Sunday, 26 January 2014


The Lincoln Imp

This pub is named after the well known  ‘Lincoln Imp’ which is the symbol of
the City of Lincoln in Lincolnshire.


According to legend two imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on earth.  They ended up at Lincoln Cathedral where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop. When an angel intervened, one of the imps threw rocks whilst the other one submitted. The angel then turned the first imp into stone, but gave the second one the chance to escape. It fled to Grimsby and caused further mayhem at St James Church there. The angel reappeared and thrashed its backside before turning it into stone like his friend at Lincoln. The stone imps can be seen at both churches.


The Lincoln Imp

 © Copyright Julian P Guffogg and licensed for reuse under this
Creative Commons Licence 
To whom I am grateful for the use of his Geograph photograph.

The  Ram  Jam  Inn


 The  Ram  Jam  Inn is an ancient coaching inn  on the A1 at Stretton in Leicestershire.
Apparently an 18th century guest at the inn was unable to pay his bill and he offered to show the landlady how to draw two different ales from the same cask as compensation.   He drilled a hole in one side of the barrel and asked the good lady to  ‘ram’ her thumb into the hole to stop the beer coming out.  He then drilled another hole in the other side and invited her to ‘jam’ her other thumb into that hole.   Whilst she was safely  ‘rammed and jammed’, the guest made good his departure!


The  George  Hotel


Great curiosity is immediately aroused at the sight of a painting hanging in  The George  Hotel,  at Stamford in Lincolnshire, it is that of one Daniel Lambert, who is said to have been England’s fattest man, who often frequented this his favourite pub in the 19th century.

Daniel Lambert was only 39 years old when he died in 1809 and he was buried in the graveyard of St Martin’s church just opposite the pub at Stamford, where the epitaph on his gravestone reads :

‘ In remembrance of that Prodigy of Nature, Daniel Lambert, a native of Leicester,

who was possessed of an exalted and convivial mind

and in personal greatness had no competitor.

He measured 3ft round the leg, 9ft 4ins round the body and weighed 52 stones 11lbs.

He departed this life on 21st June 1809 aged 39 years.

As a testimony of Respect this stone is erected by his friends in Leicester.’

Lambert was the keeper of Leicester Prison.   Apparently he was very fond of a wager and often boasted that he could beat any fit man in a race, provided he had the right to choose the course.  The course he always chose was a long narrow passage!


The  Beehive  Inn


Apart from a chat about Grantham’s famous daughter, the one and only Margaret Thatcher,  you can enjoy real honey for tea when you visit  The  Beehive  Inn  in Castlegate at Grantham in Lincolnshire; for it has a unique ‘living sign’  -  a beehive.  Since 1830, the beehive has hung in a tree outside the pub and the bees have produced an average of 30lbs of honey every year.  A sign on the pub reads :

‘ Stop traveller this wondrous sign to explore

and say when thou hast view’d it o’er and o’er.

Grantham now two rarities are thine,

A lofty steeple and a living sign.’

The lofty steeple is that of St Wulfram's church, 272ft high, at the end of the street.

The Open Gate Inn


The Open Gate Inn is an ancient hostelry on the A1028 at Ulceby near Alford in Lincolnshire.  White gates hung on the fa├žade tell us



The  Bull  and  Dog  Inn


The Bull and Dog Inn in Southgate, Sleaford in Lincolnshire reminds us of the cruel ‘sport’ of Bull Baiting which was prevalent in former times.   A fine old plaque on the pub wall, dated 1689, depicts a bull being baited by a dog.   The bull would have been tethered to a metal ring, either in the ground or on a wall and would have been baited by a bulldog, one of the oldest breeds of British dog.    This activity was banned by law in 1849 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.



The  Lea  Gate  Inn


The  Lea  Gate  Inn, an ancient hostelry at Conningsby in the Lincolnshire Fens, recalls a former tollgate here where it was once very important that travellers kept to the turnpike road in the days before the fens were drained.  An old iron bracket on the corner of the building was where a beacon light shone at night to guide those travellers.   The Inn is  thought to be the last surviving guide house in the Fens.



The  Abbey  Hotel


The fascinating little town of Crowland in the South Lincolnshire Fens, was once an island in the previously inhospitable fens.  After perhaps visiting historic Croyland Abbey there, your quiet drink at  The Abbey Hotel , may well be disturbed by the sound of someone dragging their feet across an upstairs room.   ‘That’ll be old Henry’ the landlord will tell you.   Apparently Abbey regular, Henry Girdlestone, a local farmer in 1844, walked 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours to break some sort of record.  The story goes that he actually took 1,176 hours to walk 1,025 miles and a bit.  No wonder his ghost drags its feet!

Prior to the drainage of the Fens, the main streets of this town were in fact waterways of the River Welland with the buildings standing on various banks.    The unique ‘Triangular Bridge’ was built of Ancaster limestone between 1360 and 1390 and replaced a wooden construction.  It has three arches but one over arching structure, a 3 in 1 bridge built to facilitate the crossing of the waters of the divided River Welland.   As the river now completely by-passes the town, this strange bridge  stands on dry land in the town centre and is said to be the greatest curiosity in Britain, if not in Europe.    A lone stone figure which adorns the bridge is thought to have been moved from the west front of Croyland Abbey.




The  Haycock  Hotel


The village of Wansford,  situated on the River Nene in Cambridgshire at the junction of the A1 and the A47, is a very pretty village with stone built houses and a very fine stone arched bridge crossing the river.   The Haycock Hotel  is a lovely old coaching hostelry and its colourful signboard tells a very interesting story….  Passers-by on the bridge one morning were most surprised to see a local rustic floating on the water underneath on a hay- cock.  Apparently he had been sleeping on the hay during which time it had been swept away by a sudden flood.  “ Where am I?” he shouted, not knowing how long he had been asleep or how far he had travelled on the hay-cock.  When told that he was at Wansford the rustic said, “ What, Wansford in England?”  The village has been known as ‘Wansford in England’ ever since.
Wansworth Bridge


The  Ferry  Boat  Inn


One of the claimants to being the oldest inn in England,  The Ferry Boat Inn  stands, thatch- roofed and proud, on the banks of the Great Ouse at Holywell near St Ives in Cambridgeshire.  Be prepared for a shock when you enter the bar for there is a  gravestone set into the floor!

The story goes that more than 1,000 years ago, local girl Juliet Tewsley was spurned by one Thomas Roul,  with whom she was smitten.  The girl is said to have hanged herself near to the inn and, as a suicide was denied burial in consecrated ground, so she sleeps under the gravestone inside the inn.   It is not clear why the grave should be inside but presumably the inn was built over the grave site.  It is claimed that on the anniversary of her death, 17th March, she walks in search of her lost love.   A good time to capture the spirit of over a thousand years!

 Juliet's gravestone

The  Caxton  Gibbet  Inn


If ever a pub should be haunted then  The Caxton  Gibbet  Inn  an old coaching inn alongside the road between Royston and Huntingdon at Caxton in Cambridgeshire, would be the one.   You will have noticed the old  gibbet  standing starkly outside and you will soon learn that it was last used to hang the son of a previous landlord of the inn.   Apparently he murdered three guests at the inn and hid their bodies in a well under the stairs.   Maybe not the place to spend the night!



The  Swan  Inn


Although The Swan Inn at Hoxne in Suffolk has been a pub since the early 17th century, it was originally  The Bishop’s Guest House.   From Norman times the Bishops of  Norwich had a palace in this small village, although there is no trace of the building today.   We are told that when the Guest House was built, the upstairs was divided into three ‘apartments’ each with its own staircase!   Local gossip has it that all the ‘guests’ were female and this was a place where the clergy could find a little relaxation in female company.
 The Swan Inn
Phpotograph © Copyright Duncan Grey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
To whom I am grateful for the use of his Geograph photograph.




The Royal Hotel


This fine building in Upper Washer Lane, Halifax, was once the home of John Edward Wainhouse, the owner of a nearby dyeworks, and is situated on the steep side of the Calder Valley.   A huge tower, 253 feet tall, dominates the scene.    This amazing construction was apparently built as a chimney to disperse smoke from the dyeworks belonging to Wainhouse back in the late 19th century.   The strange thing was that the dyeworks were down in the valley whilst the chimney was high on the hilltop above, and it was intended that the two would be connected by a flue.   For some reason the connection was never made and the chimney actually ended up as a rather ornate tower.    The brick built chimney was in fact encased in stone and an internal spiral staircase of 400 steps lead up to a very ornamental observation tower on top.  Offering spectacular views over the town and the surrounding countryside, the tower is only occasionally open to the public.

So why did Wainhouse spend £15,000 to build such an ornate chimney?  One can speculate but local legend has it that ‘Spite  Tower’, as it was called locally, was never intended to be a chimney in the first place, but that Wainhouse had it built as the result of a feud with his neighbours, the Edwards family.    It is said that the Edwards’ suspected Wainhouse of being a peeping tom and erected a huge wall between their properties.   The tower of course gave Wainhouse back his view over his neighbours property 

Spite Tower

The Lord Rodney


The Lord Rodney is an ancient pub situated in the centre of Keighley in West Yorkshire alongside the parish church. Now much modernised from its hey day in the 19th century. We are reminded that pub regular, entrepreneur James Leach was a larger than life figure in Keighley in the 19th century.  He was known as ‘Pie’ because of his one time meat pie business, but he also ventured into other trades such as handloom weaver, wool comber, coal pit sinker, beer house keeper, spoon maker, horse & cart driver, gambler, hawker, travelling showman, docker, green-grocer, nightwatchman/ policeman.  He also became very much involved in local organisations and public offices.  Pie got married on a particular afternoon only because he had time on his hands when his loom broke down.  Unfortunately he arrived late at the church and fearing that the ceremony would have to be postponed because it could not be held within the permitted hours, Pie persuaded a friend to climb the church tower to alter the clock in order to mislead the parson.  Then, when a ring was unavailable for the bride’s finger, he enlisted the help of the landlady at the  Lord Rodney  and she loaned her own wedding ring.

Apparently Pie was a little more organised when it came to making his funeral arrangements, making elaborate arrangements.  He erected a fine tombstone in Keighley Cemetery some six years before his death and had it engraved with a testimonial and details of his public service:


‘We the undersigned have pleasure in certifying that the bearer JAMES LEACH is of sober and steady habits. He has been employed in the Keighley Police Force for upwards of 5 years and retired therefrom last October having been so long in the Force  and accustomed to the duties of a Police Officer, we have confidence in recommending him to your notice. We are yours obediently

William Busfield Rector. John Craven JP. Jno Brigg JP. John Sugden JP. James Kershaw Superintendent of Police. July 29th 1854.’

Mr James Leach was a representative of the Ratepayers as follows:

He was elected a member of Keighley Local Board and served about 12 years. He was elected a member of Keighley Board of Guardians and served 7 years. He was elected a member of the Keighley School Board and served 2 years. He was elected a member of the Keighley Burial Board and served 3 years. He was a Commissioner of the Baths and Washhouses for 7 years and moved the resolution for the incorporation of the town officially in the Finance and General Purposes Committee of the old Local Board of Health.

The burial chamber was also excavated and, as Pie had nowhere to keep his prepared coffin, he obtained permission from the Burial Board to store the empty coffin in the grave until needed!  Suffice to say that Pie was successfully laid to rest, as planned, on 13th October 1893 aged 78 years.

He kept a diary of his duties as Police nightwatchman (1848-1853) which is preserved in Keighley Public Library.

The Reservoir Tavern


A gravestone in Utley Cemetery at Keighley in West Yorkshire tells us that it is in memory of :

‘Christopher Ingham landlord of the Reservoir Tavern, Keighley,

who died September 1866 in the 80th year of his age.

He was one of the heroes of the Peninsular War having served in the

95th Regiment of Foot for which he received the silver medal with clasps

for the engagements at Toulouse etc. He also received the

Wellington Medal for Waterloo dated June 15th 1915.

Known as Sharpe’s Grave, because it is thought that Bernard Cornwell used Ingham’s life as the basis for his ‘Sharpe’ novels.     The Reservoir Tavern still exists in West Lane.




The  Old  Silent  Inn


A rural pub, The Old Silent is situated just outside the little moors village of Stanbury in West Yorkshire close to the Lancashire border and not far from Haworth of Bronte fame, with the Pennine Way long distance footpath close by.  Formerly called the Eagle, this free house got its name when  Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed there during his foray south in the 18th century,, in secret of course, and he relied on the silence of the local people for his safety, and so the name was changed.

Another story surrounding this pub is about cats, lots of them in fact.   The story goes that a 19th century landlady was very fond of cats and fed all the strays that roamed the surrounding moors.  When she was ready to feed them, the lady would ring a bell and the cats came running.   The landlord will tell you that there are still lots of cats about and from time to time the bell is still heard ringing.


Friday, 24 January 2014




The  Nevison's  Leap


The  Three  Houses




The Nevison's Leap  a modern pub situated in a residential area on the road between Pontefract and Ferrybridge not far from the A1 and The Three Houses  an old coaching inn at Sandal near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, reminds us that highwaymen were once prevalent in this area.  In those days of the 17th and 18th centuries when stagecoach travel was the order of the day,  the predatory activity of the highwayman was one of  the many hazards for such travellers.



William Nevison  one of the most notorious of these characters, a man renowned for his dash, ingenuity and fearlessness,  was born in Pontefract in 1639.  Although Nevison came from a good family, he stole from his family and soon left home.   He stole a horse and rode to London where he obtained employment and for a couple of years it seemed that he had settled down, but then he stole £200 from his employer and disappeared with the police on his tail.   He evaded capture and eventually enlisted as a soldier, serving in Flanders, but, ever the individualist, Nevison deserted and returned to his native land and became a highwayman.   His notoriety soon earned him the soubriquet Swift Nick Nevison with the reputation of aiding the poor. He rode and worked alone and reaped a rich harvest from the wealthy travellers on the southern highways until things became too hot for him and he moved back to his native Yorkshire where he was virtually unknown.   As he continued his nefarious activities Nevison soon had the local law officers after him and it is said that it was whilst being closely pursued by constables on the road between Pontefract and Ferrybridge that he took his horse on an incredible leap between two cliffs, making good his escape.    This chasm became known as Nevison’s Leap and was near to where the pub is now situated. Stories of this audacious freebooter are legend and he usually managed to keep one step ahead of the law but his luck ran out in 1684 when he was found asleep on a bench at The Three Houses.  He was arrested and tried for a variety of crimes and was hanged at York on May 4th 1684.

It was in fact Nevison who made the legendary run, wrongly attributed to Dick Turpin, from London to York.  This able and accomplished horseman had been arrested and accused of committing a robbery near London at 4.0.clock in the morning.  He was acquitted after proving that he was in York on the day in question, and had actually spoken to the Lord Mayor at 7.45pm.  Nevison  later boasted that he had made the amazing ride of 209 miles to York in less than 16 hours after the robbery.

It seems that although Nevison was dreaded by those liable to suffer at his hands, he was in fact a gentleman of the road, much respected by the poor to whom he was a good friend, and a contemporary ballad was written about him:

 ‘ Did you ever hear tell of that hero,

Bold Nevison was his name.

He rode about like a bold hero,

 And with that he gain’d great fame.

He maintained himself like a gentleman,

Besides he was good to the poor,

 He rode about like a great hero,

And he gain’d himself favour therefore.’




The  Dock  Green
This popular urban pub in Leeds built in 1903 was formerly a police station which closed down in 1961.  At that time the popular TV programme,  Dixon of Dock Green featured Jack Warner as PC George Dixon, an old time copper.   The building was soon acquired and tastefully converted into a pub, whilst retaining much of  the features of the former ‘nick’.   It is situated at the junction of Ashley Road and Harehills Road, close to St James’ Hospital – TV’s Jimmy’s.



The  Hermit  Inn


This old inn on the edge of Ilkley Moor recalls one Job Senior who lived nearby in a ramshackled shelter  in the early 19th century.   Apparently Job was born at nearby Ilkley in the 1780’s, the illegitimate son of a wealthy landowner.  He became a drunkard, which together with a problem with women, proved to be his downfall.   He became very unkempt and eventually suffered from rheumatism which necessitated him walking with two sticks.   At the age of sixty he managed to persuade an eighty years old widow to marry him.   It suited Job very much because she owned a house on the edge of the moor.  However the marriage was short-lived  when his wife died suddenly.  Her family, who were less than pleased about the marriage became more so when Job inherited his wife’s possessions including the house.   To vent their fury members of the family descended on the house and virtually demolished it leaving Job with no option but to construct his ramshackle shelter to live in.   Apparently it was so small that he had to enter on his hands and knees.   And so his lived as a hermit until he contracted cholera and ended his days in the workhouse, where he died when he was 77 years old.  

The  Cow  and  Calf  Hotel

This gaunt stone built moorland inn towers on the hillside on Ilkley Moor overlooking the charming town of Ilkley which nestles below in lovely Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales.  A feature of this inn is a restored Victorian garden. 850ft above sea level, with panoramic views.    Immortalised in song, Ilkley Moor covers a large area on the edge of the Leeds and Bradford conurbation and is extremely popular with  day trippers and tourists alike, all the year round.
Across the road from the pub is a rocky outcrop of millstone grit popularly known as  the Cow and Calf Rocks, Whilst the  Cow forms the main part of the formation, the huge detached Calf Rock,  looks as if it could easily roll away at any time, but it is in fact firmly embedded in the ground and has been for hundreds of years.  Prior to 1860, a third large rock, The Bull, stood much nearer the road, but it was broken up to provide stone for the building of the Crescent Hotel in Ilkley.



The  Running  Man  Inn



This pub in Pellon Lane, Halifax, reminds us of the terrible fate which awaited miscreants in the 
 ‘ Liberty of Halifax, ‘ in the West Riding of Yorkshire, prior to 1650.

‘From Hull, Hell and Halifax, the good Lord deliver us.’  What does this old beggar’s litany mean?   Hull refers to the prison there,  Hell is self explanatory,  whilst Halifax refers to ‘The Gibbet.’    Actually,  Gibbet is a misnomer  it was actually a guillotine!   This fiendish instrument of death fell into disuse in the mid-17th century, but a replica, mounted on the original base, can be seen in nearby Gibbet Street, whilst the original blade to be seen in Bankfield Museum.  Being axe shaped, it differs from a guillotine blade which is diagonally shaped.

Gibbet Law meant harsh punishment for relatively minor offences in this area of the West Yorkshire Woollen District.   The rules were simple :

‘ If a felon be taken within the Liberty of Halifax, either handabend  ( with stolen goods in hand);  backharend  (with stolen goods on his back);  confessand  (admitted theft); to the value of thirteen and a half pence, he shall, after three markets, be taken to the gibbet and there have his head cut off from his body.’

This related especially to cloth which was the life-blood of the town.   When the cloth had been woven and then washed, it was hung outside on ‘tenterhooks’ and so was particularly vulnerable to theft.   The gibbet was first used in Halifax in 1286.

The last two men to be executed on the gibbet were Anthony Mitchell and John Wilkinson of Sowerby.  They were found guilty of stealing sixteen yards of russet coloured kersey cloth, value 9s from Luddenden Dean, and two colts value £5.8s from Durkar Green.   They were introduced to the gibbet on 30th April 1650, making a total of fifty recorded victims..    After the gibbet fell into disuse, the ground on which it stood gradually became a rubbish dump.  In 1839, workmen clearing the site found the base of the gibbet still intact and nearby they found the skeletons of two men with severed heads!

It was actually possible to escape from the gibbet!  If the accused could remove his head before the blade fell and then escape over Hebble Brook half a mile away, he was free, provided he never returned to the Liberty of Halifax.  

The Running Man pub recalls that one, John Lacy, managed to do just that but he made the mistake of returning to  The Liberty after seven years and was duly executed.


A replica of the gibbet on origin base in Gibbet Street

The Old Cock Inn
The Old Cock Inn in Old Cock yard, is one of the oldest pubs in Halifax and is a Grade 11 listed building.  It has been an inn since 1688 having been built as a town house in the 1580's. The first floor Oak Room boasts a very fine Elizabethan fireplace which dates to 1881. This is the room in which the Halifax Building Society was formed in 1853.  Coiner, David Hartley was arrested at the pub in 1769. (see The Dusty Miller below).

Thursday, 23 January 2014



The  Eagle  and  Child


The village pub at Auckley near Doncaster  was originally called ‘The Bird and Bastard’ so the name has been somewhat modified.  It all derives from a 14th century legend surrounding the local squire, Sir Thomas Latham, who is said to have seduced a servant girl in his employ who gave birth to a son.   To cover up his misdeeds, Latham arranged for the child to be abandoned near a tree wherein nested a bird of prey.   Because he actually wanted a son and heir, he then ‘ found ‘ the child and adopted it.



Jemmy Hirst at the Rose & Crown


Formerly The Neptune Inn, this strangely named pub at Rawcliffe near Goole remind us of eccentric local man, Jemmy Hirst, who  planned his own funeral and for some reason he stipulated that his coffin was to be borne by eight old maids who would receive one guinea each. When he died in October 1829 at the age of 91 years, it was in fact eight widows who performed that last service and they were paid half a crown each. In accordance with Jeremy’s wishes, the Mayor of Rawcliffe declared the funeral day a public holiday and as the glass-domed coffin was carried to the churchyard, a piper from Aberdeen and a fiddler, each hired by Jeremy on payment of £5, preceded it. A great procession of his racing friends and acquaintances marched to lively music and the event was followed that night by a firework display.

Jemmy or James to give him his correct name, was indeed an eccentric of the first order. He was born on a farm at Rawcliffe and had a great love of animals which he liked to train and it was said that a hedgehog and an otter followed him to school. Later in life he trained a young bull – Jupiter as Jemmy called it – as a horse, riding it to market and even hunting to hounds with it. When his father died Jemmy inherited nearly £1000 and, after shrewd investment, he became a rich man. He built a wickerwork carriage with very high wheels and a top shaped like a chinaman’s hat, and of course it was pulled by Jupiter. Off he went to Doncaster Races followed by two foxes he had tamed, where he was as popular as he was colourful with harlequin breeches, yellow boots, red coat and huge hat said to be three yards in circumference. For betting he used his own bank notes to the value of five pence ha’penny. Later he attached sails and a bed to his strange carriage and replaced the bull with four mules.

Jeremy had of course carefully planned his funeral. His coffin, made to his own design, was equipped with a bell (in case he need to call anybody from his grave),  had folding glass doors and it stood in his dining room instead of a sideboard and served as a bar for his favourite tipple – brandy. After imbibing, his friends would be invited to try the coffin for size and were only released on payment of a fee, a penny from the men and from the women – a garter, which would be used as embellishment. His generosity knew no bounds and he was called the ‘King of Rawcliffe’.
He married the lady who had been his housekeeper for a number of years and he wore a toga for the occasion, insisting that the ceremony be conducted in sign language.

He was a great practical joker and lived in a strange house where each of the four walls had a door to confuse visitors and some inside doors led only to a blank wall or gruesome painting. The windows were of different sizes and were curtained with newspaper and a variety of staircases led nowhere,
Apparently because of his famed oddity, King George 111 invited Jeremy to Court and he travelled to London in his wickerwork carriage. Jeremy was not greatly impressed with the capital or with Court etiquette, but he did invite the King to visit Rawcliffe and promised him ‘as much good brandy as tha can sup.’

Jeremy was mostly remembered for his generosity and his great love of practical jokes.  Strangely enough, there is no known grave for Jemmy. It is thought that he may have been buried with his parents.

Photograph © Copyright Gordon Kneale Brooke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

I am grateful to Gordon for the use of his Geograph photograph.

The Swordsman


One date in history which readily springs to mind is 1066, that momentous year which changed the face of our country.  Indeed it was a momentous year for Saxon King Harold – he who was supposedly shot by an arrow in the eye at the Battle of Hastings.  What is not so well remembered is that Harold had marched his troops some 250 miles from Stamford Bridge near York after defeating the Norwegians there, to engage the Normans in his final battle.

The Swordsman Inn, situated alongside the bridge over the River Derwent at Stamford Bridge, reminds us of a heroic event which turned the battle of 1066 in Harold’s favour.   It was vital that Harold’s troops should cross the river but the only way across was by way of a narrow wooden bridge which was blocked by a huge Norwegian warrior who managed to slay all the soldiers who tried to dislodge him.   Apparently the day was saved by a brave young soldier who floated under the bridge in a tub and managed to stab the warrior through a gap in the wooden bridge.   Thus the way was clear and the victorious Saxon army stormed across.

Until 1878, a Spear Pie Festival was held annually in the village with the traditional pie being boat shaped and filled with pears.   The festival was temporarily revived in 1966 to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the battle, but is alas now only a memory.



The  Londesborough  Arms


A huge armchair can be seen in this fine hostelry at Market Weighton in East Yorkshire, together with a portrait of its former owner,  William Bradley, the Yorkshire Giant! 


A memorial plaque on a fine Georgian house not far away, depicts a large footprint, that of ‘The tallest Englishman ever recorded who lived in this house.’   William Bradley  was born at Market Weighton on 10th February 1787, one of 13 children and grew to be 7ft 9ins tall and weighed 27 stones. One of his shoes, 15ins long and 51/2ins wide, can be seen in Hull museum.


The Yorkshire Giant travelled the country exhibiting himself at fairs and shows and it cost 1/- to see him, quite a considerable amount in those early days of the 19th century.   Apparently King George 111 was quite taken with him and presented him with a gold watch chain.

Bradley died at Market Weighton on 30th May 1820 at the age of 33 years.  His coffin measured 9ft x 3ft.  He was buried at 5-o-clock in the morning of 3rd June 1820, to avoid onlookers, originally in the churchyard, but in 1872 his remains were exhumed and reburied inside All Saints Church at Market Weighton, where a memorial tablet can be seen.

William Bradley is still recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest ever British person.   A fund has been started in recent years to raise money for a statue of the great man to be erected in his home town.



The Falling Stone


The Falling Stone Inn at Thwing recalls and unusual incident which occurred in 1795.

On a Sunday in December of that year, a stone weighing 56 pounds fell from the atmosphere and hit the earth a few hundred yards from Wold Cottage just on the outskirts of the nearby village of Wold Newton in East Yorkshire. It caused an indenture about a yard across and 19 inches deep.

The meteorite is now preserved in the Natural History Museum in London.

A stone pillar marks the exact spot and an inscription tells the story:

Here on this spot

December 13th 1795, fell from the atmosphere

An extraordinary stone!

In breadth 28 inches. In length 30 inches.

And the weight of which was fifty-six pounds!

This column erected by

Edward Topham

1799 ’






Ye  Olde  White  Heart


A panel in the so called Plotting Room at Ye Olde White Harte pub in Silver Street, in Hull,  East Yorkshire,   tells of the events of 23rd April, 1642 :

‘ Whilst Sir John Hotham, the Governor of Hull, was giving a dinner party he received an intimation from the King that His Majesty, who was then only four miles from the town, deigned to dine with him that day.   The Governor, filled with surprise at the unexpected news, retired to his private room (since called The Plotting Room) and sent for Alderman Pelham, the M.P for the Borough.   It was then resolved to close the gates against the King and his followers and a message was dispatched to his Majesty informing him of the decision.   The soldiers were called to arms, the bridge drawn up, the gates closed and the inhabitants confined to their houses.  About 11 o’clock the King appeared at Beverley Gate but the Governor refused to allow him to enter the walls.  The King then called upon the Mayor but that official fell upon his knees and swore that he could not assist as the gates were guarded by soldiers.  Whereupon the King, after much strong discussion and proclaiming Hotham a traitor, withdrew to Beverley.’


The preserved foundations of Beverley Gate in the heart of the bustling shopping center bear a plaque which testifies to this first overt act of The Civil War on St. George’s Day in 1642.



 The  Green  Dragon


At The Green Dragon Inn at Welton near Hull in East Yorkshire, now a quiet country pub, stories of the legendary Dick Turpin abound, for this was the scene of his arrest in 1739.   Turpin was nothing like the romantic character portrayed by Harrison Ainsworth in his novel Rookwood.   He was actually born at Bluebell Inn at Hempstead in Essex and ended his days on the gibbet at York Knavesmire on April 17th 1739.    Turpin was a cattle and horse thief turned highwayman and was actually detained at The Green Dragon on a charge of poaching.   He gave the name John Palmer to avoid recognition but made the mistake of writing to his brother whilst in custody and a former schoolmaster recognized his writing.  It seems strange that Turpin could read and write, but apparently it proved to be his undoing because he was duly identified, tried and hanged at  York Knavesmire.  He was just 34 years of age.   It is said that Turpin engaged five indigent men to follow his cart to the gallows and these ‘mourners’ were each paid the sum of 10/-.

Dick Turpin was reputedly buried in the graveyard of St. Georges Church in George Street, York, where a renovated gravestone reads :

John Palmer,  otherwise Richard Turpin.

   The notorious highwayman and horse stealer,

Executed at Tyburn,  April 17th, 1739

and buried in St. Georges churchyard. ‘

Although Tyburn was in fact the London gallows it was also a generic term for any gallows.  

The Bluebell Inn, Hempstead, Turpin's birthplace.