DELAMERE Street in Winsford was once the centre of the ancient borough of Over, write Paul Hurley.

It had been an independent borough since 1280 when granted such by the Abbot of Vale Royal and confirmed by the King.

In ancient times Over, with its timbered cottages, was one of the prettiest villages in the country.

In the late 1700s, early 1800s, a large public house was built, probably on land upon which an earlier pub owned by Vale Royal Abbey had stood.

The pub, The George and Dragon, became the hub of this thriving community and its administrative centre.

It was built with a large room upstairs to house civic ceremonies such as the court for the Lord of the Manor which was held each October.

Lord Delamere held this title for much of the time and was the owner of the George and Dragon until 1882.

Until 1894 the Mayor of Over was also a justice of the peace, this privilege was removed from him by a new Local Government Act.

Over was recognised then as the smallest municipality in England.

When it was proposed to end the tradition whereby the owner of Vale Royal could appoint the mayor of Over, Lord Delamere was not too happy.

He was so unhappy that he picked up the ancient silver mace during a meeting at the George and Dragon and slammed it down onto the table damaging it.

His tantrum had no effect however as the right to appoint a mayor was handed in an honorary capacity to the chairman of the new UDC.

His Lordship continued to sulk and stormed off with the old mace; it had to be bought back many years later!

Prisoners for court were kept in the pub cellar until around 1840 when the Over Cross was built over the road with an integral cell and iron door.