Wills O' Nats, formerly known as the Spotted Cow Inn and the New Inn, is a public house near Meltham and is located at the junction of Blackmoorfoot Road and Deer Hill End Road, close to Meltham Cop.
The inn is marked as "The Spotted Cow Inn" on the 1854 map of the area. By 1851, the innkeeper was William Dyson, known locally as "Will O' Nats" — meaning "William son of Nathaniel". By the time of the 1871 Census, the inn was also known as the "New Inn", a name which continued to appear on maps until at least the mid-1960s.
As early as the 1870s, the general area where the inn is situated was referred to as "Wills O' Nats" in local newspaper articles.
On a Friday night in January 1871, Thomas Inman, a "tramping scissors grinder" originally from Sheffield, was found collapsed at the foot of the back door steps of the pub, having taken a tumble. He was carried home but died the following day. An inquest returned a verdict of "Accidental death, having fallen down a flight of stone steps, resulting in compression of the brain."
Dyson continued to be named the innkeeper until his death in 1881, during which time a New Inn beerhouse had been opened on Mill Moor Road, Meltham, by Abraham Talor. Mary Dyson initially took over as the licensee following her husband's death before it passed to George Balmforth in March the following year.
William Dyson's son, James William Dyson (1848-1903), took over the licence on 2 June 1885 and is named as the landlord in two newspaper articles in the 1890s.
The subsequent recorded licence transfers were:
Elliott Walker (senior) found himself in trouble after an on-duty policeman was allowed to become drunk on the premises in November 1913.
The inn was a regular starting point for hunts by the Colne Valley Harriers.
Having been known locally as "Wills O' Nats" for decades, the name was apparently formally changed to that in the 1970s. However, archive photographs indicate the inn had "WILLS O NATS" painted on the gable end of the property since at least 1910.