The Mug House
The only known pub to stand in a churchyard is The Mug House which stands on consecrated ground alongside the churchyard of Claines parish church near Worcester. This timber framed pub is 600 years old and was used as a coaching inn to cater for the aristocracy who had a distance to travel to the church. The name ‘mug’ may be connected with old time communion plate or perhaps it simply related to the clinching of a deal over a ‘mug’ of ale. Although much altered over the years it still retains the air of an ancient inn.
The Slip Inn
It is not unusual for a pub to be called The Slip Inn, a place to slip in for a quick drink! However, The Slip Tavern at Much Marcle in Herefordshire is a bit different and recalls an unusual event which occurred nearby in the year 1575 - ‘ the wonder land slip’, as depicted on the inn sign. Apparently Marcle Hill started moving at 6.0pm on 7th February of that year and was still moving three days later, during which time some 26 acres of the hill moved a distance of 400 yards, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. It crossed two roads, demolishing a chapel, trees were uprooted and livestock was killed. No logical explanation has ever been found for this landslip.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn
A claimant for the oldest pub in England title, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn at Nottingham, is certainly one of the strangest old inns. Situated in Brewhouse Yard beneath Nottingham Castle, the cellars of the inn are actually cut into the great rock on which the castle stands. The pub certainly dates back to the time of the Crusades and it is said to have been well frequented by the Crusader’s.
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To whom I am grateful for the use of his Geograph photograph
The Royal Children Inn
This strangely named pub in Castle Gate at Nottingham, The Royal Children Inn, once had an even stranger sign, in the form of a whale’s shoulder blade! (Now preserved inside the pub), This inn on the site of an older inn in Castle Gate near to Nottingham castle, once sold whale oil to fuel lamps which had replaced candles for lighting purposes. It is said that the children of Princess Anne, the daughter of King James 11, used to play with the innkeeper’s children, hence the name.
The Cuckoo Bush Inn
You may not wish to linger in the village of Gotham in Nottinghamshire when you hear about the antics of the locals, but then it all happened a long time ago, and it explains the origins of The Cuckoo Bush Inn in the village It actually relates to the 16th century ‘ Merrie Tales of the Mad Men of Gotham,’ which tells of the antics of a crazy group 'who built a hedge around a cuckoo in a bush to keep it and spring all the year round. They also tried to drown an eel, put a cart on top of a barn to protect the roof from the sun and burned down a forge to get rid of a wasps nest.' Although referred to as ‘mad men’, their antics may have been designed to deter King John from building a hunting lodge in the middle of such a crazy village!
The Bramley Apple Inn
An apple tree which was grown from a pip in about 1805, became famous as the Bramley apple tree. Fifty years later Mr Bramley, of Easthorpe, Southwell in Nottinghamshire, allowed grafts to be taken on the condition that they carried his name and so perpetuated the name Bramley. The original tree still grows in the garden behind Bramley Tree House at Easthorpe and gives its name to the local pub, The Bramley Apple Tree Inn.
Mr Bramley's garden
The Tin Hat
The Tin Hat pub in Trent Road at Hinkley in Leicestershire is a relatively modern pub which was built on a housing estate on the outskirts of the town in the 1980’s. The pub got its name as a result of a competition for that purpose.
Hinkley was known for many years as ‘Tin ‘At’ supposedly as a result of a supposed incident when a 19th century itinerant sheep drover, who was drinking in a local pub, bragged that he could drink a hat full of ale. It is said that the landlord put the man to the test by having a tin hat made by a local blacksmith – apparently it held some 34 pints of ale. We are not told whether or not the itinerant completed the task.
A tin hat certainly appears on the town coat of arms and a tin hat can be seen on the top of a flag pole belonging to a local building society.
Another explanation for the tin hat is that it originated as a metal bucket placed on top of the town water pump to keep the water clean, something that was probably given the derisory name of tin hat by drunken visitors to the town making it a derogatory item.
It appears that there was a tin hat which changed hands on a number of occasions and it, or a replica, is said to be in possession of the local civic society.
The Bear Inn
In 1766, The Bear Inn at Bisley in Gloucestershire moved its business from its former building where it had been trading since 1639, to its present location in a very fine Tudor building, with later Jacobean and Georgian additions, in George Street. This building was formerly the village Court house and Assembly Rooms with five Jacobean columns supporting the upper floor at the front of the building. It retains many of its historic features and a fine 17th century Inglenook in the bar. The rock hewn cellars contain a well said to be 58 feet deep.
The Cheese Rollers
This village pub at Shurdington in Gloucestershire is close to Cooper’s Hill and reminds us of a strange contest which takes place each year at May Bank Holiday and has done so for at least 200 years. Quite simply, a 7lb double Gloucester cheese is rolled down this very steep grassy hill to be chased by the competitors. It is said that the slope has a gradient that is in places 1 in 2 and in others 1 in 1, its surface being very rough and uneven and it is almost impossible to remain on foot during the decent. Although the aim is to catch the cheese which reaches a speed of up to 70 mph, this is not likely to be achieved and the winner is the one who reaches the finishing line first, with the cheese being the prize. The event has been summarised as “ twenty young men chase a cheese off a cliff and tumble 200 yards to the bottom where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital.” Sprained ankles, broken bones and concussion are the usual injuries but the event remains ever popular attracting competitors from all over the world.