IN 1851, Swanlow Lane in Winsford looked quite different to how it looks now.

There was a beerhouse and a few dwellings in that location at the time and the few houses that existed clustered around the imposing vicarage.

This was once the home of the Vicar of St Chad’s, the ancient church at the back of the pub.

The reason for the name is lost in the mist of time but probably after a horse with a star pattern on its face.

The premises were owned originally by the Cross family of Sandiway and the first licensee shown was John Prince in 1851.

At the side of the pub, a road leads down to the ancient St Chad’s Church which from 1810 to 1930 boasted its own pub The Bell but known locally as The Blue Bell, this burnt down but was rebuilt in the same style.

Amanda Charlesworth took over The Star Inn in 1923 and remained as a licensee for 46 years until 1969.

After that, managers came and went until 2011 when the pub was closed and put up for sale.

Not an unusual occurrence these days but one that presented Ernie Welsh with the challenge to bring the old pub back to life.

Until the decline in pubs, the Old Star had always been popular with loyal customers, and Ernie spent his own money to purchase the building and bring back the success of the old days.

It’s the only freehold pub in the town, so lovers of traditional ales are catered for.

Especially for Guinness drinkers, supposedly the best pint outside Dublin.

In 2014 a national competition was won by the pub against 3700 pubs nationwide.

The prize was a full frontal replica of the pub to be on Copacabana Beach in South America during the World Cup.

Poor Ernie had the onerous task of going out to his ‘new pub’ and attending the World Cup.