The Kings Head Inn est 1829
The Kings Head is reputed to be the oldest hostelry in the City of Carlisle. The Present building dates from the 17th Century, but its understood to be on a site which has been occupied by a hostelry as far back as the 10th century.
Carlisle was transformed into a City during the Middle ages by the development of its religious communities. The See of Carlisle was founded by Henry I in 1133 and the chosen seat of the Bishop was The Church of St Mary in Carlisle, which immediately became The Cathederal. The other church was dedicated to St Cuthbert.
A chapel to dedicated to St Albans also existed in the Parish of St Mary, and while it was tolerated there were attempts to close it, along with its unconsecrated graveyard. It probably survived until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539-40.
Rosemary Lane is a medieval street origionally laid out to give access to St Albans Chapel, which is just behind St Albans row. The shopping development of 1988, behind the Kings Head Inn is on the site of the St Albans Chapel & graveyard.
The Kings Head first appears in the Parson & White directory of 1829. The Proprietor then being a Mr James Sawyer, who was a veteran of the Peninsular war and The Battle of Waterloo.
During World War I thousands of workers were drafted in to build and work for the massive munitions depot at Gretna. The growth of drunkenness was gradual at first but by the spring of 1916 dissorder has spread to such an extent ” as to threaten and undermine the ordinary social life of the City”.
Lloyd George fearing riots would take place as in Ireland at the time introduced the Liquor Control Board. This scheme was thought to be temporary, but become known as The Carlisle Experiment and was to last 55 years. In October 1916 the running of The Kings Head was taken over by the said Liquor Control Board.
With The Licensing Act of 1921 the Control Board was abolished and The Carlisle and District State Management Scheme evolved to take over the Cities pubs. The Kings Head being acquired by the State Management in 1922.
On 25th May 1971 a bill to abolish the State Management Scheme was presented to Parliment. The move was generally welcomed. In early 1971 the State management began selling off of the County pubs, The Kings Head being acquired by John Smiths on 7th May 1973. In 1984 the present owners purchased The Kings Head at which time the premises were extensively redecorated.