Mary Ann Goodier was a domestic servant in the Bulls Head at Holmes Chapel in 1888.

She had known Samuel Shaw for 15 years and had been with him as a couple for 13 years.

In July 1887, they had a disagreement, and she wished to discontinue the engagement.

Mary wrote him a letter telling him they were finished as a couple. She received several letters from him stating that he wanted to continue seeing her.

Shaw was out of work, and she had been giving him money; he sent her another letter with the words 'Revenge is sweet'. Shortly after this, he came to the Bulls Head.

He shook hands with her and asked if she still felt the same, and she said 'Just the same'.

Shaw went into the snug, and she followed him in at 3pm; he asked her to sit beside him. She told him that she had no time for that and went out.

He remained in the house until 9.15pm when he asked another servant for her, and Mary went into the kitchen where he was to see what he wanted.

Northwich Guardian: Holmes Chapel in 2010 with the old Bulls Head site on the rightHolmes Chapel in 2010 with the old Bulls Head site on the right (Image: Paul Hurley)

She told him that her mind was not changed. He was in no state to get married; he had no job or money.

She was turning away from him when she heard the report of a pistol. Mary realised that he had shot her and the bullet had injured her arm and side.

She heard two more shots, and the light went out, and she fell to the floor. One shot had hit the light, and he held the gun barrel in his mouth and fired it.

She had sustained only the wounds to her arm and side, but Shaw was bleeding from his mouth.

Sergeant Lowe attended and found Mary with her two wounds and Shaw bleeding from his mouth and nose.

The sergeant searched Shaw and found two pistols with caps and slugs on him.

Northwich Guardian: Holmes Chapel Square in the 1920s-30sHolmes Chapel Square in the 1920s-30s (Image: Paul Hurley)

Dr Sutton examined Mary and Shaw, she had a bullet in her side, about an inch and a half deep, and he removed it. Shaw’s tongue and throat were very much lacerated.

At Sandbach Court on February 29, 1888, Superintendent Plant charged Samuel Shaw, aged 38, with attempting to murder Mary Ann Goodier and attempting to commit suicide by shooting himself in the mouth, to which he made no reply.

He later said that he could not remember leaving his house that day but remembered being in Holmes Chapel.

He was committed to trial at Chester Assizes, where he later appeared. A letter was read out in court that Shaw had written to Mary.

“When love and care have gone, revenge is sweet; let the consequences be what they may. Those who have taken you away from me shall not take you further into the world than you have gone today.

"I am as devil-hardened to you as you are to me and you will find that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry.

The court was told that in January of that year, Shaw had been treated in Birmingham for a disease of the eyes.

On the way back from Birmingham, Shaw went to the Bulls Head. The above shooting circumstances were discussed, and the defence was one of insanity, but there was no evidence to support this.

The jury found him guilty of an attempt to kill. In summing up, the judge said that the jury had no option but to bring that verdict, and the letter was conclusive.

Had the woman died, he would have been convicted of murder and undergone a shameful death. Samuel Shaw was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Bulls Head was closed in 1939, and the license was transferred to the new Good Companions Hotel that was built in 1937 and opened by the actress Jessie Mathews who starred in the 1933 film Good Companions.

That hotel was closed in 2000 and demolished to make way for Lovell Court, a retirement housing complex.

Although closed in 1939, the Bulls Head remained until after the war. It was used, amongst other things, as a prisoner-of-war camp.