The following description of the inn was given when it was auctioned in 1858:
All that capital stone-built INN, or PUBLIC HOUSE, called or known by the name of the Royal Oak Inn, situate at Thongs Bridge, aforesaid, containing four rooms on the ground floor, arched cellar, large and spacious lodge room, and two bedrooms, with attic over the whole, Butcher's Shop, Brewhouse, Stable, Outbuildings, Garden and conveniences, now in the occupation of Mr. Hiram Earnshaw or his undertenants.
Also, all the Close of LAND behind the same, called or known by the name of the Calft Croft, now in the occupation of the said Hiram Earnshaw or his undertenants.
Also, all those Four COTTAGES, situate at the north end of the public house, with the Outbuildings and appurtenances thereto belonging, now in the several tenures or occupations of Betty Rollinson, Joseph Bray, Benjamin Booth, and Joseph Earnshaw, or theirs undertenants.The above property is eligibly situated on the Huddersfield and Woodhead turnpike road, about one mile from Holmfirth, and the present tenant of the inn carries on a excellent business therein.
The inn was the meeting place of several local Friendly Societies, including the Oddfellows (Good Samaritan No. 698, Children of Israel No. 2416, and Star of Providence No. 738), the Druids (Star of Providence No. 61), and the Foresters (Paddan Aram No. 125). The income this generated led to the landlord (named as "Mr. Walker") adding a further storey to the property in 1865 which provided a dedicated lodge room reported "calculated to hold nearly 1,000 persons" and was opened on December 23 1865.