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 Magpie(154, 156, 173, 173a or 175 Bridge Street)

The above series of numbers illustrates how unreliable property numbers can be in certain areas of town. The first two numbers are even and relate to the west side of the street, it seems the pub moved about 1865. From the unpublished notes of the author of the articles in NN&Q:

There is a Publick-House on the East Side of the South Quarter (Bridge Street) now Numbered but still bearing this Name. But this is not the Original site. For less than 20 years ago it was on the West Side of this thoroughfare opposite Navigation Row, and kept by Mr. George Baldwin, also a coal merchant. Where in remote times its Southern Wall was watered by the River Nen & where Barges may have come by and deposited its Cargo in the back part of the premises.

The Magpie The Magpie's new location is clearly shown on the old brewery plans as being on the east side about halfway between Navigation Row and Cattle Market Road.

The original name of the bird was a Pie, but it acquired the nickname maggoty - hence magpie. Some early versions of the sign have Maggoty Pie - not very appetising! There are many superstitions surrounding this odd bird and it is not at all clear why it should be selected for an inn sign, unless it is because of its reputation for collecting bright things (bright customers and bright conversation or bright coins in the till?) – or it could be because of the type of building. Half-timbered buildings with black beams and whitewashed infill are called magpie. A Magpie is Cockney slang for a halfpenny and in earlier days a half-pint of ale was known as a Magpie, probably because of its price – considering this pub’s antiquity that seems a bit steep for a half. There is an old nursery rhyme:

Round about, round about,
Maggoty Pie,
My father loves good ale
and so do I.

The earliest reference I have found to this pub is an auction notice of April 1763 and it has an entry in the Universal Directory 1791 so it must have been of some importance at the time. Laws Map 1847 shows an enclosed yard at the approximate location of the first Magpie showing it to have been able to accommodate a fair number of travellers and their horses. The second incarnation doesn’t seem to have been quite as salubrious as Wright 1884 gives it bhs, not an inn.

The Mailcoach(Derngate)

Refer to the entry for: The Swan

The name alludes to the Mailcoaches that carried the King's mail throughout the land. These vehicles were the fastest, had the right of way and didn't pay tolls. A post horn (another pub name) would be blown to clear the way ahead to get the tollgate opened before they reached it. The Mailcoach (and the Post Horn Inn) on the Market Square are named from this service, but the renamed Swan in Derngate is not.

The Mailcoach(Market Square)

Refer to the entry for: The Trooper

The Malt Shovel(121 Bridge Street)

Also: The Maltsters Arms

Also: The Tudor House

Considering this pub's position, close to the town's South Gate it probably goes back a good way. The earliest reference I have to this establishment is a Samuel Wright trading as a Beer-Retailer in 1850 and 1852, he next appears as the proprietor of the Maltster's Arms in 1858. The Malt Shovel appears circa 1870.

The Malt Shovel It was originally thatched and it also had a protruding first floor. However, after the Great Fire of 1675 no thatched roofs were allowed within the town, but the original Malt Shovel was, like the Bantam Cock just outside a Town Gate. Wright 1884 gives it the appellation bhs but later it styled itself an inn and in 1912 was offering lodgings. The old building was demolished in 1914 to make way for road widening and the present structure is essentially the replacement built by the Northampton Brewery Company.

In the 1960s when I was working as a self-employed archaeologist I spent the winter working for Phipps Northampton Brewery Company, Watney Mann (Midland) Limited and I can remember going into this pub at Christmas. It seemed that this was the custom, at least with the North Brewery. We worked as usual up to lunchtime and then we all clocked out and trooped across the road to the pub, which stood right opposite the main gates. During this session the foremen of the various departments came over with their long boxes of pay packets, which they distributed, to their men (this ritual was usually carried out during the Friday afternoon tea-break in the canteen). Having handed out the pay each foreman was then expected to stand his lads a pint. I had noticed that whilst we were being paid the landlord was pulling scores of pints of S. P. A. so this must have been a regular custom. I believe the Malt Shovel was the Brewery Tap at the time - I wonder if the foremen got a discount, or even paid for the beer?

The pub was much smaller than it is now as the back has been opened up and the front is no longer two bars, so it was a very crowded, but jovial atmosphere on that day especially after a pint or two. The foremen had a pint with us and left. Suddenly someone called, It's time! and we all trooped over the road, queued up to clock-on and, I assumed, prepared to return to work. Instead of going up the steps onto the loading-bay and into the building we all turned about, marched out of the other end of the clock-house and returned to our pints left in the pub.

The Brewery had recently employed a new gate-man, resplendent in his uniform with his medal ribbons from World War II. He was a true old soldier and tried to stop us - all to no avail and although exhorted by many of us to desert his post and join us for a Christmas drink, he steadfastly refused. That is probably why the Brewery gave him the job.

In the afternoon there was a raffle and all the staff were there. Phipps-Walker who I had never seen before, conducted the draw. From the comments about him from the men around me I concluded that he was a very popular and respected man. The prizes varied, from whole hampers, cases of a half-dozen bottles of assorted spirits, turkeys and crates of bottled beer. There were no tatty prizes, and it was fixed - insomuch as by using our clock-numbers it ensured that everyone won something - I won a crate of a dozen pint bottles of Jumbo Stout, most of which my dad drank! The Brewery might have been owned by Watneys then, but the old spirit that must have been around for years still clung on.

Of course, the old Brewery has now gone and Carlsberg now occupies the site. What's Brewing, the CAMRA paper described the Malt Shovel in June 1999 thus: - A Free house which stands at the real ale lovers idea of the Gates of Hell .... Carlsberg fizz-factory.

Since the Watney days the pub has changed a lot, it's better decorated - interestingly decorated, a damn sight cleaner and all the internal walls have gone - but I still think when I’m in there now and then of that Christmas at the Brewery. In 1983 the pub was acquired by Mick McManus and the name changed to the Tudor House and for a short while later it was called Barney Rubble's, being returned to its old, but not the oldest name of the Malt Shovel by John Harding in 1995.

The Maltsters Arms(121 Bridge Street)

Refer to the entry for: The Malt Shovel

Maltsters make malt, being an essential ingredient of beer, so their trade is very suitable as a sign especially if the landlord is also a Maltster.

The Maltsters Arms(49 and 50 Horsemarket)

Refer to the entry for: The Horsemarket Tavern

The Maltsters Arms(41 St James Road)

This is the Maltster's Arms that didn't change its name. In most entries it is entered under Beer-Retailers, so it was probably a modest affair. The pub was on a bend in St. James' Road, a couple of doors from the Robin Hood. The earliest record is in 1862 when a James Smith had it, a Thomas Smith is in the Robin Hood in 1852, so could they have been related? There is an entry in Lea 1906 for an A. Checkley at 41 Main Road I am assuming that this is the same address, as Main Road, Far Cotton doesn’t seem long enough to have had a number 41.

The Maple Tree(12 Lawrence Street and Maple Street)

Also: The Dulleys Arms

Probably first called the Dulley's Arms (1864) because of connections with either Dulley's Brewery of Wellingborough, or Eady & Dulley of Market Harborough. The name change (by 1884) could mark a change in owner or supplier as one would not like to advertise a rival. The second name is derived from the street. It stood on the northeast corner of the junction of the two streets and its last entry was in 1931.

The Marquis of Carabas(59 Bouverie Street)

Also: The Rifle

Also: The Lord Cavendish

It stood on the northeast corner of the junction of South Street and Bouverie Street and appears to have been an early example of a pub reverting to an earlier name. It seems that a G. Gibbs changed it from the Marquis to the Lord Cavendish in 1901 and W. C. Lilford changed it back again in 1907. Originally it was called the Rifle (1864), becoming the Marquis about 1884, after Lilford changed it back it retained this name to the end. I understand it closed circa 1957, long before the area was cleared for development.

The name Rifle could be a contraction of a name like the Rifleman, but it could also refer to the rifle - a piece of wood with a strip of emery paper on one side and leather on the other used by clickers to sharpen their knives. The Marquis of Carabas (what a splendid name!) is a title bestowed in gratitude by Christopher Robin in the childrens' story on Puss in Boots.

The Marquis of Granby

Refer to the entry for: The Granby Arms

The Masons Arms(St Georges Street)

There were three pubs with this name. In two cases there is evidence that the proprietors were at some time either Builders or Stonemasons.

Only two mentions of this pub, Burgess 1845, Masters and Hickman 1847, E. Masters. Kelly 1847 has, Masters, Edward. Builder and Beer-Retailer. It looks like he had a brother, Samuel, for he is also listed in Kelly, as a builder and shopkeeper in the same street. In Kelly 1852 Samuel Masters is at the Fish Inn and a builder. He seems more of a success than his brother for in the street list of Taylor 1864 he is residing at number 19 Giles' Street (Black Lion), but not as the licensee.

The Masons Arms(29 St Johns Street)

Samuel Howard held the Fountain Inn, Silver Street in 1847 and was listed as at the Masons’ Arms in 1858. Melville 1861 and 1867 records a Samuel Howard mason 22 Kingswell Street and this probably explains the name of his beer-house.

The Masons Arms(Vernon Street)

Refer to the entry for: The Freemasons Arms

The Melbourne Arms(Melbourne Lane, Duston)

This one is still with us. Like the lane it is named after Lord Melbourne (1779-1848) who was Prime Minister in 1834 and again from 1835-1841. He owned an estate at Duston and probably the pub as well.

The building itself is a Grade II listed building and I have found references in the directories going back as far a 1830 and it was probably a pub long before then. In the 1970s it was a Watneys pub (few in Northampton were anything else) and in an exchange deal in 1972 it, along with several others, became a Courage pub. It retains some of the original village pub character and possesses a large garden with another across the road.

The Melbourne Gardens Tavern

Refer to the entry for: The Franklins Gardens Hotel

The Midland Tavern(64 Cow [Swan] Laneand 78 St Johns Street)

This pub was on the southwest corner of the junction between St. John's Street and Cow Lane. Cow Lane derived its name from the Cow Gate, a small postern in the south wall of the medieval town through which the cows were driven from Cow Meadow into town to the Market Square. In days gone by there was a place about half way up the hill, where the back of the Derngate Centre is now then called Cowmucke Hille.

Taylor 1858 has a William Robbins as a Beer-Retailer at this address and it also appears as a beer-shop in 1862 and 1864. The first mention of the name is in 1884. The Robbins family kept it for quite a while (1858 to at least 1929). The only other people to keep it were the Hardings (c.1936 to 1954).

The Milkmaid

Refer to the entry for: The Gardeners Arms

The Mitre(8 King Street)

The Mitre used to stand opposite the Criterion and along with this pub and another, the Cross Keys around the corner, shared a rather dubious reputation in the 1960s, if not before. Ron Bayliss, the landlord in those days used to keep scrumpy cider as did the Bell and Tree of Liberty. This was powerful stuff and most landlords would not sell it because of its reputation as fighting juice. Ron had a refinement to this liquor, which I believe he learnt from the black guys that went in there. It was called Combo and came, if I recollect correctly (drinking the stuff affected the memory, I’m sure!) in two forms. The normal one was (I think!) - take a pint glass and add half a pint of scrumpy and a schooner of cheap sherry. The combo-nation was lethal! The supercharged variety was the same, but you added a double vodka. Blackcurrant juice was an option. Ron always kept an eye on drinkers of these cocktails and threw out anyone who got too excited.

Despite being a rough pub with all the attendant vices I used to like it as no one pretended to be anything other than what they were - so there was a sort of honesty about the place. The pub closed in 1971 and was demolished in 1972; the site is now part of the Moat House car park.

The Moat House(Silver Street)

Also: The Saxon

This is really a hotel, but it does have a public bar. It was built in the 1970s and was first called the Saxon Inn. I was acting as an Archaeologist for the Northampton Development Corporation during its construction and a large hole was dug to accommodate the heating plant and a cellar bar. This revealed a fascinating section through the medieval town made up of pits full of pottery and burning. The pits seem to have been dug for stone and then filled with rubbish, so the hotel is standing on an ancient rubbish tip.

The Moat Tavern(53 St Marys Street)

This pub stood on the southeast corner of the junction of Doddridge Street and St. Mary's Street. The first mention in a directory of its name is in Wright 1884 Sml. Ths. Betts bhs. A directory of 1878 lists under Beer-Retailers a S. T. Betts at 43 Horsemarket (later the New York Tavern?).

Presumably the name is derived from its proximity to the site of the Castle. I have seen a photograph taken in 1970 showing the pub in a sorry state awaiting demolition. It was lost under Barclaycard House which itself has been flattened. An early photograph shows it was established in 1878.

Molly Malones(Chapel Place)

Also: Mollys Bar

Also: Fagins

Fagin's was opened in 1986 as a bistro by John Maloney. It swiftly became a wine bar and by the end of 1987 it was a pub. It closed for a while a couple of years later, reopening as Molly Malone's in 1990, later still it was extended through to Abington Square and became known as Molly's Bar.

The Morning Star(23 Great Russell Street)

Morning Star There are two planets nearer to the Sun than the Earth, Mercury and Venus. Therefore these are always seen from the Earth as close to the Sun i.e. at Sunrise or Sunset. The Morning Star and The Evening Star (Upper Priory Street) are really the same planet, either Mercury and/or Venus. This is also the name of a locomotive built by George Stephenson for the Great Western Railway. The pub was unusual in that it had two entrances in two streets, the other being through the yard from Earl Street. The earliest directory record is 1858 and it closed in 1974.

The Morris Man(Witham Way, Kings Heath)

Also: Fantasia

I have no idea why this pub was called by either of these names. This estate pub was completed in the summer of 1971 and may have been called the Fantasia after Walt Disney's cartoon film. The Morris Man has a nice Olde Worlde feel to it and could have been adopted to indicate a total change of management and style. The name change took place in 1979.

Mother Cuthberts House(Location unknown)

There is a small parchment document written in a small crabbed hand that is almost unreadable in the NRO 1588 that refers to this pub.