THE landlord of the oldest pub in Bolton is appealing to anyone who can shed light on the origins of a centuries-old picture which depicts the beheading of the Earl of Derby.

Norma Fernley, aged 79, called Ye Olde Man & Scythe on Churchgate last week to see if the pub wanted to take the picture off her hands.

She said: “To be perfectly honest, it was going to go down the tip. It was just an afterthought.”

The picture lived with Mrs Fernley in Astley Bridge for over 20 years having previously belonged to her husband’s stepfather, Walter Longworth.

She said that the picture must be over 100 years old because Walter had it for 70 years, and his father owned it before him.

Mrs Fernley was recently clearing some of her late husband’s belongings and considered donating the picture to Bolton Museum but didn’t think they would want it.

The picture depicts the execution of James Stanley, the seventh Earl of Derby, in 1651 outside the pub, which is believed to have been owned by his family at the time.

The pub houses a museum room which contains a chair that the royalist Earl supposedly sat on before he was beheaded for his part in the Bolton Massacre during the English Civil War, as well as other old prints and pictures relating to the event.

Pub landlord Richard Greenwood was delighted to receive the picture, which he eventually wants to display at the pub.

Mr Greenwood said: “I want to try to retain the frame. It’s a little bit old at the back but it looks fantastic. The print itself needs cleaning up a bit, but the frame is as much an interest as the picture.”

After posting the picture on LinkedIn, Richard received some responses which have led him to believe that it is a print of a pencil drawing.

Mr Greenwood took over Ye Olde Man & Scythe six years ago after the former landlord died.

The earliest recorded mention of the pub’s name is in a charter from 1251, making it one of the 10 oldest public houses in Britain.

Mrs Fernley told Mr Greenwood that if the picture is worth any money, he should spend it on a cruise, to which he replied: “If it is worth a couple of million, we will go on a cruise together!”

Mrs Fernley, who says she hasn’t been to the famous Bolton pub in many years, said: “I’m just happy that it’s gone to a good home.”

If you can help Mr Greenwood establish the origins of this picture and its frame, email him on