Welcome to a history of the Tan Hill Inn

The Tan Hill Inn is the highest inn in the British Isles at 1,732 feet (528 m) above sea level. The building dates to the 17th century and during the 18th century was used as a hostelry by workers digging coal pits. The last mine on Tan Hill closed in 1929, although the pub was able to remain due to the custom of local farmers and the development of the motor car. The building is unusual for its isolation, but it used to be surrounded by miners’ cottages, until these were demolished after the closure of the mines in the 1920s.



In 1995, the inn was the first pub to obtain a licence to hold wedding ceremonies under new laws that allow people to marry in places other than a church or registry office. Tan Hill Inn no longer retains it’s licence to host weddings but still hosts many Stag, Hen and reception parties.


Construction of extension providing the inn with seven new en-suite rooms along with new toilets, pool room and flat.


Relaxation of World War One emergency measures 70 years late! Pubs in England and Wales are allowed all day opening and extra hour on Sundays. Later extended to all day Sundays.


Margaret and Alec Baines purchase Tan Hill Inn for £82,500 at auction.


A new form of customer was brought to the inn with the opening of the Pennine Way, Britain’s first long-distance footpath, a result of vigorous campaigning by ramblers which led to the opening of public rights of way and the establishment of many more long distance footpaths which later included the Coast to Coast path which passes through nearby Keld.


Tan Hill hosts it’s first Sheep Show under the landlordship of Lew Hamilton. Sheep Fairs were popular in Swaledale before then before falling victim to the Depression of the 1930’s. The Tan Hill Sheep Show revived that tradition, held on the last Thursday of every May, since it’s inauguration. The same year, Robert Clough, a historian spoke to Lew Hamilton about extending the inn as a tourist centre. Clough wrote that nothing came of it due to the inn’s inaccessibility during the winter.


Closure of the last mine on Tan Hill, starting a quiet period for the inn which was able to remain open thanks to local farmers and the development of the motor car.


The Tan Hill miners worked during the General Strike of 1926, opting to do so because their wages were marginal, but it was not long before they lost their jobs, improved roads enabling better coal to be brought into Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.


During the First World War, pub opening was restricted to lunchtimes and evenings only to stop people from getting drunk during the war effort. These laws will change little for the next seventy years.


Susan Peacock’s Legacy: Born in West Witton in Wensleydale, Susan Peacock worked in various domestic jobs before marrying Richard Parrington of the Cat Hole Inn in Keld. The couple took over the Tan Hill Inn in 1903 which by then was in a bad state of repair. They made a success of the inn despite the waning mining industry. Richard Parrington died, leaving Susan to bring up her three daughters, Olive, Edna and Maggie. She married Michael Peacock, an Arkengarthdale native and owner of one of the Tan Hill pits, acquiring the Peacock name which is familiar to all those who come to Tan Hill. The wireless became a novelty at the inn in 1930 and Susan Peacock would often take part in radio broadcasts, telling people of the quiet life. This led to hundreds of people visiting the inn out of curiosity.

Tan Hill Inn History

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Tan Hill Inn 2000 onwards

Recent history for the Tan Hill Inn.

View the Tan Hill Inn’s history 2000 onwards

Tan Hill Inn 1050 - 1899