Published on April 6th, 2021 | by All Things Warrington


The George

By George, who’d have thought it!

Is Warrington’s Holy Trinity Church the only church in the country to be built on the foundations of an old pub?

The Sankey Street passageway that led to the George Inn and Posting House – the foundations of which are still supporting Holy Trinity Church today. Notice the sign that stretches across the alleyway – believed to be the only sign of its kind to be attached to a church.

The pub in question is the George Inn and Posting House which stood at the back of Holy Trinity until its demolition in December 1905.

Rumoured to date back to 1630, the George, with its “crowded stables, dark rooms, gleaming bar and quaint old kitchen”, was accessible via two narrow passageways, one on Bridge Street, the other on Sankey Street.

Writing on the eve of the pub’s demolition, one of its admirers described it as being “the hub and centre of the old life of the town” and revealed that the George used to brew its own beer “from a small adjoining brewhouse”.

The author also spoke in some detail about what the pub was like in earlier times: “It was a sort of human rabbit warren, more extensive than its later customers would have imagined. Its kitchen looked out onto an extremely ancient and curious yard behind the shop of Mr Joseph Shaw – undoubtedly one of the quaintest bits of Warrington … and its front looked out upon the church, the wall of which was whitewashed to increase as much as possible the scanty light which crept in through its lower windows”. 

Turn right to quench your thirst – another view of the Sankey Street passageway leading to The George.

During The George’s demolition, workmen discovered the pub’s foundations were “supporting the church” and that its cellars ran all the way to Sankey Street, suggesting the inn was much bigger in its heyday when it was said to be a vital stopping off point for the Liverpool to London stagecoach. 

Perhaps the clergyman who allowed The George to attach a pub sign to the Holy Trinity’s wall and a house on the other side of its Sankey Street passageway (pictured bottom right) knew the church was resting on its foundations and was returning the favour?

Warrington’s first mayor William Beamont, writing in one of his many history books, said “Holy Trinity was built after the hotel, hence the right of light which rendered necessary the whitewashing of the east wall”. He also claimed the George was the only hotel in England which bore the distinction of having its sign supported by a church.

Sadly, the George and its alley-straddling pub sign is no longer with us, emphasising perhaps why we should enjoy and appreciate buildings such as Holy Trinity Church while we can. Why not call in next time you’re in the town centre and witness one of the town’s treasures for yourself?

Click here for more information on Holy Trinity Church.

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