The Morning Star Inn, Ruthin

The Morning Star Inn, 55 Clwyd Street

Old documents, discovered here in 2010 amid rotting bedstead straw, gave a detailed insight into a Victorian publican’s life.

The date 1639 is inscribed inside the building. The rear wing may have been extended in the 19th century. The pub was The North Pole Inn in the mid-18th century, becoming The Star in 1775 and The Morning Star in 2010.

Clwyd Street was once the main road into Ruthin from both Denbigh and Corwen. From 1654, successive prisons nearby also boosted the inn’s trade. The last prison, opposite the pub, is now a museum and record office.

From 1799 to c.1850 the inn was kept by five generations of the Williams family. The family’s farmland, near Graigfechan, supplied food, fodder and ale for the inn. The records found in the attic in 2010 are from the time of the last of the Williams landlords, John, who died in 1845.

The documents tell us the bar was basic, having just a table and seven chairs. Liquor was kept at the bar but when customers requested ale, to drink on the premises or take out, the serving maids fetched it from the cellar. The Star had its own brewery and malt room, which used barley from the family farm. It served food throughout the day in the well-appointed parlour. Pigs were kept in the back yard.

The records list 52 customers who had been imbibing or smoking on credit. They included jail worker Thomas Jones, who may have procured beer for the the jail opposite. Weak beer (“small beer”) was safer to drink at that time than water from many sources.

The inn’s stables (now residential properties) catered for the horses and carriages that were constantly passing with goods and passengers. The Star had its own horse and carriage for hire. However, it also faced stiff competition from Ruthin’s many other pubs – which perhaps explains why local “pyrotech artist” Mr J Cartwright was hired to provide a public display of fireworks outside The Star in September 1842.

In the 20th century The Star passed from the Ruthin Castle estate to successive breweries. In 2010 it was bought by businessmen Richard Blue Douglas and Phil Jackson, who renovated the building.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL15 1HH

Website of The Morning Star Inn (including detailed history)