Cooper’s – hostelry

Visits to a hostelry in Preston going by the name of Cooper’s are recorded on 37 separate occasions in the 17th-century diaries of Thomas Bellingham and Lawrence Rawstorne. The landlord appears to have been a James Cooper, who is variously referred to in the diaries as Cooper, Cowper and Cowp. The first reference to the establishment is in Rawstorne’s entry for 16 September 1687: ‘at Preston & at prayers & at James Cowpers and George Ratliffs & at Rigbyes wth Kester Parker & Mr [Sorrocold] & Mr Lemon’, and the last on 18 December 1689. Rawstorne sometimes refers to him as Mr Cooper, suggesting his status was above that of a common alehouse keeper.

The 1685 survey of Preston establishes a James Cooper as the occupier of a property on Cheapside, which could have been the inn. For more information on his other neighbours see Market Square.

The town’s court leet records show that a Mr James Cooper was frequently prosecuted ‘for not removing his Rubbish lying in Cheapside’ (May 1702) and ‘for laying of Rubbish and Clay over agt his door in Cheap side and having notice given him before time and not done’ (February 1702/3), and yet again in May 1704 ‘for leting his Rubish ly in the Street before his house in the Cheapside’. [1]

Rawstorne also refers to visiting a hostelry in Main Sprit Weind, were there were several hostelries at this time, kept by a Widow Cooper (18 November 1687).

[1] David Berry, trans., ‘Preston Court Leet Records’, accessed 29 January 2017,

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