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The Farmer’s Arms

Formerly the Shovel and Broom

Church Street looking towards the Famer’s Arms – just past the boy leaning on the wall.
Photo from the Chris Oldroyd collection

A fair on what is now the car park of the Farmers Arms.
Photo from the Chris Oldroyd collection

There has been a pub on this site since at least the early 1800s, it was originally called the Shovel and Broom.

It had a very large yard at the back of the pub which was used annually for the fairground of the Garstang and District Agricultural and Horticultural Society Show, which was held on the Royal Oak field across the road.

Such attractions as coconut shies, swings, shooting galleries and hobby horses could be found at the fair, which attracted people from all around the area.

The Garstang Catholic Charitable Society

On the 11th of May 1820 the Garstang Catholic Charitable Society was set up at the pub. Catholics from Garstang “assembled for the purpose of taking into consideration the most proper and effectual methods of distributing the voluntary contributions, to be hereafter raised, by half-yearly payents from those who may chuse to join a Charitable Society”

The President of the newly formed Society was Mr. Edward Swarbrick of Nateby, and the secretary was Mr. William Hardman of Dolphinholme.

The records of that first meeting are contained in a booklet which is held in the archives of the Venerable English College, Rome, which we have a copy of in the GDHS archive.

The Society is no longer in existence.


The first landlord we have been able to trace was James Holden who was there in 1814.

It appears James may have had money problems, as an auction at the premises on 11th September 1823 was selling all his household goods and furniture, and offering the pub for let. The advertisement below, for the auction, appeared in the Lancaster Gazette.

Lancaster Gazette – Saturday 06 September 1823

ASSIGNMENT. WHEREAS JAMES HOLDEN, of Garstang, in the county of Lancaster, innkeeper and maltster, hath, by Indenture of Assignment bearing date the 30th day of August instant, assigned and transferred over all his personal estate and effects whatsoever unto Mr. Thomas Bell, of Garstang aforesaid, gentleman, Mr. Joseph Seed, of same place, factor, and George Holden, of Bonds, in the said county, tanner, IN TRUST, for the benefit of such of his creditors as shall execute the same within three months from the date thereof — Such creditors are therefore requested to deliver in a particular account of their respective demands, with the nature of their securities (if any) to Mr. Parkinson, solicitor, in Garstang aforesaid; to whom also all debts owing to the said James Holden must be immediately paid or actions will be commenced to recover them. 

To be Sold by Auction

At the dwelling house and premises of James Holden, innkeeper and maltster, the Shovel and Broom in Garstang, in the county of Lancaster, on Thursday the I1th of September, 1823 and the following day, the sale to commence at one o’clock each day ; All his valuable HOUSEHOLD GOODS and FURNITURE; one fine-toned Chamber Organ ; Brewing, Kitchen, and Dairy Utensils; a large quantity of Casks of various sizes; one Plough, and one Harrow; three Cans and Wheels; a large quantity of Sacks ; one Horse Malt-crushing Mill, one Hand do. a large quantity of prime Hops; Trucks; one Gig and Harness; a large quantity of well-got Hay ; Horses, Cows, Pigs ; Pots, Glasses, Pans, &c. Time for payment will be fixed at the time and place of sale. 

And, TO BE LET, by private treaty, with immediate possession, All that convenient and well accustomed PUBLIC HOUSE, called and known by the name of the SHOVEL AND BROOM, situate in the market-town of Garstang, with the Brewhouse, new and extensive Malt-house and Malt-kiln, Barn, Stable, Shippon, and six acres, or thereabouts, of superior Meadow and Pasture Land, thereto belonging, all late in the occupation of the said Saul James Holden.  The taker of these premises may be accommodated with any part of the household goods, brewing utensils, etc. at a fair valuation.  For further particulars and treaty, apply to Mr. Bell of Garstang aforesaid. August 30, 1823. 

The next landlord of the Shovel and Broom that we found was John Hunt in 1825, followed by George Ibison in 1839. 

Preston Chronicle – Saturday 25 May 1839

On Monday last, being Whit Monday there were a great number of persons from the neighbourhood early in to the town to witness the processions that were to take place.

At about nine o clock the Society belonging to the Lodge of  Churchtown of the most ancient, loyal and independent order of Oddfellows entered the town, preceded by a flag and their excellent band and  were joined by the members belonging to the Garstang lodge, amounting to upwards of 100, and thence proceeded through Catterall and Garstang to Church Town, and were joined there by the members of the Sick List there to the church, where an excellent sermon was preached by Rev. F. Kirkpatrick, A.B., from 14th chap. Romans, 16th  verse; Let not your good be evil spoken of, After which the Brethren dined at Mrs. Marland’s, Garstang, Church Town.

The Members of the Catholic Sick List, amounting to about 100, met at an early hour at Mr. George Ibison’s, the  Shovel and Broom, and went in procession through the town preceded by a band of music, to the Catholic Chapel, and afterwards dined at Mr. Ibison’s.

The children of Garstang and Scorton Catholic Sunday Schools went through the town in procession, and were afterwards treated with coffee and buns

George Ibison left the Shovel and Broom to go to Railway Inn at Poulton in 1841, and this was reported in the local paper:

Preston Chronicle – Saturday 10 July 1841


GEORGE IBISON, late of the Shovel and Broom, Garstang, returns his most sincere thanks to the public for the liberal support which he received there during his residence for ten years and upwards, and begs to inform them that he has taken and entered upon the above Hotel, which he has fitted up in a neat and comfortable manner. G. I. has selected his stock of choice Wines, Spirits, &c., from old established houses in the trade. Dinners and other refreshments to be had on the shortest notice.  Well aired Beds. Good Stabling and Lock-up Coachhouses. Neat Cars and Post Horses. Breck, 7th July, 1841.

In 1847 the landlord was a Mr Heaps

In 1851 the landlord was Thomas Cottam with his wife Mary

The pub changed its name to the Farmer’s Arms around 1868 following the sale of Garstang by Reverend W. A. W. Keppel, a great grandson of Sir Edward Walpole.

In the advertisement for the auction sale, the town was described as:

A very desirable and important FREEHOLD ESTATE, comprising 421 acres of some of the best land in England, with the entire town of Garstang and the celebrated salmon and trout fishing of the river Wyre.

In 1871 the pub was now called the Farmers Arms, and the landlord was Thomas Hunter with his wife Mary.

In 1881 the landlord was Francis Smith with his wife Elizabeth.

In 1891 the landlord was Michael Jenkinson with his wife Mary.

In 1901 the landlord was Joseph Horn with his wife Alice

In 1911 – no information as yet

In 1939 the landlord was Thomas Spencer, a retired police constable and his wife Margaret.