Landlord Rhys Knowles
Landlord Rhys Knowles
Richard Bell

‘Haunted’ 18th-century pub in Rochdale comes to market

Owd Betts, the historic Rochdale pub said to be haunted by one of its previous occupants is up for sale.

Business broker Hilton Smythe, commissioned by landlord Rhys Knowles to help secure a new owner, has brought the site to market for £194,995.

The property dates back to 1796, when it was called The Hare and Hounds. At the time it was run by Richard and Mary Ashworth, passing to their son John and his wife Betty in the mid 19th Century.

When John passed away in 1869, Betty continued to run the inn on her own and it became known locally as ‘Owd Betts’ after its landlady.

It was not until the 1950s that the pub was officially renamed. Today, some locals insist Betty’s ghost can be heard walking the corridors as she keeps a watchful eye on staff.

Owd Betts’ current landlord, Rhys Knowles, has managed the pub for 12 years. He decided to put it up for sale so he can spend more time with his family in Wales.

Rhys, who used to drink at Owd Betts with his father as a young man, said: “Owd Betts means a lot to me personally, as it has been part of my life for a long time.

“When I knew I had to sell it, to spend more time with my wife and two young children, it was important for me to find a business broker that would understand its significance in the local area and treat it with respect.”

He continued: “I hope that Hilton Smythe will find a new owner that will give it as much love as I have. Owd Betts is an institution, and people come back because of what it is. I don’t want it to go to someone who will turn it into a wine bar.

“Owd Betts is a special place and it will be difficult for me to leave. It means a lot to many people in the area, and I look forward to handing it over to someone else, to give them their place in its history.”

Gareth Smyth, group managing director at Bolton-based Hilton Smythe, commented: “Owd Betts is a fantastic business for us to work with, as it has so much local history, and the new owners will not only be getting a pub, they will be getting a piece of Rochdale’s heritage.

“At Hilton Smythe, we get a lot of businesses with interesting stories, and Owd Betts is one of the best. We want to find the perfect owner to come and take it over, and we hope the ghost of Betty will get on well with them too.”

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