An 18th century inn on the old Warrington to Prescot turnpike road at Bold Heath, once part of the distinguished Bold family estate. Close to the townships of Warrington, Widnes and St Helens, The Griffin Inn serves delicious pub meals and seasonal specials with fine wines and cask ales.
Located on the old turnpike road from Warrington to Prescot in the ancient hamlet of Bold Heath, The Griffin Inn is an imposing 18th century pub restaurant with a fascinating history. Once within the estate of one of the region’s most renowned ancient families, the inn has played an important part in the history of the district for hundreds of years. The inn takes it’s name from the legend of a griffin that terrorised the villages of the Mersey Estuary from it’s lair at nearby Halton Castle, until it was slain by local blacksmith Robert Byrch, earning him the title of Robert the Bold. According to the folklore, as a reward the king offered him lands as far as he could stretch the hide of the dead creature. The cunning blacksmith cut the body into pieces and scattered them over the area that became known as Bold Heath.
Less than five minutes from the M62 at Junction 7, yet surrounded by rolling farmland and open roads, The Griffin Inn is the perfect location for a delicious pub meal or a relaxing Sunday lunch with family and friends. With the port city of Liverpool, the banks of the Mersey and Knowsley Safari Park all in easy reach, this fine country pub is the ideal location to meet with friends after a day spent walking the Mersey Way, soaking up Liverpool’s culture and attractions or encountering Knowsley’s wonderful wildlife. Enjoy a delicious pub meal, savour a seasonal special, or treat the family to a relaxed Sunday roast, with a choice of fine wines and cask ales.Read more...
Dating back to the 18th century, The Griffin Inn stands on the turnpike road established in 1726 to improve the thoroughfare from Warrington through Prescot to Liverpool’s dockyards after Parliament was petitioned by Liverpool merchants. It is not certain exactly when the inn was built, although by 1800 The Griffin was in the hands of Josiah Foden, at which time it was part of the extensive lands of the Bold family, whose ancestral home, Bold Hall, stood just north of the inn.
Once part of a grand estate stretching from Bold Heath in the south to Burtonwood in the north, with the estate lodge and carriageway drive to the Hall directly opposite The Griffin Inn, little remains of this once-great family manor. Bold Hall itself, said to have been “a substantial edifice, adorned with fine stone columns” designed in 1732 by renowned Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni, was demolished after falling into disrepair at the turn of the 20th century. Remarkably the Hall’s predecessor, known as Bold Old Hall, a moated mansion built around 1616, outlived the new hall by some 30 years, being pulled down only in 1936. Today the only surviving relics of this historic architecture, which can be seen on a pleasant country walk through the former Bold Hall parklands, are the bridge that once crossed the moat, a pair of sandstone gate piers, and the former farmhouse and stables, now in private hands, all designed by Leoni and Grade II listed.
The distinguished Bold family history pre-dates the Norman Conquest, and includes many notable knights, politicans and high sherriffs. John and Thomas de Bold were engaged as knights by Henry IV against Owain Glyndwr’s uprising in Wales in 1403, and Thomas was at Agincourt. Sir John became High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1407, the first of many Bold descendants to hold the office. In the 17th and 18th centuries Peter and Robert Bold both represented Lancashire as Members of Parliament, and in 1802 wealthy merchant Jonas Bold became Mayor of Liverpool.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Liverpool continued to grow as a port, its wealth and prosperity linked to the infamous trade in tobacco, sugar and slaves, and the increasing traffic on the turnpike road from Warrington will have benefitted The Griffin Inn and the Bold family interests. The Bold estate included rich farmland and extensive forests, and timber from the woods was often auctioned at the inn. In 1841, The Liverpool Agricultural Society held their annual ploughing match on the lands around Bold Hall Old Farm, with candidate ploughmen assembling at The Griffin in the morning to draw tickets, with a silver medal and £5 offered to the ploughman with the Best Finished Work. A Farmer’s Dinner was provided at the inn to all competitors.
After the death of Peter Bold MP in 1761, the estate passed out of the hands of the family, and by 1859 Bold Hall and its lands were sold to an eccentric Wigan cotton merchant, William Whitacre Tipping. Unmarried and uneducated, Tipping lived in just a few of the rooms of the Hall, and his favourite pastimes were cock-fighting and gambling, both of which he pursued at The Griffin, often arriving, legend has it, with pockets stuffed with gold sovereigns. He must have been a much valued guest as the inn was briefly renamed in his honour as The Tipping Arms.
A hive of industry in the 19th and 20th century with many productive collieries, today the surrounding district is once again rural, with most of the former coalpits now converted to nature reserves and country parks. Guests at The Griffin can enjoy a fine pub lunch after a pleasant country walk in nearby Clock Face Country Park or savour the tranquillity of Sutton Manor Woodland, site of Spanish artist Jaume Plensa’s dramatic Dream sculpture, which dominates the local landscape. Both parks are less than 5 minutes from The Griffin Inn.
Nature lovers will enjoy spending time on the Mersey Estuary, home to thousands of wintering wildfowl and occasional seals, dolphins and porpoises. A walk on part of the Mersey Way, which runs for 22 miles from Warrington to Liverpool, can offer views across the estuary to the Welsh hills, and nature viewing points along Oglet Bay.
The area is steeped in history, and Halton Castle, from which the griffin of local legend was said to have terrorised the area, is a prominent landmark and scheduled monument worth visiting, a 30 minute drive from The Griffin. The Grade I listed 12th century Norton Priory, with its museum and gardens, lies close by. For guests with young familes, a trip to Knowsley Safari Park is just 20 minutes by car, while Gullivers World Theme Park is packed with rides and attractions for younger children, just 10 minutes drive from The Griffin Inn.
Located just off the M62, close to the towns of St Helens, Warrington and Widnes and perfectly positioned to enjoy the local country parks and estuary walks, The Griffin Inn is a historic location to enjoy delicious pub food with family and friends, or a leisurely Sunday lunch in a fine country pub. This welcoming pub restaurant is the ideal base for exploring the rich history of the area, refreshed with a seasonal special from our extensive menu, including fine wines and cask ales.Show less...