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The King William IV at Shore, Littleborough

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The King William IV at Shore, Littleborough

The King William IV Hotel at Shore, 1999.


James Bamford (1800 - 1851) was the first licensee of the King William IV Hotel at Shore, Littleborough, in Lancashire. James was a brother of my Great Great Grandfather Edmund Bamford. Many of my ancestors had a close association with Shore and the surrounding areas, although our knowledge of them is very limited except for the descendants of my Great Grandfather John Bamford.

A copy of the will of James Bamford hangs on the wall inside the King William IV. Also on the wall is a brief history of the pub and the Bamfords associated with it. In 1999 the owner Jim Trainor and the licensee Frank Findlow very kindly provided me with copies of these documents.

The brief history on the wall of the King William IV is the best way to tell its story, and it is copied below.

The King William IV at Shore

William IV was king of England from 1831 to 1837 and during his reign this house was made into an inn. Appropriately enough, James Bamford was its first licensee: one of his ancestors had built the house some years before, and Shore had been home for a branch of the Bamford family since the 1300's.

A datestone over the door tells us that this rugged gritstone house has withstood the elements since 1792. The initials 'T S B' are those of its builders - Thomas and Susan Bamford. They were married at the parish church of Rochdale in 1760. Thomas was the youngest son of James Bamford who lived a long and full life here at Shore between 1682 and 1768. The land he farmed gave but a meagre existence and the family sought other ways to make ends meet. Weaving offered one possibility but successful dealing in provisions and household wares probably gave Thomas the means to build this substantial dwelling. Outlying moorland farms were visited and supplied by pack pony and Thomas's son developed the business to such an extent that he could leave a considerable fortune when he died in 1831 - a personal estate of nearly £5000 in fact, as well as land and property.

Amongst his property was the house which was to become the "King William". James Bamford, the innkeeper, leased it from another James Bamford - Thomas's grandson. The innkeeper was born in March 1800 and came to marry Ann Midwood before 1841. Though Ann had children by an earlier marriage none seem to have resulted from her marriage to James, and when he died in August 1851 all that was his went to Ann. Ann continued the business for a while, but by 1858 Edmund Leach had taken over - a new link in a chain which continues unbroken to the present.

Home comforts, warmth and conviviality are all embodied in the King William's rich tradition and, by skilfully blending the best of the old with the best of the new, we are confident we can ensure the continuance of the heritage established by the Bamfords as Shore over many centuries.

John Bamford and licensee Frank Findlow behind the bar, 1999

John Bamford and licensee Frank Findlow behind the bar, 1999.

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