Burnaston – Spread Eagle

Derek Roome 2009 

Where was it?

The Spread Eagle (also known as The Half Way House) was located at the junction of Willington Road and the A38. The site is now covered by the large Toyota road island, the factory site actually covering the area of the old Derby Airport. The pub was also known as Halfway House as Horse drawn Traffic used to stop for refreshment on the journey from Burton to Derby.


                          Burnaston Spread eagle


 A photo of the Pub c1960 appears in Arthur Smith’s Etwall, an Illustrated History page 64. It is also mentioned briefly with regard to a sewerage spillage in the lane in 1899, in Arthur Smiths Etwall, portrait of a DerbyshireVillage, page 88.

In J B Henderson’s The Etwall Heritage it is mentioned on page 85 that plans were made in 1938 to either develop the pub into a hotel or demolish it and build one, but the war intervened. J B Henderson also gives the derivation of the Inn sign, : The Spread eagle is taken from the arms of the Findern family of Findern, who married into the Port family of Etwall.

The pub is clearly shown on maps dated 1841, 1881, 1882, 1901 and 1923.


Se Burnaston

A  photograph circa 1900 shows a large group of cyclists, complete with cloth caps posing in front of the pub. They are said to be members of the Willington Cycle Club.


 1.      Derby Evening Telegraph (1964?)

Report on the forthcoming demolition of the Halfway House due to A38 road widening.

Includes photograph


2.      Derby Evening Telegraph (date unknown)

The Spread Eagle was reprieved from demolition for a short time as a result of a government credit squeeze!. The article mentions existing manager, Fred Shaw, who was preparing to hold a closing down and farewell party. Fred Shaw had been manager for 15 years, having previously been  cinema manager at the Empire ( later known as The Black Prince) in Derby

The pub stands on land owned by the Derby Corporation which holds the license and was leased on a yearly basis by Ind Coope Ltd.

A building had stood there for about 250 years. It formerly displayed Altons Ales Sign

The Pub was threatened at one point by the proposed building of an Airport Hotel.

The inside is described as a true Country Inn, with settles against the walls and Victorian tables with heavy wrought iron legs. The lounge looking out onto Mr Shaw’s rose garden and lawn is a sunny pleasant room and there is, in addition to the bar, a snug and a room where bar billiards and other games are played.”

Known Landlords. Compiled from Census information/Directories


Joseph Shepherd


Thomas Shepherd


40 Born Derby



Thomas Shepherd

Samuel Parker 

Little Derby House

65 Born Repton



Samuel Parker

Little Derby House

73 Born  Repton



William Archer


William Archer


William Archer


William Archer


William Archer

Spread Eagle

31Born Hollington

Licensed Victualler


William Archer

Spread Eagle Inn

41Born Hollington



William Archer

Spread Eagle Inn

51Born Hollington 



William Archer


Samuel Spencer


Samuel Spencer

Spread Eagle Inn

35 Born Etwall



Charles Clare


Edward Livermore


Arthur Tilley

Spread Eagle Inn

32 Born Linton

Inn Keeper


Arthur Tilley


Arthur Tilley


Arthur Tilley


Arthur Tilley


Walter Tilley


Alfred Norman Parker


4.The Will of William Archer – Landlord of the Spread Eagle Burnaston

                   -1855 - 1884

This is the last will and testament of me WILLIAM ARCHER of the Spread Eagle Inn in the township of Burnaston in the County of Derby, Farmer and Licensed Victualler. I give and bequeath to my trustees and executors hereinafter named the sum of four hundred and fifty pounds (being the amount of money I received belonging to my present wife MARY ARCHER, late MARY CLARKE widow upon our marriage) upon trust to invest the same upon such good and substantial security as they may think fit and to pay the income thereof to my said wife for her life and after her decease upon trust to pay and divide the same sum unto and equally between SARAH the wife SAMUEL TOPLIS of Ticknall in the said County of Derby, CLARA CLARKE, ELIZABETH the wife of JOHN BRADLEY of Blackwell in the same County and WILLIAM CLARKE (the illegitimate son of the said CLARA CLARKE) being daughters, son and grandson of my said wife respectively for their own absolute use and benefit and if any of the said legatees shall have died in the lifetime of my said wife without leaving lawful issue then I direct that her, his or their share or shares shall be equally divided amongst such of the said legatees as shall be then living or the issue of such as shall have died such issue taking per stirpess.  I give and bequeath the household furniture and effects mentioned in the schedule hereto (the same having been the property of my said wife before her marriage) unto my said wife for her own absolute use and benefit. And as to all the rest, residue and remainder of my personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever and any real estate of which I may die possessed, I give, devise and bequeath the same unto my said trustees and executors their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns upon trust to sell and convert the same into money as and when they shall deem most expedient and to pay divide nine tenths thereof unto and equally between my children WILLIAM, ISABELLA, JOHN, ANN,MARY ELIZABETH, PHILLIS and THOMAS JOSEPH and my adopted daughters (nieces of my former wife) AGNES MATILDA ARCHER and FANNY MARIAARCHER for their own absolute use and benefit and if any of the said last mentioned legatees shall die before attaining the age of twenty one years and without having lawful issue then I direct that her, his or their share or shares shall be equally divided amongst such of the said legatees as shall be then living or the issue of such as shall have died such issue taking per stirpess. I direct that any amount owing to me at the time of my decease by my son WILLIAM ARCHER shall be duly repaid by him to my estate. I direct my said trustees and executors to invest the remaining one tenth part or share of and in my said estate and to pay the income thereof to my said wife for her life and after her decease to pay and divide such part or share unto and equally between my said children and nieces respectively as is hereinbefore directed with respect to the nine tenth parts or shares as aforesaid. I appoint my said wife MARY ARCHER, my nephew THOMAS ARCHER of Wild Park, Mercaston in the said County of Derby (Son of my brother SAMUELARCHER) and my friend THOMAS WAITE of Billington Hill in the same county, farmer, executrix and executors of this my will and I devise to them and their heirs all estate?????  ???? trustees or mortgages subject to the trusts and equities affecting the same respectively. I appoint my said wife and the said THOMAS ARCHER guardians of such of my children as shall not have attained the age of twenty one years at the time of my decease. And lastly I hereby revoke all former wills heretofore made by me. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February One thousand eight hundred and eighty two.


The Schedule herein before referred to:

2 Sets of Bedsteads

1 Mahogany Dining Table

1 Writing Desk

3 Feather Beds

1 Horse Hair Sofa

1 Wash Box

3 Mattresses  

1 Eight Day Clock

1 Tea Tray

10 Blankets

6 Rush Seated Chairs

2 Waiters

12 Sheets

1 Wooden Arm Chair

1 Case of Birds

12 Slips

1 Rocking Chair

1 Washing Machine

5 Counterpanes

1 Iron? Chair

2 Copper Tea Kettles

1 Dressing Table

1 Weather Glass

1 Brass Pan

1 Washstand

1 Chimney Glass

2 Iron Saucepans

4 Cane Seated Chairs           

1 Fender & Set of Fire irons

1 Churn

1 Set of Painted Drawers

1 Carpet and hearth rug

1 Iron fender & set of fire irons

1 do Mahogany do

1 Kitchen Sofa           

1 Linen Chest

1 Night Commode

1 Mahogany Dining Table

Bedroom  ?????

1 Dressing Chest

1 Painted Table

Hair Carpeting

2 Swing Looking Glasses

1 Screen Table

Signed by the said WILLIAM ARCHER

The testator as and for his last will
And testament in the presence of us
Both present at the same time who in his                   WILLIAM ARCHER
Presence at his request and in the
Presence of each other have hereunto
Subscribed our names as witnesses

W. B. HEXTALL Solicitor.Derby


Proved at Derby, the 19th day of January
1887 by the oath of MARY ARCHER
Widow the relict and THOMAS ARCHER
The nephew (Son of deceased brother
SAMUEL) two of the executors to whom
Administration was granted THOMAS
the other executor having duly renounced.

The testator WILLIAM ARCHER was late of The Spread
Eagle Inn in the township of Burnaston, in the County of
Derby, Farmer and Licensed Victualler and died on the
28th day of November 1886 at Burnaston aforesaid.
Gross value of Personal Estate £2,460. 15. 5.

Extracted by JOHN HENRY POWELL, Solicitor, Derby



Ref: Fines and Misdemeanors – Etwall Common

(Only page 2 found of this document todate.)


……….summons to serve as jurors at the Court Leet & Court Baron of Elizabeth Cotton widow. Lady of the said Manor which will be holden at the house of Thomas Shepherd  - The Spread Eagle Inn in the township of Burnaston – 13th Oct 1831

Franchise Courts

Franchise courts acquired their jurisdiction directly from a royal grant. The most common franchise was leet jurisdiction. A court with this authority became known as a court leet (curia leta, curia magna). A court leet exercised the peace-keeping jurisdiction of the sheriff's twice-yearly tourn of the hundred courts, 'taking the view of frankpledge' (visusfranciplegii), and receiving presentments including assaults, the obstruction of highways and watercourses and breeches of assizes forbidding the fixing of the price of ale. This jurisdiction was often granted to landholders and borough authorities who valued it as an extra tool in the enforcement of law and order. Other types of franchise courts are market, portmote (port or borough), swainmote (forests) and woodmote (woods).

Manorial Courts

The principal type of manorial court was the court baron (curia baronis, curia parva). This was the court of the chief tenants of the manor. It was responsible for the internal regulation of local affairs within the manor. It was attended by all those free tenants whose attendance at court was a condition of their tenure, and by customary tenants. Customary tenants, the most significant of which were copyholders, held land by an agreement made at the manor court which was entered on its roll, a 'copy' of which was his regarded as proof of title. These courts dealt with a range of matters affecting the local community, including the regulation of agricultural affairs such as the allocation of strips of land, the enforcement of bye-laws about common land, ditches and crops, the enforcement of labour services, the transfer of manorial land, petty crime within the manor, and the election of local officials. In some instances, the lord of the manor was also granted leet jurisdiction within his holdings (see Franchise Courts above).

The variety of business conducted in manor courts declined steadily from the eighteenth century as the courts became increasingly concerned with the surrender of and admittance to copyhold land. Land was continually being converted into leasehold which reduced the amount of copyhold land. Hence, there was little reason for manor courts to meet. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it became more common for surrenders and admissions to take place outside the court baron. Many estate officials were often local solicitors who conducted this business through their own offices. Transactions would still be recorded in the manor court book until the abolition of copyhold land by the Law of Property Act of 1922.