Home Places Pubs and Clubs Cross Keys now in Vicar Lane

Cross Keys now in Vicar Lane

April 1969

South Yorkshire Times, April 19th 1969

The Cross Keys, a Tetley, public house in Darfield, closed and opened within 2 a hours. Nothing unusual in that, you may he thinking, pubs are doing it every day. What was unusual was that the Cross Keys in Church Street closed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and the newly-built Cross Keys in Vicar Lane opened at 5.30 p.m.

The old Cross Keys has stood in Church Street opposite the ancient parish church for many wars. There are no records which give the date of the building or when it was given a licence, but it is be lived that it was at least 350 years old.

Sense of Humour

One of the earliest stories regarding the pub was about a dissenting minister called Mr. Longden, who rode over from Sheffield on horseback to preach to the villagers in 1790. He had breakfast at the public house (presumably the Cross Keys), and asked the landlord to show him a place where he might preach.

The landlord must have had a sense of humour because he suggested that the minister should speak from the top of a wall between the Rector’s and the Vicar’s houses.

Mr. Longden stood on the wall and soon had a large congregation around him. The two resident clergymen were so enraged at this that they ordered the bells to be rung and one of them mounted his horse and galloped up and down the street trying to disperse the crowd. The minister must have been made of sterner stuff because an eye-witness recorded “that the bells continued to ring, he to preach and they to listen:”

The parish church of All Saints is one of the oldest ecclesiastical buildings in South Yorkshire and the people of Darfield are very proud of their church which has weathered the storms of almost 1,000 years. It stands on high ground overlooking the valley of the Dearne which remained unchanged until about 90 years ago when the first collieries were sunk.

Darfield is still thought of as a mining village, but it has the size of a small town which combines both the old and the new. The Cross Keys is in the old part of the village.

The new Cross Keys has been built on the site of the former vicarage at the back of the old pub. When it was being-built the workmen found a well 86 feet deep under what is now the public bar.

Other wells had been found previously, one of these under the floor of the licensee’s kitchen in the old Cross Keys. These wells could have been used in the days when many pubs brewed their own beer. Some of the older customers remember when the old Cross Keys was locally called the “Coffin Inn”. This was attributed to its shape which looked like a coffin when seen from the top of the church tower – and the fact that the horse that pulled the “poor man’s coffin” was stabled nearly.

The new Cross Keys, which is of traditional appearance designed to blend in with the surroundings, has cottage type windows, painted cement rendered walls and an antique red pantiled roof.

There are two rooms, the lounge and public bar. The lounge is the larger room and has two splayed bay windows. The walls are finished in a patterned “Vymura” paper and the room has a fitted carpet. In the public bar there is another splayed bay window, the floor is covered with linoleum tiles in two colours and the walls have an eggshell painted finish. There is a darts alcove.

Both rooms have fixed wall seating, stools and chairs upholstered in Vynide. The tables are covered in a decorative laminate and domino tables arc provided in the public bar.

Heating is by fan assisted heaters and pipe coil, and ventilation is provided by extractor fans. Draught beer is dispensed by means of beer meters and the cellar is temperature controlled.

Licensee at the Cross Keys is Mr. William Dryden, who has been at the original pub for five years. Mr. Dryden, a Barnsley man, has been in the licensed trade for 11 years.

Before he came to Darfield he and his wife had a pub in Barnsley.

Once the family have settled in their new house Mrs. Anne Dryden intends to provide lunchtime snacks for customers.

The Cross Keys was designed by Tetley’s Architects’ Department. Mr. H. B. Morris is chief architect and MT. D. K. Davy, architect in charge, Sheffield area, was responsible for this project. The main contractor was W. G. Robson Ltd., Barnforth Street, Sheffield.

Joshua Tetley and Son Ltd. are part of Tetley Walker Ltd., one of the principal companies in the Allied Breweries group.

Official Opening

The opening ceremony was officially carried out by Brigadier J. Noel Tetley, Chairman of both Tetley Walker Ltd., and Joshua Tetley and. Son Ltd., and he afterwards drew the first pint.

Brigadier Walker remarked on the fact that the new public house stood on a site which had been occupied by licensed premises for the past 350 years, the Cross Keys Inn which they were now vacating being the oldest public house in the village.

Brigadier Tetley offered wishes for the new house’s success, and also presented a bouquet to Mrs. Dryden, wife of licensee Mr. William Dryden.