are from 1629. Ten licences, including The Globe, were issued in Kelsall between 1630 and 1636. Six alehouses are recorded in 1630, but unfortunately the research available does not specify which landlord was at The Globe itself. There was one alehouse for every 10 households.
This trend continued and by the early 19th century Kelsall had three times as many hostelries than most mid-Cheshire villages. The road enhanced the local economy by providing custom for three inns and several beer houses. It provided work for the smith and the saddler and was one of the two great influences bringing prosperity to the village, together with the forest.
In 1812 what was left of the medieval Royal Forest of Delamere ceased to be the property of the crown by Act of Parliament and although the crown retained some property, some was reserved to be administered by what became the Forestry Commission and the rest was allocated to private owners, which resulted in the expansion of villages such as Kelsall.
This brought trade to local inns and increased pressure on Turnpike Trustees to go ahead with their long awaited scheme to bypass the Coach Road in Kelsall, and link up with the Hartford Turnpike at the top of Kelsall Hill where the Toll Bar cottages now stand. The Globe stood at the point where the old Coach Road met the new Chester Road. An ideal location for a coaching inn as transport and travel expanded in the 19th century.
If we skip forward to the 20th century, The Globe had a part to play in the preparations for the Second World War. On Monday 4th September 1939 soldiers of the 347 Field Regiment of the Territorial Army arrived in the village on double decker buses from Liverpool. They were billeted in the village and their conditions were spartan.
Until the cookhouse was organised, bully beef sandwiches and tea, served and consumed in a field, was the staple diet. No wonder very good use was made of the Chippodrome next to the Globe which was the Battery HQ and stores. By 1943 and through 1944 the Regiment was fighting its way through Burma as part of the 14th Army, and it suffered heavy casualties.
The Globe was always at the heart of the village and, in the first half of the 20th century, was surrounded by many of Kelsall's 20 shops. Harold Hockenhull's book shows the Post Office in Rushton House, with the large butcher's shop and slaughter-house next door. The Kelsall Chippodrome was strategically next to the pub.
The Quarry Café and Stores were located where Sable Cottage stands now. The Misses Sherwood sold candles and haberdashery where Holmes pharmacy is today. The Gables, now a Hair and Beauty Salon, housed a general store and later a post office. Older maps show a large smithy there. Where the Village Co-op Store now stands there was a grocer, a clock-repairer, a cobbler and a greengrocer - and later a large workshop.
Throughout its long history the pub has had many landlords, and from the 19th century better licensing records and the census have made them easier to track.
Of the many landlords who have run the Globe probably the most colourful and still well remembered is Brian "Rusty" Williams, the licensee from 1977-89, who renamed it The Morris Dancer in 1980.
"Rusty" was an innovative builder who renovated the premises installing old beams in the extended bar. In 1979, he brought the annual Cheshire Folk Festival to Kelsall, reverting back to the classic traditions that once surrounded Inns; and we can still enjoy these happenings at the annual Spring Bank Holiday Event in Kelsall.
Rusty was followed by a landlady, Angela Padial 1989-92, who with her partner Luis Lopez introduced Kelsall to a Tapas Bar named Chikito. Even greater changes came when Australian/Italian entrepreneur Vito Cecchini and his wife Kathleen (1995-2001) arrived and converted the old hay-barn into an Italian restaurant known as Paparazzi. The new owners changed the name of the pub to "The Olive Tree" until, in 2006, the name "Morris Dancer" was reinstated.
Before long it changed again and in 2011 it became the "Lord Binning" to the consternation of many in the community. Who was Lord Binning? Well it is the courtesy title of the eldest son of the Earl of Haddington whose ancestral home is Mellestain Hall near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. So far there have been 14 Earls of Haddington, and only the 11th Earl had a connection with this area of Cheshire because his wife inherited the Arden Estates in Tarporley, which are now incorporated into Portal Golf Club. The Earl outlived his son and heir Lord Binning, who may have spent some time in Cheshire, but was certainly more familiar with Kelso in Scotland!
We at Brunning and Price were thrilled when it came onto the market and were vindicated in our ambitions to own it by the many tip offs we received from locals pointing us in its direction. We thought its positioning in the centre of the village made it prime location to be restored as the heart of the community and we hope you agree that it makes a lovely welcoming pub (rather than a pizzeria or tapas bar!). So welcome back The Morris Dancer!
Huge thanks to Anne O'Donnell (Editor of the Kadras Magazine), Sue Masterman and the late John Forster for providing us with this information and the lovely pictures that accompany it.
Ryan takes up the reins as manager of the Morris Dancer having worked for Brunning and Price for a number of years. He's been part of the management team at the Grosvenor Arms, Hayhurst Arms, Architect and most recently managed the Fox Revived in Surrey for the company. Following an illustrious career as a broadcast journalist and then PR consultant, Ryan decided to carve out a career in hospitality and hasn't looked back since. He's madly passionate about gin and red wine. When he's not in the pub he spends time with his partner Aaron and their West Highland Terrier Harvey walking in the Cheshire countryside.
Lucy, originally from Cheshire, joins the Morris Dancer having whipped round our sister pubs the Old Hall, Hayhurst Arms and Fox Revived at one hundred miles an hour. She is a keen gin drinker and has already planned her assault on the gins we're stocking here in Kelsall. Lucy's mantra is work hard, play hard and certainly gives the speed of light a run for it's money - it's clear she shows no sign of stopping any time soon.
Adam comes from a family of B&P publicans. He joined the company with a thirst for change and loves all things beer, food and sports. When he's not checking out local watering holes or Michelin star restaurants, you will usually find him in the cellar or on either side of the bar. Adam is very excited to be part of the team at the Morris Dancer.
Paul has made the move north from the Fox Revived in Surrey to the Morris Dancer in Cheshire. He is our cellar expert and when he isn't serving on the bar, keeping the locals entertained, you can find him hard at work in our cellar making sure all the beers are of the highest quality ready to serve to our lovely customers. Before joining us Paul ran an exhibition and events company in Hong Kong and Australia. Whilst there he had an earth-moving experience when an actual earthquake hit.
Matt was born and bread in Northwich and is as local as they come. Before he joined our crew he studied photography at Mid-Cheshire College and a he is still an avid photopher in his spare time. Since the opening of the pub Matt has always shone when it comes to food knowledge - you can ask him any foodie question and we guarantee he'll know the answer. He's also developed a taste for a real ale and his favourite pint? B&P original.
Was the second chef at the Michelin-starred Chester Grosvenor, but his cooking has definitely improved. Tim has previously headed-up the Corn Mill and Glasfryn kitchens with considerable aplomb, and is a keen supporter of dear old Ipswich Town, although he himself has been very successful in his career. Known, respectfully, as potato head or cheese head if you prefer.
Jason breezed into the pub for his interview and we were so impressed by him that he started the following day. He is Glaswegian by birth and still keenly follows Rangers football club, he is the father to five children who keep him busy when he is not cooking wonderful food in the kitchen or at the game.
Chef de Partie
Local girl Fliss is the only female chef in the clan and my can she hold her own! She has a little boy called Issac even though she has been in the trade since the age of sixteen. When she's not cooking up a storm in the kitchen, you can find her swimming or on holiday(!) She's not too keen on cold days and has a dislike of cheese and beetroot....hmmm. Fliss says she loves Westlife, but shush, don't tell anyone we told you!
Chef de Partie
Chef Andrew joins the Morris Dancer from a local hotel and golf club and his past experience is also his passion. He's mad keen on golf, rugby and horse racing and counts his hobbies as drinking gin and playing the green whenever he can escape the kitchen. His dream is to become a professional golfer and Andrew's dislikes include 'Game of Thrones' (not sure why?!) and Piers Morgan (that one we understand!)
Sam who is born and bred in Kelsall joins us having worked in other local kitchens. He loves nothing more than observing the chefs and picking up a few tricks of the trade so maybe he's a budding chef in the making. He is also half Canadian and enjoys a pint of Peroni after a busy day at work.
Pauline is a Scouser through and through and quite the Sir Alan Sugar of Kelsall - by this we mean she has her fingers in a lot of pies. She makes and sells wood charcoal, logs, furniture, cleaning, litter picking - honestly, the list goes on forever. She claims she doesn't have any spare time! She has four children, two grandchildren and one great grandson, so she's not really that busy to be honest. She once had a row with Gary Barlow, but she'd rather not talk about it!
Allyson was born and brought up just down the road in Ashton but now lives in Tarvin. Before joining the Morris Dancer, she was the head housekeeper on a private estate (very posh!). She says she loves everyone who works here and the atmosphere. In her spare time, Allyson likes nothing more than jumping on her bicycle or going for a walk in Delamere Forest. She's also been a lollipop lady and dinner lady in the past and now we're delighted to have her on board.
Our gardener Toby is a great addition to the team here and I'm sure you'll agree our gardens look stunning. Before joining us, Toby worked as an NHS podiatrist and manager, prior to that he worked in horticulture and airlines and has even worked backstage for The Rolling Stones. He enjoys being outdoors, playing bass guitar and Liverpool Football Club.
Use the calendar to book a table.
All our availability is online so please use this calendar to book. We do keep a handful of bar tables free for 'walk ins', so if you'd prefer to just pop in on the day and potentially don't mind a bit of a wait we’ll usually find a table for you.
We don't reserve any of our outside tables or picnic benches so if you enjoy a little alfresco dining these are first come first serve.
At busier times, we try our best to accommodate everyone, and it may be that your table has an additional booking later in the evening. You certainly won't be rushed, but if you feel like you may need longer than usual, that's no problem at all, please just let us know.
If you have a preference on where you'd like to sit, please use the comments section to specify and while we can't guarantee any requests we will do our best to accommodate you.