The Blue Cap will close from Monday 26th January and unveil its new look on Saturday 31st January
A charming stone-built pub dating back to 1716, The Blue Cap stands on the site of an even older pub, a heritage in keeping with this attractive and historic part of Cheshire. The pub is situated in the village of Sandiway, just the other side of the historic Sandiway Golf Course from the beautiful architecture of Hartford, and the attractive roman town of Northwich.
The attractive Grade II listed Church of St. John the Evangelist is Sandiway’s most prominent landmark, one of the area’s many buildings designed by renowned Sandiway-born architect John Douglas. Just over a mile away, across the village, lies Oakmere Hall, another Grade II listed building; imposing and attractive, built from Lancashire freestone. The tree-lined streets of Hartford also house a notable Douglas treasure – Whitehall, a magnificent stuccoed-brick country house dating from 1835.
Located amidst a picturesque stretch of countryside, The Blue Cap is a perfect spot to relax with traditional pub food and leisurely Sunday lunches, along with a bottle of fine wine or a glass of refreshing cask ale.Read more...
The Blue Cap has stood in Sandiway since 1716, but an even older pub sat on this attractive spot of Cheshire countryside before it. Originally the Sandiway Head Inn, this traditional inn offered a respite from the uncomfortable, jolting coaches which used to take locals and travellers through the area. The first landlord was a local man, Thomas Gardiner or Garner, and in 1822, when Elizabeth Bull took over, the pub name was amended to The Blue Cap. Its renaming was a tribute to a famous Sandiway foxhound who won 500 guineas at Newmarket, after a bet between the Hon John Smith-Barry, then first Master of the Cheshire foxhounds, and owner of Blue Cap, and Hugo Meynell, the father of modern fox hunting.
Though the region has been inhabited for thousands of years, with a Bronze Age burial ground in Norley, the 7th century saw the introduction of the parochial system, and Cuddington was designated as a ‘Township’ within Weaverham, whilst Sandiway was a ‘Lordship’ within the Parish. In 1277, Vale Royal Abbey was founded by Edward I, consisting of land in Cuddington and Sandiway, and the abbey survived until the dissolution of the monasteries. The first major change in the villages’ modern history was the wealthy Wilbraham family moving their seat from Nantwich to Cuddington in 1784, and the impressive home they built, Delamere Lodge, on the site of the attractive current Delamere Park estate. Though Delamere Lodge is gone, many of the fine houses built in the area – including the beautiful Whitehall house in Hartford, and Sandiway’s Church of St. John the Evangelist, which sit amidst the handsome contemporary homes and attractive green fields of present-day Cuddington and Sandiway.
The architecture of John Douglas, Sandiway’s most famous son, abounds in this area. Born in 1830, the versatile and celebrated designer created the opulent Grade II listed Oakham Hall on the western edge of Sandiway, and worked on the current Sir John Deane’s College in Northwich. Northwich itself dates back far beyond Douglas, though, and its rich history and culture belies the size of this small town. Northwich developed in the Roman era as ‘Condate’, and had strategic importance, lying on the confluence of the Rivers Weaver and Dane. The Earl of Chester owned the manor of Northwich until 1237, before it became a royal manor, later coming into the hands of the Stanley family, and becoming a Parliamentarian stronghold during the civil war. The Stanleys were owners of Northwich’s Grade I listed Winnington Hall, a striking country house which combines a historic timber house with a handsome stone extension.
Northwich’s fame came as a centre of salt production, and in the 1670s, the influential Smith-Barrys of Marbury Hall discovered rock salt in the area. The trade flourished, and was bolstered by the building of the handsome National Heritage listed Anderton Boat Lift in 1875, which helped increase transport between the salt mines of Cheshire and the Potteries. The town also contains several contemporary sites of interest. The impressive Weaver Hall Museum pays tribute to the region’s local culture and industry, whilst the hugely popular visitor attraction of Arley Hall & Gardens offers the chance to explore the Emperor’s Room where Napoleon III stayed in 1847-48 and some of the most spectacular gardens in Britain – former winners of Christie’s Garden of the Year, and the filming location for much-loved television shows including The Forsyte Saga and Coronation Street.
The town was also the birthplace of award-winning film and TV producer Sue Birtwistle, who worked on the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, filmed in beautiful Lyme Park, less than an hour by car from The Blue Cap. The town was also home to Max Woosnam, regarded by many as Britain’s greatest ever sportsman – an amateur sportsman who won Olympic gold in Tennis, captained the England National Football Team in 1922, and was club captain of Sandiway Golf Club in the late 1920s, holding the record for the original layout of this beautiful course, just across the road from the historic pub The Blue Cap.