The Morpeth Hotel was first known as the Illalaung hotel.
John Hillier who had previously been publican at the Ship Inn in Newcastle, held the licence for the Illalaung in 1832 - 1835. In 1836 the hotel was sold to Butler and Anlaby and re-named The Morpeth Hotel.
John Anlaby was granted a publican's licence from July 1839 to 1847.
In July 1847 John Anlaby appeared before the bench on a charge of allowing an unlicenced person not being in his employ or under his superintendence to retail liquors in his licensed public house. Lengthy evidence was given in the case. John Anlaby had agreed to transfer the license of the Hotel to former Engineer of the Thistle steamer, Robert McDougall and the two had an agreement in which McDougal would work for Anlaby for £3 per week until the license was officially transferred. Constables McGuinness and Weavers spent several days attempting to gather evidence for the case against Anlaby. An entire night was spent watching from a distance a house near the river occupied by Anlaby as a warehouse, to see whether he slept there or at the hotel. Despite their enthusiasm they failed to make a case and the Bench dismissed the charge.
Robert McDougall was refused a licence by the Bench in May 1848 and the following advertisement was placed in the Maitland Mercury by Morpeth townsman John Hillier. 'To let for one year or more. That well known and old established house called the Morpeth Hotel with extensive stables, coach house, lofts, sheds and laundry. Possession to be given on the first day of July, John Hillier, Morpeth'.
Thomas Ryan next took out a licence which he transferred to John Blackwell in December 1848
John Blackwell had previously been employed as chief miller at the Dunmore Steam mill. In May 1849 the Morpeth Hotel, in full trade, was advertised for lease and by July John Blackwell was selling by auction, 'the magnificent furniture of the Morpeth Hotel' together with bar fixtures, kitchen utensils etc prior to leaving the business. 
Daniel Maher applied for a licence in 1854, however the decision to grant was postponed by the Bench for investigation as the landlord had given notice to Mr. Maher to quit and he objected to his obtaining the licence.