The Origin of the Eagle & Child
Back in the 14th century an ancestor of the Stanleys, Sir Thomas Latham, lived in an area of Lancashire also owned by them close to Lytham-St-Annes. He had one daughter Isabel, but no son to carry on the name.
It is said that a serving wench had borne him an illegitimate son, and to enable him to present the baby boy to his wife for adoption, he arranged for the child to be left at the base of a tree in which there was a bird’s nest (in some accounts an Eagle’s nest), which Sir Thomas had been observing.
The baby boy was duly adopted, and named ‘Oskatel’ by Sir Thomas, but in spite of the success of his plan, when Sir Thomas died, he left all his estate and wealth to his daughter Isabel. The daughter eventually married Sir John Stanley and in memory of her half-brother persuaded him to include in the family coat of arms, “The bird and bastard”.
This name persisted until propriety required it to be refined as “The Eagle and Child”, although many locals still refer affectionately to the pub as “The Bird ____”.
The first record of these licensed premises shows that an inn has existed on this site since 1492, the present property dating back to 1820.
The 23rd April was the recorded date of birth of the illegitimate child, and is therefore the true birthday of the Eagle and Child.
Ghosts of the Eagle & Child
The Eagle & Child is said to have 3 ghosts. The most ‘regular’ ghost has been seen many times sitting at a table and his cigarette smoke has been seen lingering after he has left. Rumour has it that when the pub had gone through one of its many improvements, the landlord had banned him from the pub when wearing dirty work clothes. He apparently died the next day and is said to have taken a fancy to one of the cleaning girls who he came back from the dead to see.