THE Three Greyhounds Inn at Allostock had been a pub since 1757 as it was a former farmhouse owned by the Shakerley family.

Several generations of the family had lived at Hulme Hall in Allostock, a moated hall, until 1720 when Peter Shakerley built Somerford Hall between Congleton and Holmes Chapel.

Shakerley Mere is close by Hulme Hall, and the hall was brought back from a state of dereliction before one million pounds was spent in 2014 on a complete restoration and is now a very prestigious private house.

But back to the Three Greyhounds at Allostock, between 1821 and 1831, a gentleman by the name of Thomas Hockenhull was the landlord who lived there with his wife, Alice. After 1831 his wife is listed as the incumbent, so what happened to Thomas?

Around 1831 Thomas went to Northwich on the same day as the Middlewich Fair day, and he was seen in the company of Ann Griffiths, alias Ann Burns.

This lady was better known in the area as ‘Nutty Ann’, not as you may think because she was in any way nutty, but she was an itinerant nut seller.

She formally lived in Tarporley and was well known as she attended various fairs and markets to sell her nuts.

During the day, Mr Hockenhull somehow ended up in the River Dane and was heard screaming for help; when he was eventually pulled from the water, he was dead.

The police attended and Nutty Ann and another woman were arrested on suspicion of pushing the poor man into the river and murdering him.

They were brought before the court, and the evidence examined; the magistrates decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge them, and they were released.

In 1851 Nutty Ann lived with her two sons in New Street, Northwich; the street is now under the police station and surroundings.

She was head of the family with her job title as a confectioner. Then in 1856, Ann was in Leftwich when she died.

Before dying and on her death bed, she made a dying declaration.

This was an admission that on the day that Mr Hockenhull ended up in the River Dane in her company, he had been very drunk.

Taking advantage of the situation, she had robbed him and then pitched him into the river, ignoring his cries for help and letting him drown.

So his wife Alice may not have known of this admission as she took over as Landlady of the Three Greyhounds, remaining there from 1834 to 1841.

And there ends the tale of ‘Nutty Ann,’ and her nefarious unpunished deed.

What the Three Greyhounds was like in 1831, I don’t know.

But having enjoyed an alfresco meal there today with our dog, I can highly recommend it.

They have many awards, and as for dog friendly, in 2018 they were in the top 50 dog-friendly pubs in the country as listed in the Independent and in the Sunday Telegraph; they can be found in the top 25 in Britain.