This premises reportedly opened in the late 1830s (certainly by 1838) although it was initially called the William IV with the licensee named as James Taylor.
The premises was advertised for auction on 17 January 1842:
ALL that well-accustomed INN or PUBLIC-HOUSE, with the Bard, Stable, Cow House, Yard, and Outbuildings thereto belonging, situate at Meltham aforesaid, now in the Occupation of Mr. James Taylor.
Together with about 2A. 2R. 8P. of excellent LAND, situate at Brackenhead, near to the said Inn, formerly Part of the Commons of Meltham, but which has lately been broken up and made unusually productive, no Expense or Labour having been permitted to stand in the way of rendering this Allotment superior to most old Land in the Neighbourhood, an Object which uncommonly heavy Crops satisfactorily show to have been well accomplished.N.B. The Inn is advantageously situated close to the Turnpike Road, in a populous Manufacturing District, about a Quarter of a Mile distant from the lively and flourishing Village of Meltham, and at a short Distance from Huddersfield ; and being unrestricted to Spirit Merchant or Brewer, a thriving and lucrative Business may with proper Arrangement be carried on.
The auction coincides with the subsequent change of name to the Shepherds Inn, presumably selected by the next owner or licensee.
By the early 1850s, the licensee was John Knight. In 1855, the licence was transferred to his son, Sampson Knight.
At the Brewster Sessions of 1859, the licence of Sampson Knight was withdrawn following complaints from Superintendent Heaton. The magistrates were told that the owner of the property was a poor widow whose only income was from the rent paid by the tenant (Knight), so they ordered the licence be transferred to her until she could find a new tenant to run the beerhouse. Sampson was later the keeper of the Brown Cow beerhouse in Meltham.
The 1861 Census records Sampson's mother, widow Nancy Knight, as the innkeeper. In August 1863 she was fined 2s. 6d. plus expenses for "entertaining company on Sunday during prohibited hours".
The inn continued to attract troubled landlords and customers, and was described as being "a retreat for gamblers and the worst characters of the community". Being situated close to the parsonage, the Rev. E.C. Watson complained that "during the four years he had lived at Meltham, he had never seen a decent working man enter the [Shepherds Inn]".
The inn's licence was revoked at the Brewster Sessions of 1867 and it reverted to a beerhouse.
The former inn was advertised as a residence in December 1869:
MELTHAM. To be sold by private contract, subject to approval by the Court of Chancery, all that FREEHOLD DWELLING-HOUSE, lately occupied as an Inn, and known by the name of the Shepherd’s Inn, and Two COTTAGES adjoining.