"The setting is absolutely critical to my novels. Until I have the setting, I generally don't have the novel at all"; says Elizabeth George. Slaidburn is a charming river-side
village set deep in Lancashire's Bowland Forest. In Elizabeth George's favourite Inspector Linley crime novel Missing
Joseph, it appears as 'Winslough' with the excellent village pub Hark to Bounty identified as the original for the 'Crofter's Inn' where much of the action takes place.
George taps in to the historical account of the infamous Pendle Hill hangings in 1612, where ten witches were convicted of holding diabolic rites, mainly on the evidence of one small child. From this she develops the novel's central theme of parental love within this small ancient parish of stone cottages surrounded by wide stretches of empty grouse moor and skeletal winter hedges.
It is in the relaxed atmosphere of the Crofter's Inn that news arrives that the vicar is dead! And, it is in the mediaeval court-room - still preserved on the first floor of the pub - that the inquest is heard. The court-room was used as recently as 1937, and although it acts as a function room these days, it still has the jury benches along one wall, the witness box is used as a bar counter, and there is a heavy wooden door from the corridor which was used by visiting justices. Nowadays the court-room is accessed from stairs behind the bar but the original entrance is from the outside staircase shown in the photograph.
One theory for the pub's unusual name dates to the 1870s and is attributed to a foxhound called Bounty whose impatient bark could be heard above the rest of the pack when the Master of the Hunt made one of his frequent refreshment stops at the inn.
Hark to Bounty is a friendly old stone built inn with a pleasant mix of old and new decor in a line of linked rooms. There is a games room with darts, pool and machines at one end and a well appointed restaurant at the other. Bright horse brasses hang beside the open fireplaces and outside there is a relaxing garden. Set in good walking country, Hark to Bounty - with its wide choice of good value generous food and three well-kept real ales - is a great place to visit or stay.