A recent article in the Visitor about the refurbishment of the Royal mentions the 1502 date and also states that the building has been used as a hostelry since 1730.. Neither of these dates have we been able to substantiate.
Because the building is listed Lancaster City Council, before granting planning permission, commissioned a report on it from a local specialist firm Greenlane Archaeology based in Ulverston. For a copy of a summary of their report click here.
Chris Wright, the Estates Manager of Daniel Thwaites plc, has reviewed the deeds packet for The Royal and given us some very important information. First it confirms that the Church (Rev CTT Royds) owned The Royal well into the 20th century finally selling it 1922 to representatives of William Mitchell and the associated five cottages 2 years later likewise. Prior to those dates William Mitchell himself leased The Royal for a period of 10 years from 1914. William Mitchell was a Yorkshireman who leased his first public house The Black Horse in Lancaster in 1871. He founded Mitchells of Lancaster in 1880. For further details about Mitchells click here.
Since the Royds family owned The Royal, perhaps when John Royds was the first of the family to become Rector in 1858, that could be when the name change from Dobson’s took place. Royds Hotel perhaps and thence The Royal. (Pure surmise.)