Normally the earliest date given for the Royal Oak establishment is 1783, which is when the name Royal Oak appears in a trade directory. However, as its near namesake the ‘Old Royal Oak’ pre-dated 1790, the trade directory could be referring to the latter.
The Royal Oak Hotel was one of the town’s main coaching houses and until at least 1912 the hotel also acted as a posting house and excise office.
The pub featured on a BBC website feature about Staffordshire’s oldest pubs, the feature mentions a ghost called George. Has anybody ever seen anything supernatural in the Oak?
In 1809 the Cheadle road tolls were offered for let in the hotel by way of an auction, the area stretched from Blyth Marsh (a hamlet now part of Blythe Bridge) to Spen Lane in Derbyshire.
On 11 September 1826 in the Staffordshire Advertiser, Thomas Munton announced that he had taken on the Royal Oak Inn. Previously Munton had worked at the Castle Hotel in Birmingham as a waiter. The notice also states that “the rooms are newly fitted up in a superior style”. After Thomas died in March 1828 his widow and daughter, continued running the business.
Pigot & Co.’s National Directory 1828-29 notes: Coach to Birmingham from Manchester calls at the Royal Oak, every afternoon at one, the coach to Manchester calls every afternoon at the same hour.
Around the end of 1835, Mrs Munton looks to have left the running of the business to her daughter – with newspapers referring to it as “the house of Miss Munton”.
The 1845 pew allocations, there are a number of pews linked with the inn. These are assigned to Lord of the Manor, Sir John Buller Yarde-Buller. While this shows they owned the property, it could also mean it was built by the Bullers.
Isabella Munton remained at the Royal Oak until early 1849, when she sold her personal belongings before leaving the area.
Until 1855 Cheadle’s Petty Session Court was held at the Royal Oak. John Michael Blagg and his son Charles objected to this arrangement and the sessions were permanently moved to the premises operated by the Police.
The Royal Oak remained part of the Buller estate until 1872, when it was sold to William Barnes.
In 1876 Cheadle’s Masonic Lodge (Lodge No. 1587) was formed and the Royal Oak was their meeting place for a number of years.
In 1883 landlord Ralph Heath left the pub trade to join the Blue Ribbon Army, a society against the consumption of alcohol.
Following the cutting of Cheadle Railway’s first sod in 1888 a banquet was held at the pub in celebration.
From 1900 prior to the railway opening, a omnibus service would operate from the Royal Oak. It left Cheadle at 8.10 am and took passengers to Blythe Bridge railway station, this service stopped when Cheadle’s station opened in 1902.
By 1901 the pub was owned by the Joules and Sons Brewery Co.
Pigeon racing was a popular pastime in Cheadle and the Royal Oak Hotel paid host to The Cheadle and District Homing Society. Pigion racing was banned in 1914 due to the war and it wasn’t until 1917 when racing in Cheadle began again, although by this time it was decided to join some of the groups together to form the Cheadle Amalgamation Society.
At one time there was a sign outside the building proudly proclaiming that this was the centre of Cheadle and local school children would be taught as such.
In 1940 the pub’s telephone number was 3116.
Like the Wheatsheaf, the Oak enjoyed many decades of popularity, but a decline set in during the early 2000s. Following a series of short closures over 10 to 12 years, the doors shut in December 2013.
At the end of January 2014, a fire broke out causing damage to the building. In September it was announced that there were plans to turn the building into flats, although no planning applications were submitted.
At the beginning of March 2015, it was confirmed that the fire in January 2014 was the result of arson. Soon afterwards the planning application was submitted to the SMDC.
The heritage report submitted as part of the application, largely supported the information on this website, but unfortunately the researchers could also not establish which Royal Oak was referred to in some sources. Interestingly, they suggested that the Munton’s may have ran both establishments. This is a possibility, closer examination of newspaper reports may prove or disprove this theory. Trade directories almost always list both pubs, making this theory unlikely – but information in the earlier directories could have been out dated.
William Labdon (Staffordshire Advertiser 1809 and Parson and Bradshaw – Staffordshire Directory 1818)
Thomas Sulfolk (Pigot’s Directory 1822)
Thomas Munton (Staffordshire Advertiser 1826, 1827, 1828)
Elizabeth and Isabella Munton [Widow and Daughter of Above] (Staffordshire Advertiser 1828, White’s Directory of Staffordshire 1834 and Staffordshire Advertiser 1835)
Isabella A. Munton (Staffordshire Advertiser 1836, Pigot’s Directory of Staffordshire 1842, Staffordshire Advertiser 1849)
George Jackson (Post Office Directory of Birmingham with Staffordshire & Worcestershire 1849 and White’s Directory of Staffordshire 1851)
William Barnes (Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Staffordshire 1860 and 1872) [until 1876]
Ralph Heath [July 1878- March 1883] (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire and Cheadle Herald)
James Churches (1884 Cheadle Herald)
John T. Milward (Cheadle Herald 1898, Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1900)
Beatrice Milward (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1904)
Alice Churches (c.1910 Information and Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1912)
Miss Gertie Hughes (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1921)
Miss L. Fowles (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1924 and 1932)
Cyril Jack Holding (Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1940)
Alfred Chandler (Cheadle Post and Times 1959) [until Sept 1959]
Gordon James Townsend [from Sept 1959] (Cheadle Post and Times 1959)
Graham Jepson [1969 until July 1974] (Cheadle Post and Times 1974)
Christine and Neville Parkes (Cheadle Post and Times 1979)