OVER the past 10 years or so our local pubs have taken a hammering, the suspected reasons are many.

Supermarket prices, the smoking ban and the price of liquor in public houses as dictated by breweries and suppliers to name but a few.

Suffice to say, many of our pubs have gone to the wall or are on their last legs.

Some have managed to buck the trend.

We have already looked at the defunct Liquid Lounge, now let us look at an even sadder loss, The Raven Inn.

Technically in Darnhall, the Raven Inn is situated at the far end of Swanlow Lane between Winsford and Church Minshull.

The name Raven comes from the Corbett family, long time residents of Darnhall Hall and upon whose family crest was a raven.

The hall was sold to the Verdin family in the late 1800s and was demolished around 1950.

The pub is believed to be one of the oldest in Vale Royal.

It used to be a gamekeeper’s cottage but was mentioned as an alehouse in Weaver Township, an older name for Darnhall, in 1631.

The licensee on this date was John Robinson and in those long gone days the customer base would have been the surrounding farms and travellers on the ancient Over to Nantwich Road.

How peaceful it must have been in those days, sitting in the candle lit bar, log fire blazing in the grate casting shadows around the room.

Outside the only sound being the scuffling of the creatures in the grass and the distant call of a night owl.

Sad to look at it now in the modern photograph.

The Indian restaurant sign still hangs at the front but that plan is long gone.

Like most pubs that I visit, The Raven has a resident ghost, this one is called Tom and he was a gamekeeper.

His antics could frequently be witnessed in the pub, I wonder what he thinks of his old haunt now?