Monday, 3 February 2014


The Little John Inn


The Little John Inn at Hathersage in Derbyshire reminds us that Robin Hood’s trusty lieutenant,  known as Little John, is reputed to have hailed from there.    A huge grave in the churchyard at Hathersage is claimed to be that of this man, having died in a nearby cottage.   In 1847, the occupant of the cottage, Jenny Shard, a woman of 70, who had had the story from her father and which had been handed down in the family, remembered the grave being opened by Captain James Shuttleworth, when a thigh bone 32ins long had been found, indicating that it was of a very big man.   Added to the story is the fact that there was at one time in the church a long bow and cap, said to have belonged to Little John.   At some stage they were taken away for safe keeping?  by the local squire and their present whereabouts are not known.



The  George  and  Dragon  Inn


Perhaps the man who painted the clock face on the church at Old Brampton near Chesterfield in Derbyshire  spent too much time at the George and Dragon Inn  opposite    Time goes by at a leisurely pace in this small village and one of the reasons for this is probably due to the fact that the church clock has 63 minutes marked on it. 





The  Rutland  Arms  Hotel


The cook at  The Rutland Arms Hotel,  a very impressive old hostelry at Bakewell in Derbyshire, made culinary history in the mid 19th century when she inadvertently produced the recipe for  Bakewell Pudding.   Instead of stirring the egg mixture into the pastry and then filling the tart she was making with jam, the cook put the jam into the tart first and then poured the egg mixture over it.  A simple mistake, but the resultant dessert was so successful that it became  established  and has been made at the Bakewell Pudding Shop across the road since about 1860.







The Miner’s Arms


This old village pub at Eyam in Derbyshire dates back to the early 17th century.  We are reminded of an unusual incident which took place in the pub in 1684 when the village rector, The Rev. Joseph Hunt took part in a mock marriage between himself and the landlord’s 18 years old daughter Ann.  This bibulous frivolity proved to have dire consequences for the rector, because when the bishop heard about it he made the Rev. marry the girl properly, despite the fact that he was engaged to another woman.  We are not told whether the marriage survived.






The  Cock  Inn


The  Cock  Inn  at Hanbury in Staffordshire had to be rebuilt in 1944 when it was blown up
by a tremendous explosion. 

A plaque on a memorial stone alongside a huge crater nearby,  tells the dramatic story:

‘ Just after 1100 hours on 27th November 1944, the largest explosion caused by conventional weapons in both world wars, took place at this spot, when some 3500 tons of high explosives accidentally blew up.  A crater some 300ft deep and approximately a quarter of a mile in diameter, was blown into the North Staffordshire countryside.   A total of 70 people lost their lives and 18 bodies never being recovered.  The 21 MU RAF  Fauld disaster is commemorated by this memorial, which was dedicated on 25th November 1990, some 46 years after the event.



As a  board outside the pub tells you, you can find the story of the explosion here at The  Cock  Inn.
The Bull and Spectacles

This    This curiously named pub at Blithbury near Uttoxeter dates back to c1650 and was originally known as ‘The Bull’.  The story goes that one evening, a drunken customer climbed up onto the pub sign and put his spectacles on the bull. Another story tells that a prize bull nearly died after eating some poisonous berries and a local wag suggested that it should be fitted with spectacles.  Whatever the reason, the name of the pub was changed.



The  Crooked  House  Inn

            Make sure that you are stone cold sober before you approach  The Crooked  House  Inn at Himley in Staffordshire, where customers stagger in the doorway even before they have sampled the fine ales on sale here.   This curious building has been freakishly distorted by mining subsidence and it is difficult to walk properly anywhere in the place.   Once you have managed to orient yourself in these unusual surroundings, you will be further startled to find that on one table the bottles roll uphill!




The Tontine Hotel

Situated directly opposite the bridge at Ironbridge in Shropshire is a very fine building,  
The Tontine Hotel. 
           When  the Iron Bridge was opened to general traffic in 1781, it was to become a huge attraction not only to those who would use the bridge but also to visitors from all over the world who would marvel at this great feat of engineering and skill.  Those concerned with the building of the bridge decided to build a hotel to accommodate such visitors and formed a partnership which was a ‘Tontine’.  This was  a scheme invented by one Lorenzo Tonti in 1653, a kind of life annuity which increased for the survivor’s as the subscriber’s eventually died.   When only three shareholders were left, then the hotel would become their property in proportion to the number of shares which they held.




The  Four  Alls  Inn


This village pub at Welford-on-Avon in Warwickshire bears the curious name,  The Four Alls Inn.   The explanation is to be found inside on a very fine stained glass window in the bar which depicts four figures, and these are  The Four Alls :   1.  A soldier = fight all;  2.  A priest =  pray all;  3.  A king  =  rule all;  4.  A peasant = pay all.
The Four Alls 
 © Copyright Jonathan Thacker and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
 To whom I am grateful for the use of his Geograph photograph.

The Castle Inn


The Castle Inn at Radway in Warwickshire, situated on Edge Hill, actually started life as a castle albeit a sham castle.   On the centenary of the  Battle of Edgehill, gentleman architect and owner of Radway Grange, Sanderson Miller, erected this building on the very spot where Charles 1 raised his standard on the 23rd of October 1642, thus launching the first major encounter of the Civil War.  As well as marking the site of this historic battle, the sham castle  also  functioned as an ornamental gatehouse for Mr Miller’s estate.  The building became a pub in 1924.


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