The house became a tavern in the Privateering days of 1778-90, and was much frequented by the officers and crews of
the Privateers,2 the Redcap, 16 guns; Nemesis, 18 guns; Alligator, 16 guns; Racehorse, 14 guns; Ariet, 12 guns; and
other small vessels made use of the good anchorage known as 'Red Bet's', opposite the house.  A small cannon,
punched with the broad arrow, was unearthed during Mr Kitchingman's alterations.  It had a spike welded on the end to
replace a wooden handle, long since decayed away, to turn the gun in the desired direction.  It was evidently a bow-
chaser from some Privateer.  It was placed by Mr Kitchingman in his garden, together with the remains of two flint
muskets found near, and of about the same date.  

Another interesting find was a 'Nine-hole stone', supported by a pedestal of brick. Nine Holes is a French game,
halfpence being thrown at the holes, and was the forerunner of bagatelle.  It was supposed that this stone was
fashioned by some French sailors (possibly prisoners of war confined in Liverpool and on parole). This was the
suggestion of old Captain Griffiths, aged eighty-five years, and an inmate of the Home for Aged Mariners.  He recognised
the stone and told Mr Kitchingman that he had played on it when quite a boy and called the game 'Bumble puppy.'

Stonehouse, writing in 1863, and describing the activities of the Pressgang about 1797, says:

“The men used to get across the water to Cheshire to hide until their ships were ready to sail. Near Egremont, on the shore,
there used to be a little, low public-house known as Mother Redcap's, from the fact of the owner always wearing a red hood or
cap. The public-house is still standing and I have often been in it.”

and had their entire confidence.  She had hiding places for any number.  There is a tradition that the caves at the Red Noses
communicated in some way and somewhere with Mother Redcap's.  The men used, on returning from their voyages, to deposit
communicated in some way and somewhere with Mother Redcap's.  The men used, on returning from their voyages, to deposit
with her their pay and prize money until they wanted it.  It was known or at least very commonly believed that Mother Redcap
good deal of prize money on their account, yet none of it was ever discovered.  Some few years ago, I think about ten or twelve
had in her possession enormous (for her) sums of money hidden or put away somewhere, but where that somewhere was, it
was never known, for at her death very little property was found in her possession although only a few days before she died a
rich prize was brought into Liverpool which yielded every sailor on board at least £1,000.  Mother Redcap's was swarming with
and many a strange story has been told and scene enacted under the old roof.”sailors belonging to the Privateer directly after
the vessel had come into port, and it was known that the old lady had received a good deal of prize money on their account, yet
none of it was ever discovered.  Some few years ago, I think about ten or twelve (1850), a quantity of Spade Ace guineas was
found in a cavity by the shore.  It has always been a firm belief with me that some day a rich harvest will be in store for
somebody.  Mother Redcap's was the resort of many a rough hard-hunted fellow, and many a strange story has been told and
scene enacted under the old roof.”


An artificial harbour stood next to the old cottage(1865) and remains
still across, under the promenade.  It formed a shelter for boats
stored on its south side, and could be made higher by sliding boards
between thick posts.  Sometimes with a north-west gale and high
tide the water flowed into the cellar.  

There was a wooden seat across the strand in front of the house
composed of thick timbers from wrecks.  It had a short wooden
flagstaff at one end with a large plain wooden vane at the top.  This
vane was supposed to work round with the wind but it was in reality
a dummy; the staff fitting down into a round wooden socket in the
shingle could be turned in any direction and was used by the
smugglers for signalling.  When the vane pointed to the house it
meant 'Come on,' and when pointing away, 'Keep off.'  
At the other end of the seat was another post, with a sign hanging
from it adorned with a portrait of Old Mother Redcap holding a frying
pan on a painted fire, and underneath these words:


All ye that are weary come in an take rest,
Our eggs and our ham they are of the best,
Our ale and our porter are likewise the same,
Step in if you please and give 'em a name.
- Mother Redcap

This post acted as a kind of counterpoise to the vane. The old seat
and sign were seen by Mr Kitchingman's father when, in his
twentieth year (1820), he stayed there for a short time.  When this
house was built about 1596, rumour has it that it was the only
building on the river front between the old Seacombe Ferry
boat¬house and the old herring curing house at Rock Point, now
New Brighton.  
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Additional Pictures
Early Painting
The Tudor Red Caps
Present Day Site
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