Although the official listing for the building estimates that it dates back to the mid 18th century, many sources maintain that the oldest part, the tallest section, dates back to 1502 and that it was a tithe barn. The 1838 Tithe map (section below) shows that the Royal main building and the additional buildings adjoining it to the north are all in the same plot as the Rectory 389.
Chris Wright, the Estates Manager of Daniel Thwaites plc, has reviewed the deeds packet for The Royal and confirmed 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.
It is not known when the property was first used as a pub but the Baines Directory of 1825 for Heysham lists a Henry Baines at ‘Dobson’s Hotel’. Let us assume that this is the same /part of what we now call The Royal Hotel. From the Lancashire Parish Clerks' website we have traced a Thomas Dobson who was born in Poulton le Sands in 1764, married Jane Lord of Heysham in 1798. They had at least 7 children. He died in 1815 when Thomas Dunham Whitaker was Heysham’s rector. In that entry his occupation is listed as innkeeper and on a previous one too. The entries do not always include the occupation so we cannot be certain when he started that occupation, but is does at least suggest a reason for the name of the hotel.
In an 1851 Directory there is a Richard Blacow, victualler at Dobson’s Arms. In the 1881 census Abraham Dodgson is listed as a Licensed Victualler at the Royal Hotel. His wife is Grace and they have five children. This establishes the name change of the pub. Other church records mention innkeepers: examples include Ralph Gerrard (1837), Lawrence Curtis (1859), John Pearson (1884 and 1885). The Royal is specified in the last one and prior to 1862 the Battery and Cumberland View didn’t exist. However no St Peter’s Church registers in the second half of the 18th century appear to have any mention of an innkeeper or equivalent.
When Thwaites Brewey bought the Royal they applied for planning permission to bring semi-derelict parts of the building into use. Because the building is listed, Lancaster City Council commissioned a report on it from a local specialist firm Greenlane Archaeology based in Ulverston before granting planning permission. For a copy of a summary of their report click here. The renovation was carried out in 2016/17, with the extended pub and hotel re-opening in 2017.