The Half-Moon is probably the heraldic Crescent. It seems that this symbol has connections with the crusades and the Knights Templar, probably derived from the Saracens. Possibly some of these signs have the same sort of meaning as the Saracen's Head, it would be a lot easier to paint a crescent than a portrait of a Saracen.
Properly a crescent moon should always be shown in the form of a reversed letter C - the new or waxing moon. Like a C is the waning moon, considered unlucky. Interestingly in heraldry there are three forms of the crescent that exemplify this idea. The Moon's crescent is often shown in medieval paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary at her feet with its points upwards.
This is also true for many Tarot cards where the High Priestess or Lady Pope is shown in the same pose, often with a triple crown illustrating the triple nature of the Moon. This indicates the link between the BVM, the High Priestess and the ancient triple Moon Goddess of Selene, Diana and Hecate.
After the Reformation Popish signs were not welcome and as the sign of the Annunciation lost the BMV and became the Angel so this sign may have lost the Virgin and retained the Crescent.
Plans from the turn of the 19th century show this inn to be on the east side of Bridge Street just below Navigation Row. In the past there were public baths on Cattle Market Road that more or less backed onto this inn; they were heated by the waste heat from the brewery opposite. The compilers of RBN 1898 saw a 16th or 17th century document of this establishment, which described it as between south gate and bridge. The earliest record I have found is 1816.
Mentioned in the Great Fire Court 1675 (27th March 1677). I have found no other references to this establishment and must conclude that it perished in the Great Fire and was never rebuilt.
Other address include ( Brampton Road /  Kingsthorpe Hollow /  Harborough Road /  82 Kingsthorpe Rd)
I thought I would include these alternate addresses on this occasion to illustrate how not only numbers, but also road names change over time, especially out in the countryside. Aptly called the Half-Way House as it is in Kingsthorpe Hollow, half way to Kingsthorpe and half way up a hill. The earliest date in a directory is 1864, but I am sure this pub goes back further than that although the building doesn't. In the 19th century it would have been standing isolated in the fields between the town and Kingsthorpe village.
The present site is much smaller than it was, as can be seen from the advertisement from the Northampton Directory 1878-9, referring to the Albert Recreation Grounds. The grass for cattle was probably for farmers taking their beasts to Northampton Market the next day.
It seems to have run something along the same lines as Franklin's Gardens in St. James. In this period running, cycling and quoits were popular. Northamptonshire was famous for its skilled quoits teams - where are they now? The proprietor, R. C. Tooby had his fingers in several pies as can be seen from his advertisement which also boasted Choice Wines & Spirits. Wright 1884 lists the proprietor, Charles John Smith, as a v proving the business was substantial and another advertisement in Stevens 1889 placed by the then proprietor, W. Arnold, said they catered for parties all the year round and that he was a Coal and Coke Merchant-Wharf, Castle Station.
In earlier times it appears to have been smaller, and it was probably Mr. Tooby who enlarged it. The first proprietor in the directories is a John Craddock in 1864, but in the Northampton Mercury July 1868 is an announcement of a sale by auction R E Craddock, a Bankrupt and describes the property as:
containing a front shop, with plate glass window: parlour, tap room, kitchen, two bedrooms, large cellarage, brewhouse and out buildings, now in the possession of Charles Craddock.
[The pub has now been demolished (2010)].
This pub stood on the corner of St. James' Mill Road, next to the Green Man. In the past both pubs were smaller, O/S 1901 shows two houses between them, by O/S 1938 the two pubs stood side-by-side. This pub was lost when the road was widened circa 1965. According to the Northampton Independent 30th January 1914 the landlord was a Mr. John Page who had a Yorkshire terrier called Trixie who would beg coppers off customers, carry them in its mouth and drop them into a collecting box for the Crippled Children’s’ Fund. At the time of writing it Trixie had collected 13s..1¾d (about 65½p in today's money).
There are no records of this pub before 1884, even as a beer-shop. Wright 1884 has in the main text of his directory Fdk. Skipp bhs and in the appendix John Shaw v indicating not only a change of landlord in that year, but a change in status.
Also: The Brewers Arms
I don’t know why this pub was called the Harbour Lights, we being so far from the sea. It could have been a popular song of the time or simply that the harbour lights are a very welcome sight after a time at sea. It started its life as a Beer-Retailers as early as 1858, but the name doesn’t appear until about 1900. In the 1980s it changed its name to the Brewer's Arms and has since gone through several reincarnations and names.
This pub stood on the east side of Upper Harding Street, just below the junction with Upper Priory Street, next to the Lord Raglan Inn. In the past the only way a woman could hold a licence was if she was widowed, but this rule was set aside in 1914. William Smith promised the pub to his brother-in-law, Bert Oakenfull, but Bert had been called up into the army. The Magistrates decided that it was a special case and granted the licence to his wife, Ellen Ada on condition she relinquished it to her husband on his return. Ellen ran the pub from September 1914 until April 1919 when it was taken over by an Ethelbert Oakenfull, so it looks like he came back from the Great War. The next entry with a name has John Oakenfull - their son? The last entry is for 1971.
This building is Listed and the description says it is an early 19th century alteration to an 18th century house. The earliest mention in the directories is 1884, it is now a private house, and the last entry was in 1956.
This name is an allusion to the dubious sport of hare coursing. The Hare & Hounds in Duston could have such connections, but the one in Lady's Lane below, in the heart of Northampton must been an attempt to give a countrified atmosphere to the pub.
This pub was quarried away to make way for the Grosvenor Centre. This is one of two pubs that I know of that changed corners. The Criterion did it diagonally, whilst this one simply moved across the end of Lady's Lane. The original pub was on the north corner of Lady's Lane and Newland and is shown as such on both O/S 1910 and 1938. The O/S 1938 also shows a cleared area on the opposite corner, so the move must have taken place sometime after the 1938 survey. When I was a lad and drank in this establishment the original pub building still stood on the opposite corner and functioned as a guesthouse, it was smaller than the new pub so expansion may have been the motive for the move.
The sign of the Harp could be religious, but by the beginning of the 18th century it was the sign of a bird fancier - why I have no idea. It can indicate an Irish connection. We have had at least four Harps in town.
There is only one entry for this pub under its name, in Wright 1884, but it also appears as a Beer-Retailers in 1885. The pub seems to have been short lived and was on the east side of the street one door south of the corner with Thomas Street. It is now part of the Vocal Club.
According to NN&Q 1889 the Windmill, Market Square was changed to the Queen's Arms on the accession of Queen Victoria and was at the time kept by a Christopher Gibson, a musician who formerly kept the Harp in Castle Street. In view of his profession the sign is an appropriate one.
There is listed in the RBN 1898 a Harp as being mentioned in a deed that I have not seen. There is also one mentioned in the Assembly Order of 1585 and another from a will 1493 quoted in A History of the Church of All Saints, Northampton by Rev. R. M. Serjeantson. In 1493, November 15th, Simon Rowland of Northampton leaves his body to be buried:
in the churche yard of the Paryssh chyrche of all Hallowes in Nort: nyghe to the great oke growing there. The will is witnessed by Master John Cokks, clerk, and Robert Myddleham, Doctor and Vycar of All Hallowes, and John Marshall, at the signe of the Harpe.
The above quotation could refer to either the Gold Street, or the Kingswell Street Harp.
Also: The Hind
According to NN&Q 1889 this establishment was called the Hynde before the Great Fire and continued in business, the author believes, until the close of the last century, i.e. 1799. It is listed in the Assembly Order of 1585 as an Ancient Inn and there is a reference to le hart in Cornmonger's Row in 1504. This pub was advertised in the Northampton Mercury To be LETT on July 3rd 1749 and the 24th July announced that James York from the Cross Keys had taken the inn.
It was a large establishment, the Corn Exchange, later the Odeon Cinema and a Rock Café have occupied the site. The Hart or Hind was one of our more important inns in its time. In the 18th century it functioned as a coaching inn, and swordfights, wrestling matches and plays were all performed here, so some of the rooms must have been quite large. Being on the Market Square also meant that it probably used the larger rooms as market rooms and no doubt catered to the market visitors by providing ordinaries.
It has amused me that the sign of this pub shows a headland or promontory above the sea. The district and road after which this pub is named is so called because of the headlands left by the plough turning at the end of a furrowlong - it has nothing to do with the sea. The sign was probably ordered and painted by someone who had never been to Northampton, or had no idea where the sign was to end up.
The Chronicle & Echo 13th February 1959 announced the transfer of the licence of the Crown & Anchor, Bridge Street to a site at the junction of Headlands and Longland Road. The pub, it seems, didn't open until 1968.
Refer to the entry for: The Sallet
A single entry, Burgess 1845, the proprietor’s name Charles. It was probably a small, short-lived beer-shop.
We seem to have had two of these in the past so it must have been a fairly common sign as I find references to it elsewhere in the country. In the 17th century it referred to the constellation of the Pleiades and in the 19th century to a children's game. Chickens and Hens were also slang terms for small and large pewter pots. The Abington Street pub seems to have been of some antiquity and in Christian art the Hen and Chickens are a symbol of God's care, so this may indicate a pre-Reformation date for the pub. The pre-decimal Irish penny used to feature a hen with her chicks. Both humans and chickens have a fondness for the Barleycorn - so, could this be an explanation?
This is of those 16th and 17 century inns from the RBN where I have found documents - but not necessarily the same ones! A lease between Edward Lyon to take possession etc. of that known as the Hen and Chickens situate on the North Side of Abbingdon Street. A Deed Poll of the same year also mentions the inn. From the Scrutiny of the 1768 Election (only those with property could vote and the Scrutiny was to test claims) we learn that Samuel Shipley had lived there from before Christmas. His house was lately a publick house. It seems to have been adjacent, or close to, Albert Place according to the Election Plan.
Probably on the west side, halfway down. A group of buildings of which it was probably one are shown on O/S 1901, but not on O/S 1938.
Refer to the entry for: The Welcome Inn
Refer to the entry for: The Hart
This establishment was occasionally called the Golden Hind, another case of a name being shortened. The area where it stood is now an industrial estate. The earliest entry is 1884 and the last 1968.
This pub stood on the north side of the street. The name is probably a wry comment on the uncertainty of success in trade. O/S 1901 shows a wider than usual property without a back garden in the centre of the north terrace, this was probably the pub. Entries run from 1845 to 1907.
Refer to the entry for: The George Hotel
Also: The Vine
This pub seems to have been on the south side of Marefair, about opposite the end of Doddridge Street. Its original name almost certainly was the Hop Vine, Vine being a contraction. Perhaps to call an inn the Hop Vine would have implied that the new hopped beer was available rather than the old fashioned un-hopped ale? Dates are 1864 to 1951.
This pub stood on the east side of Swan Street directly opposite the end of Angel Street. Early maps of the area show a number of large houses nearby in Guildhall Road and Albion Place. In the 18th century stables were often located at the back of elegant town houses and it seems that this is when this sign came into use. The earliest entry I have for it is 1845 and it disappeared in 1958, before I started my drinking career.
This pub was on the southeast corner of Semilong Road where it joined Adelaide Street. Dates from 1862 and 1867 (as a Beer-Retailer) to 1963.
The name, no doubt, alludes to the still popular past-time of watching horses race, placing bets on them and losing! There have been four of these signs, two of them quite short-lived - perhaps the proprietors were fond of a flutter as well as their customers?
This sign is recorded twice, both Taylors 1858 and 1864. The proprietor, Normanton Merrill is also recorded as a Beer-Retailer in Bridge Street in 1861, 1862 and 1867. This could have been the precursor of the Cattle Market Tavern. Harrod 1876 has Merrill, Norminton, Brass Moulder, Guildhall road. Did he give up the pub, or was it a sideline?
A single entry, Burgess 1845, proprietor’s name Prince - no other details. Probably a small beer-shop and called the Horse & Jockey because of the street name.
This pub was on the east corner of the two streets; dates are 1858 to 1933.
Also: The Maltsters Arms
This pub stood on the north corner of the junction of Castle Street and Horsemarket. It seems to have started life as a Beer-Retailers and the earliest entry under this listing is 1847. It appears to have been run by a James Houghton, Beer-Retailer, Grocer, Landlord and Hop Merchant from as early as 1847 to about 1876 as the Maltster's Arms. In 1884 Issac Garlick was the proprietor and its name had changed to the Horsemarket Tavern. The last entry was in 1907.
I have located three Horseshoes in the area. The two most ancient are in what were villages a few years ago. The horseshoe has long been a symbol for good luck and there are as many explanations for this as there are arguments as to which way up it should be hung. Points up so the luck won’t fall out, points down representing the Moon's north (fortunate) node, points up to represent the Moon-Goddess, Selene. Iron over the door to ward off witches, avert ill luck or thunderbolts. You take your pick! See the entry for: The Silver Cornet for more on this.
Apart from five entries in directories (1830-1854) I have nothing else on this pub. It is not listed as one of the Kingsthorpe pubs of 1874 (see also the entry for: The Queen Adelaide) so it had either gone by then or changed its name.
Not a lot on it but it did survive for a long time, I can just remember it and like the above Horseshoe on occasions its proprietor had a second trade, George Dunkley of the Kingsthorpe Horseshoe was a Farmer and Charles Barber of this pub was a Grazier. It is listed from 1850 to 1962.
There is only one entry for this establishment (1922) so I wonder how long it survived. It described itself as a Commercial Inn.