Intro A B C D E F G H I-J-K L M N-O P-Q R S T U-Z Credits

The Labour in Vain(55 Upper Mounts)

Refer to the entry for: The Black Boy

The Labour in Vain(30 Green Street)

Also: The Barley Mow

Also: The Black Man

The original sign of this pub is not politically correct by modern standards. The actual name was probably ironic, indicating that no matter how hard the landlord worked he was never going to make a fortune or even get a decent result. The sign used to be very popular in less enlightened days and showed either one or two washerwomen scrubbing a little black boy in a tub of suds, it was often accompanied by a verse such as:

Washing here can now be seen
She scrubs both left and right
Although she'll get him middling clean
She'll never get him white!

This is supposed to relate to an event that is told of the medieval court. It seems that a traveller brought back from parts foreign a black boy who was presented to the ladies of the court for their amusement. In their ignorance they tried to scrub the black off the lad. They did this so thoroughly and so often that the poor mite caught a chill and died. Dates run from 1884 to 1907.

The Lamb and Flag(40 Bridge Street and Kingswell Street)

Also: The Lion and Lamb

Also: The Cobblers

Also: The 40s

Lamb and Flag The site of this inn lies four properties below Francis Jitty on the west side of the street. The earliest mention is in 1542 when it was mentioned in a document as part of the properties whose rents were given for the upkeep of Northampton Grammar School. The inn was destroyed in the Great Fire, but it seems was rebuilt as there is a reference it in a lease of 1766. The properties and probably the inn itself were pulled down in 1828. It is possible that the name changed from the Lamb & Flag to Lion & Lamb at the time of the rebuilding after the Fire. However, Lamb & Flag has Catholic overtones so the change could have happened at the time of the Reformation - about 100 years earlier.

The Lamb & Flag is the Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God and represents Christ with the flag of His Resurrection. It is found as a crest of the Merchant Tailors and on the coat of arms of the Knights Templar.

Early references to this establishment give the address as Kingswell Street. In Medieval times Bridge Street was very congested and the main road was Kingswell Street. When the King visited to hold Parliament at the Castle the Royal procession would use this street, along Silver Street (now called College Street) and turn left along King Street to enter the Castle by the North Gate.

The other two names are modern and there is no continuity, The Cobblers appeared in the mid 1970s and The 40s about ten years later. In 1986 it was called 40 Bridge Street - a wine bar.

The Lamplighter(Market Square)

Refer to the entry for: The Lord Palmerston

The Lamplighter(Overstone Road)

Refer to the entry for: The Overstone Arms

The Lawrence Sheriffs Arms(Lawrence Street / Wellington Place)

Only one reference to this beer-house, in the Northampton Mercury November 1862. The advertisement describes the premises:


A Substantial brick and slated MESSUAGE, now occupied as a Beer and Refreshment House, and called The Lawrence Sheriff's Arms most eligibly situate for business, at the corner of LAWRENCE-STREET, Wellington-place in the town of Northampton, containing Front Shop, Bar-parlour, Sitting-room, Tap-room, Kitchen, four Sleeping Rooms, two good cellars, convient Yard with two entrances into Lawrence-street, containing large BAKEHOUSE, with Meal-room over, Stables, Piggeries, Workshop and Coal House, and two Pumps of excellent Water.

The property, which is new-built is in the occupation of Mr. John Bird, at the yearly rent of £35, and a good business is carried on therein.

Leamington House(10 The Parade)

Leamington House stood at the top of the Market Square and only seems to have had one proprietor, Edmund Franklin. Kelly 1847 records an Edward Franklin as a confectioner and dealer in British wines on the Parade. By Phillips 1852 there is an Edmund recorded as a Beer-Retailer here and Slater 1862 records Edmund at the Leamington House under the heading Taverns & Public Houses. There is one more entry Taylor 1864. This and adjoining properties were demolished to construct the Emporium Arcade, which was built in 1901. Sadly this fascinating arcade full of interesting shops has also been demolished to make way for a dingy, sterile, urine smelling muggers paradise.

The Leg of Mutton(11 Mercers Row)

Refer to the entry for: The Old Duke of Clarence

The Leopard(15 Wellington Place, Barrack Road)

The Leopard
There is only one mention of this pub by this name (1858) in all others it is a Beer-Retailer. Working from the property numbers on O/S 1964 Plan it was located on the south corner of Temple Bar, but numbers could have changed.

Does one of the regiments associated with the Barracks have a leopard as its badge? Perhaps the proprietor played the bass drum and wore a leopard skin? Many of the other pubs in the area seem to have military associations.

The Lily of the Valley(2 Bell Barn Street)

This pub was at the east end of Bell Barn Street at the junction with St Andrew's Street, it became part of St. Andrew's churchyard, now also gone. The name probably alludes to a popular song.

An advertisement for the letting of the Engineer, Far Cotton in the Northampton Mercury February 1868 says; - Apply to J. Willars, Lily of the Valley, St Andrew's Square.

The Lion(The Drapery)

One of the Ancient Inns of 1585. In 1607 a complaint was made of the condition of a lane leading from the backside of the Lion (i.e. what is now called College Street) down to the Horsemarket, this meant it ran east-west. It is possible that this lane was not reinstated after the Great Fire of 1675. In a poem about the Fire the author refers to the Swan, the Lion and then the Hind. He was probably listing them in order, if this is so; we know the location of the Swan (Swan Yard) and the Hind (Corn Exchange, Parade). We also know the Lion must have been on the west side of the Drapery (its backside was in College Street), therefore, it must have been between the Swan and the top of the Drapery. It doesn't appear to have been rebuilt after the Fire.

The Lion and Lamb

Refer to the entry for: The Lamb and Flag

The Little Bell(7 or 9 Augustine Street)

Also: The Prince of Wales

According to NN&Q 1891 the licence of the Catherine Wheel, Abington Street was transferred to this pub in 1841, when a Mr. Pierce Cornfield was tenant. In 1864 the pub changed name to the Prince of Wales. It was located on the east corner of the junction of Augustine Street and Weston Row; the last entry is for 1933.

The Little Boat(78 Brier Lane)

Brier Lane is shown on Laws Map and is in effect the start of the Wellingborough Road. The pub has only one entry in Taylor 1864 when a Mr. George Parker was the proprietor. Because the street numbers are not known it is impossible to locate the pub's exact position. However, the New Town Tavern is also listed as being at number 66 Brier Lane. Later directories give the New Town Tavern's address as 80 Wellingborough Road. By counting properties and assuming the plots have not changed I make the present premises of Andrew’s Office Equipment (90 or 92) to be its location.

The Live and Let Live(73 Bath Street and 25 Bristol Street)

This establishment stood on the northeast corner of Bristol and Bath Streets. There is only one entry under the name - Lea 1900-1 has an A. C. Sanders, there is also an A. E. Sanders, Beer-Retailer, Bath Street in Stevens 1889. A photograph taken by the Borough Architects Department in 1963 when the area was about to be demolished shows this building boarded up with over the door:

The LIVE & LET LIVE - Est. 1870

Directly over the door is:
R. W. MUDD 6 (GROCER Ltd.)

It obviously still sold beer, but was it on or off sales? In the 1950s it was only listed as a Grocers and did not appear under Beer-Retailers or Public Houses. The unusual name can be found more to the North of England and comes, I'm told from the Hungry Forties - the period which preceded the repeal of the Corn Laws by Sir Robert Peel in 1846, the high cost of food causing distressing poverty amongst the poor.

The London and Northwestern Hotel

Refer to the entry for: The North Western Hotel

The London House(28 The Drapery)

A short-lived establishment, it was located on the east side of the fourth property north from Osborn's Jitty. Taylor 1864 called it the London House and Kelly in the same year listed it as a Beer-Retailer - its only other appearance is in Melville 1867 again as the London House.

The Longboat(Limehurst Square, New Duston)

The Longboat

I know little more than it being a relatively new pub. However, here's a photograph taken in 1999.

The Lord Cavendish

Refer to the entry for: The Marquis of Carabas

The Lord Palmerston(25 Market Square)

Also: The Flying Horse

Also: The Lamplighter

The Flying Horse, Market Hill is mentioned in the Great Fire Court Book 1682 so it must have existed before the Great Fire of 1675. I offer two possible explanations for the name, the first is from NN&Q 1889 in the form of a rhyme:

If with water you fill up your glasses,
You'll never write anything wise,
For wine is the horse of Parnassus,
Which hurries a Bard to the skies.

The horse of Parnassus is the flying horse, Pegasus. The author of the article in NN&Q also points out that there was a game where you sat on a kind of swing and took swipes with a wooden sword at a target. However, I understand the term could refer to any swing as a sign I have seen from elsewhere for this name illustrates.

Lord Palmerston Advert Central to the sign is a pretty young girl dressed in the bonnet, bows and flounces of yesteryear; she is sitting on a swing holding the chains that are entwined with flowers. She is on the upswing, one leg raised, eyes closed and a smile on her face. Behind her ready to give another push is a young man in frock coat, breeches and tricorn hat giving a knowing look to a second young man in similar attire. This second man stands before her, sideways on, hands on knees, peering up her skirts. This behaviour seems ungentlemanly enough, but when you know that in the days of petticoats and hoped skirts ladies did not wear anything resembling knickers you realise the trick these two young gentlemen are playing on this innocent maid. Or, she could have been perfectly aware of what was going on.

It seems a Job Bartho kept the inn in 1753 and in 1760 a Surgeon and Apothecary, William Fisher jnr., advertised that he would be at the Flying Horse on Saturdays to ply his trade. An Indenture of the 9th and 10th of August 1834 lists several of the previous tenants but no dates.

The Flying Horse changed its name in 1867. In August 1864 Lady Palmerston cut the first turf of the East & West Junction Railway at Towcester and Lord Palmerston (a Liberal) paid Northampton a visit. The Flying Horse being a Liberal pub changed its name in his honour.

The next big event in the pub's history was on October the sixth 1874, a Parliamentary By-Election involving Charles Bradlaugh had, by nightfall, developed into an unruly mob that gathered in the Market Square. When the result was given out it enraged the mob that promptly tore up the cobblestones and began to hurl them at the windows of the surrounding buildings. The Lord Palmerston didn't escape and the landlord, Josiah Rechab Tonsley defended the entrance of his pub, dressed in a fireman's helmet and armed with an axe. He swore to brain anyone trying to get in. The Mayor, flanked by police, read the Riot Act and Bradlaugh appealed for calm. This had no effect so the army were called out from Weedon. When they arrived they fired a volley over the heads of the rioters, who sensibly dispersed. This was the last serious riot in Northampton; see the entry for: The George for another good one!

In 1936 the old building was demolished and a new pub rose from the rubble to open early in the following year. The building that stands now, at least from the first floor up, is basically this structure. Around 1974 the Palmerston changed its name to the Lamplighter and up dated it's image. However, in 1980 it finally closed - being at that time the only pub left on a Market Square that once had so many.

Lord Raglan

There were two of these in the past; one was probably named because of the street name. Lord Fitzroy James Henry (1798-1855) 1st Baron Raglan was a soldier of repute. He fought in the Peninsular War and commanded British troops in the Crimean. According to the directory entries the Lord Raglan in Upper Priory Street appears to have opened in 1858, so could have been in honour of the Lord's recent death. Raglan Street was constructed around this time and probably named for the same reason. The second Lord Raglan opened six years later.

The Lord Raglan(44 Kettering Road and 21 Raglan Street)

The pub stood on the west corner of the junction of the two above streets. A small house, now demolished, was sandwiched between the pub and what was until recently the Unitarian Church. Both the pub and house have gone although the church still stands, but no longer Unitarian - they have moved to Hazelwood Road.

The Lord Raglan(Upper Priory Street and 46 Harding Street)

This pub was on the southeast corner of the junction of two above streets. It was next to the Harding Street Tavern. This pub was almost dead centre of the site of the Priory of St. Andrew. In the early 1970s when I was working as an archaeologist for Northampton Development Corporation we were called out to investigate skeletons that had been unearthed during site clearance in this area. They proved to be the medieval mortal remains of old Northamptonians the skeletons were enclosed in stone boxes called cists (pronounced kists) made up of slabs of local sandstone. Some had been disturbed during building operations a century or so before. One had an extra skull between its legs, evidently placed there by a respectful workman from the past. I remember some of the old locals joking about drinking in this pub and not knowing that just beneath their feet lay several medieval skeletons!

The Lumbertubs(Kettering Road North)

Also: The Boothville

This pub only just qualifies, being at the very edge of the 1965 Borough boundary and this is probably the reason why there are so few early records of it. Kelly 1956 finishes at the Manfield Hospital, the Borough boundary at the time, but Kelly 1958 does list this pub even though the boundary wasn't extended until April 1965.

The original name was The Boothville, derived from the district name. Lumbertubs, derived from Lumbertubs Lane was first used in 1960, it is an odd name and there are several explanations as to its meaning. One is that local greengrocers used a field on this lane for the disposal of old wooden vegetable boxes and this led to it being nick-named thus. Another, from Stan Monk, published in the Chronicle & Echo March 1994 is that it comes from the Saxon word lumm meaning land by a pool and the suffix, tun is Old English for a wooden vessel.