I’ve grouped these two together because in both cases they are in the RBN 1898 16th or 17th century lists and that is all I know about them.
A Tabard was a jacket with short, pointed sleeves worn by knights over their armour. It would have been emblazoned with their field of arms. Their servants often wore such garments as an indication of their fealty and authority, as it was a noble garment only worn by the upper classes. Tabards are still worn by the Heralds of the College of Arms on State occasions. It is a sign of some age as Chaucer had his pilgrims start from a Southwark pub of the name in 1383. I've found three of these in the town, all of them of good age.
Victoria County History Vol. III p.19 quotes a Rental of 1504 that mentions several inns in the town including le Tabard.
Only one reference and no street number, from an advertisement in the Northampton Mercury April 1868:
TO BE LET With Immediate Possession. AN old-established BEERHOUSE, THE TAILOR'S ARMS, WELLINGBOROUGH ROAD, Northampton.
When an advertisement says immediate possession it indicates to me that the premises are unoccupied and therefore not conducting business. This may explain why many beer-houses only appear once and that's in such advertisements as above. They either did not continue as beer-houses, or the premises changed name or use.
A Talbot is an extinct form of hunting dog. It was white, rather like an old-fashioned hound, but with black or blue spots all over, somewhat like a Dalmatian. Talbot inns often ended up being called the Spotted Dog. Talbot is the family name of the Earls of Shrewsbury and the dog features in their arms. Talbot inns often indicate a connection with this family.
It was to this inn that the leather market moved when the Star closed down, it must have been pre-Fire as the Great Fire Court Records have a petition from a Raphael Coldwell, September 25th 1676 that refers to the Talbutt having been destroyed in the Great Fire. This Talbutt was probably the Ancient Inn in the Assembly Order of 1585. An order was made for its rebuilding with four tenements in Newland adjoining or lying near to, the backside of the inn. In the 1720s the inn was run by Thomas Miller according to advertisements of the time. I do not know when it finally closed. However, from the advertisement below it must have been flourishing in the 18th century:
To Be LETT.
And Enter'd upon at St. Thomas next, THE TALBOT INN, situate in the Market-place, in Northampton, with The Utensils for Brewing, and Stabling for a great Number of Horses.
Enquire of Mr. Snowden, Shop-keeper in Northampton.
The historical panels painted by Osbourne Robinson, the late scenic designer at the Repertory Theatre that were in the Grosvenor Centre (where are they now?) show the sign of this inn on a panel illustrating the times of Henry VIII (1529).
This is probably the inn referred to in the poem Northampton in Flames the writer seems to be travelling up the Drapery, calling at the Swan, then the Lion (probably the Red Lyon), the Hind on the top corner of the Market and then the Talbot and finally, the Phoenix (probably the Peacock).
According to NN&Q there were two Talbots, one in the Market Square and one in Sheep Street. Taylor thought that they could have been the same inn, but the Fire Court Records puts one of them close to Newland, well away from Sheep Street. Taylor quotes an advertisement dated 1749 for the letting of:
A Good-Accustomed Inn, in the Sheep-Street, Northampton, known by the Name of the Talbot.
This pub stood on the west side of the street, near the top, on the corner of Union Street. It was lost in the 1970s during redevelopment. I have traced it as a Beer-Retailer back to 1858.
Refer to the entry for: The Princess Royal
Refer to the entry for: The Bear
I have discovered that this is the name of a coach and the pub was probably named after it rather than the electric telegraph. As it stood on Bridge Street this seems most likely. There is only one reference to it, Taylor 1858, Morley William (Telegraph), 103 Bridge Street. It was on the river side of the Tom Thumb, it is possible that it didn't survive because of the proximity of this pub.
Refer to the entry for: The Gate Inn
Refer to the entry for: The Green Man
Taylor made a note of this sign under Bridge Street, but never published it, probably because he doesn’t seem to have found anything more on it. It could have been a nickname - perhaps for one of these below?
There is no pub that I know of just called Three, but I have discovered that in this town, three in a name is fairly common, I have found nine.
The number three is a special, lucky number; not only because of the Trinity, but earlier, such as the triple aspect of the Moon Goddess and the innumerable trinities of Pagan Gods such as Osiris, Isis and Horus. As well, there is the fact that once is just once, because it happened; two and it's a coincidence - but three and there has to be something in it. The Kelts were fond of three, they liked three severed heads in their sanctuaries - it goes back a long way.
This name either represents the Three Wise Men, the Papal Crown, the Three Crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland, or the Arms of the Drapers Company. Refer to the entry for The Crowns for a fuller discussion.
Three cups appear in the arms of the Salters Company, but I think this could be the Three Pots for a Penny - see the next entry below. Only one reference in a directory, Pigot 1824 Ths. Lake and an item in the Northampton Mercury 9th September 1820:
At the house in Bridge street in this town known by the name of the Three Cups, which this week has been part taken down, for the purpose of being rebuilt, while the workmen were excavating a portion of the old site to make a cellar, they dug up in the course of Tuesday and Wednesday last, upwards of 400 skulls and other human bones... The premises form part of St. John's hospital.
The author of this article said that the bones appeared to be male (how could they tell?) and therefore they were probably the result of some great battle. However, it is more likely that they had disturbed a burial ground associated with St. John's Hospital.
Also: The Three Pots for a Penny
Three Pots was on the corner of Three Potts Lane, now called St. John’s Street, the sign is self-explanatory. The Northampton Mercury April 1751 advertised an auction of six tenements in St. John's Street:
At the house of James York the Younger, known by the Sign of the Three Pots-Twopence in the Town of Northampton.
We have a copy of a will dated 1758 that refers to the sign of the Three Potts on the east side of Bridge Street. It is also mentioned in A True and Faithful Relation of the Late Dreadful Fire at Northampton:
Burned in Bridge-Street as far as James Bailes at the Sign of the three Pots for twopence.
Did this inn change its name because of inflation, I wonder? As all the above and the next entry are all in Bridge Street or St. John's Lane I wonder whether they are, in fact, all the same premises?
This pub is one of those in the 16th and 17th century list from RBN 1898, the name also occurs in a document of 1704. Not only has its location led me to believe that this is the same establishment as the Three Potts, but the name itself. The Saxon word for a pail was a piggen and it is claimed by some that this became corrupted into pig as in Pig & Whistle - it is entirely likely, in my opinion, to have also been corrupted into pig-eon.
These last four present no real problems, they are all at different addresses and the meaning of the sign is known. A tun or tunn is a brewer's fermenting vessel, or it's a cask, 252 gallons capacity if its wine and 216 if its beer. The arms of the Vintners Company, incorporated in 1437 display three tuns, it is therefore an indication that the establishment served wine as well as ale and beer. The Brewers Company also features three tuns or casks, in this case three barrels (36 gallons) although I am not sure how you judge the capacity of a cask illustrated on a field of arms.
To quote NN&Q 1881:
A public-house on the east side of the square still bears this name. It is probable, however, that this forms but a portion of the original site of the Chequer. The Three Tuns was, up to 1750, the sign of a good-accustomed publick-house in the Drapery.
So this represents two pubs. It was advertised for let in April 1749 and was described as an old public house, so it must have been around for a while. As we don’t have a definite location we do not know if it changed its name when it was let, presumably by 1750, and the sign transferred to the Market Square, or ceased to trade.
From an Abstract of Mr. Morgan's title to the Rose & Crown Inn, Wheatsheaf Inn and several houses in Gold Street in the town:
21 April 1634 ... called or known by the Name or Sign of the 3 Tuns...
I think this must have been close to the Rose & Crown.
From the Great Fire Court Book 1675:
... Toft with the backside or Garden and the app-tenances scituate & being on the West side of the horse Markett... on which Toft stood formerly a Messuage or Tenement... lying on the North called formerly the Three Tuns. April 26th 1684.
It appears that it perished in the Great Fire, never to be rebuilt.
This is another from the RBN 1898 list for which we haven't the documents, but it did survive up to 1910. Taylor was right (see above) it was part of the old Chequer and would have been one property closer to Abington Street than the Lord Palmerston. When I surveyed the old cellars under the Market in the 1960s a sign in one of the passages near this part of the Square said To the Three Tuns Shelter - one of the Air-Raid Shelters from World War Two.
The late Lou Warwick quoted this inn in an article in the Northampton Independent September 1978. He referred to an advertisement for a sale that was conducted at this inn in 1737:
William Roe and James Williamson at the Toll-House, St. James selling all sorts of Silk, Mercery and Linen-Drapery Goods - Our Stay here will be but Short.
Northampton Mercury 6th June 1737
Another advertisement I have found in the Northampton Mercury dated 25th April 1763:
Publick NOTICE is hereby given.
THAT the INN in St. James'-End, near Northampton, in very good Repair, is taken and entered upon by Nicholas Blackwell of Kislingbury: Where all Gentlemen, Ladies, and Others may depend on good Entertainment and Civil usage, and their Favours will be gratefully acknowledged by Their Humble Servant NICHOLAS BLACKWELL.
Beeby Thompson wrote that the old Tollgate was at the junction of the Weedon and Harlestone Roads and that there were two gates side-by-side. He did not make it clear whether these were across one road or one each across each road. If the latter is so the tollhouse would probably have been between the two roads where they diverge, where the cake shop and bank are at present. This would also have been the inn or it was close by.
Refer to the entry for: The General Tom Thumb
This pub was on the site of the Chronicle & Echo building on the Mounts. It stood on the corner and as I remember it, it had a rather peculiar sign. It was a sort of lop-sided arms of the town, there was the castle with its three turrets, but supported by only one lion. I understand this was because the council, in their wisdom, had refused permission for the pub to display the town's arms. Heraldic devices are the property of to whom or what they are awarded to and as such are copyright. I would imagine if a pub displayed the town arms today without permission nothing would be said. However, if some jobsworth did object one would have the perfect defence in the fact that the town council have recently murdered the town arms producing a hideous trendy abomination that breaks all the rules of heraldry and good taste! The earliest date I have for this pub is 1862 and the latest 1973.
Burgess 1845, Williams, Phipps 1852, Samuel Williams. This is all we have. It probably stood opposite the Welcome Inn. In Taylor 1864 there is a Samuel Williams at the Lord Raglan, Upper Harding Street, so it looks like he moved around the corner.
One entry, Burgess 1845, Ward. There have been several pubs along this relatively short street in the past and without a number there is no way to tell where it was, or if it's another pub with a name change.
This pub stood on the south side, facing up Dover Street, opposite the Dover Castle. The first mention is in 1884, but there was a beer-shop next door at 45 from 1858 to 1864, so did it move into the larger number 47 and give itself a name?
Also: The Tramway Inn
This pub stood on the northeast corner of Kettering Road and Portland Street. The earliest reference is in 1881. I visited this pub on a few occasions and remember that it had hard, plywood benches along the walls with designs of hundreds of holes drilled through them. These benches were either from tramcars or had been made to imitate them. The pub finally closed its doors in 1974 and the site is now part of the patch of grass by the Kettering Road.
The tram was a popular form of public transport in days gone by and two pubs are named after them. One, in St. James Road was at a terminus and this one, halfway up the Kettering Road was on the route of the first section, opened in June 1881.
I can remember this pub, but I never went in it. It used to stand on the southwest corner of St. James Road and Devonshire Street, opposite the bank. The whole area has now been redeveloped. The first trams (horse) ran in Northampton in 1881, the Company having been formed the year before. The first section, West Bridge - Racecourse was opened in June of that year and extended to Café Square (often wrongly called St. James' Square) by the end of July. The pub was built shortly afterwards, the last entry from the directories is 1970.
This pub must have been on the north side of the street, near the Horsemarket end. Both O/S 1901 and 1938 show a group of assorted buildings at this end of the street, the pub is probably one of these. By 1938 both St. Peter's and Doddridge Houses are shown in the process of construction, so the pub probably closed about then. It only appeared in five directories, from 1911 to 1933.
The name of this pub is still a mystery. At first I thought that as was a famous train called the Flying Scotsman, which I understand was a TPO (Travelling Post Office) that sorted the mail as it travelled over-night to the North; that this could have been (in jest?) a name of a slower version. The National Railway Museum, York knows nothing of it.
Only one entry 1864 gives a number and this is not a great help. Using O/S 1964 it seems to coincide with the present pub on the corner of the two streets. I am left with the same problem as I had with the Grafton Arms (see) but in this case the dates do marry up better, the last entry for the Scotsman is 1864 and the first for the King William IV, 1870; whereas the Grafton Arms only has two, the last being 1845. This year coincides with the Scotsman's first date, both in Burgess, but the Grafton is listed under Innkeepers and the Scotsman Beer-Sellers. In 1884 the King William is given a v so has the same type of licence as the Grafton. A past landlord, who has had sight of the King William deeds tells me that the Grafton is mentioned in them, so the Scotsman must be an adjacent beer-shop. The dates for the Scotsman are 1845 to 1864 and the Albion Brewery was established next to the King William in 1864, so the pub could have disappeared then.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
The original Tree of Liberty was an elm that stood in Boston and was a rallying point for disaffected colonists prior to the American Revolution, no doubt here connected with the Radical shoemaker of this Town. This establishment was about three-quarters of the way along the street on the east side. It was tucked away in a back street, one of those pubs you discovered when you were on a pub-crawl and went back to later.
This was one of the three pubs in the town in the 1960s that sold scrumpy, but Bob Lay's was best. When you walked in he was often out of sight around the back somewhere. People would politely stand by the bar and wait for him to appear; you could often hear him shifting things about off-stage. Bob kept a talking mynah bird and its cage was half out of sight behind and along the side of the bar. After a minute or two people would make a slight noise, cough or shuffle their feet, but never tap a coin on the bar, people had manners then. The bird, on hearing this sound would, in a loud and raucous voice call out. Waddya want! Invariably the potential customer would jump, much to our amusement, and look around in vain for the owner of the voice- ordering a drink as they did so. This response would trigger the bird to repeat its phrase, resulting in the customer repeating their order whereupon the bird would repeat... you get the idea. Like everyone else I too was caught on my first visit - in fact, I must confess I was caught more than once and even when I knew what was coming that bird always made me jump.
The earliest entry is for 1852 and the pub went when the area was cleared to build the Grosvenor Centre, around 1970. Bob had the pub to the end and died shortly after he retired; said by some to have been killed by the demolition of what had been his home and livelihood since 1932.
Also: The White Hart
Also: The Mail Coach
Victoria House still stands at the northwest corner of the Square and this establishment stood immediately to the south of it. The author (Taylor) of Glimpses of Old Northamptonshire Signs, NN&Q 1889 says:
Was occupied up to 1823 by Mr. Rawlins of the firm of Rawlins Bros., distillers, Bedford, when the late Mr. Thomas Walker succeeded; he was previously the Bedford carrier. Mrs. Walker remained at the Trooper until 1860, and was followed by Mr. William Swallow, When Mr. Rawlins purchased the property it fetched £700 who was succeeded in February, 1875 by MR. Charles Cooke He left at Lady-day (25th March), 1883. The property now occupied by Mr. William Warwick was sold to Mr. Dulley of Wellingborough, at the Angel, by Messrs. Pierce and Thorpe, on April 18th 1881, for £1840.
Additional information in the Addenda tells us that it was known only as a Messuage or Tenement, i.e. a dwelling until 1750 when it was known as the White Hart and occupied by a John Roe. (There was a John Roe at the White Hart or Roebuck, Drum Lane in 1767, see Shipmans). In 1781 it was occupied by Thomas Hill, and by 1794 it was known as the Mail Coach, sold for £330 and occupied by Henry Spurr. In 1808 Thomas Campion bought it for £350. By 1821 it was the Trooper and bought by John Rawlins, of Bedford, wine merchant, for £640.
The discrepancy between the purchase price in the latter paragraph and Rawlins apparent payment of £700 in the previous is probably accounted for that in the former it says the inn fetched £700, whilst the latter says John Rawlins purchased it for £640. It would seem that John paid another £60 for fixtures, stock etc. Dates run from 1824 to 1904.
There are only two records of this pub, 1858, Henry Stringer and 1864, James Walker. This pub stood on the south side of the street; two doors west of what became the Roebuck. The Roebuck is recorded as being here in 1878, so it could have been here at the same time. It is also recorded in Slater 1862 that a Beer-Retailer called Septimus Jones was at number 27. This meant that three properties in a row could have all been selling beer at the same time, and this could have been the reason for Henry Stringer, moving away to the new location listed below and leaving the pub to James Walker.
We have had two True Blues in town, and they both seem to be connected. The sign, like the True Briton, appear to be references to the names Tories used as signatures to political letters they were fond of writing to newspapers at the time. Other examples are Ancient Briton, North Briton and Generous Briton, none of which were used as pub names in Northampton.
By 1864 Henry Stringer had opened another True Blue at this address and this accounts for James Walker at the previous address adding the word Old. It does not seem to have done James much good as the pub disappears from the directories after 1864. It may have continued for a while for in 1900 this pub added ‘Old’ to its name, perhaps in rivalry?
This establishment was on the south side of the street at the bottom of the road near the Mayorhold. I can remember when working with the Northampton Development Corporation Archaeological Unit in the 1970s on the Green Dragon site taking my level over the road to establish a temporary benchmark. I sited up Bearward Street and saw in faint letters on the first floor of the paper shop the legend, Old True Blue regretfully I didn't take a photograph. Entries are 1864-1907
This, like the previous entry is clearly political, again we have two of them, but this time unconnected.
The location of this pub has caused some difficulty, but was finally resolved in 2002 through other research concerning Victorian Domestic Terraced Street Architecture. I am now certain that it stood on the north corner of the tee junction between Cyril Street and Woodford Street. Dates run from 1878 (about the time this area was being built) to 1958.
This pub stood on the south corner of the junction of Maple Street and Temple Bar, a grand name for a jitty! Dates run from 1878 to 1956.
An untraced inn of the 16th and 17th cents. from the RBN 1898.
The name could have a religious or military meaning. In Numbers X. I. the Almighty commands Moses to make silver trumpets to call an assembly and an assembly is what any landlord would want in his pub! But it probably refers to mail coaches and their post horns.
Considering the street name this could have been a silver trumpet. The pub stood halfway along the street on the south side, by O/S 1938 the area had become a school and now is lost under the development of the area in the 1970s. First as a Beer-Retailer 1845 and the last entry 1910.
This pub was rebuilt in 1935 behind the original, which was then demolished. The earliest reference to it is 1820, but considering its location it could go back a long way and the trumpet referred to here could be a post horn.
WESTON FAVELL STATUTE For Hiring Servants WILL be held at the TRUMPET INN, on Tuesday, the 26th Day of SEPTEMBER. 1820. Dinner at One o'Clock.
Northampton Mercury 9th September 1820
Refer to the entry for: The Malt Shovel
The probable explanation for this sign is the same as for the Saracen's Head, although this pub definitely did not date back to the time of the Crusades. The Turk's Head is also a species of thistle, a cake tin, a type of broom and a complex rope-work knot on a narrow boat.
I think this is probably had the smallest bar I've ever been in. It was a few yards down the street from the Wellingborough Road on the left. As a young man I lived a little further up the road, nearer Abington Park. Sometimes we would do the Welly Road. The first stop would be the Crown & Cushion and the Turk's Head would come sixth. I don't recall the landlord's name, but a friend of mine, Alan Richards tells me it was Bill White whose parents held the licence before him. Bill was a very pleasant chap and if I remember accurately he was an ex-serviceman and completely bald. This alone was a novelty, the only bald man most people knew of in those days was Yul Brinner from the film The King and I; whereas most of us had hair well past our shoulders - nevertheless we were always made welcome.
At the time I thought the pub was two houses knocked together but it proved to be to have been a purpose-built double house. The bar was the size of a normal terraced house front room with the serving area taking up most of the space. There was a bench seat along the front wall and room for a couple of chairs towards the rear. The back room was served through a hatch at the back of the bar. The whole of the other house front and back rooms were one room given over to skittles, darts and a couple of tables.
We always went into the bar and in doing so (there were never more than four of us) completely filled it! We never stopped for long, it was a local and it wasn't ours. The inhabitants were friendly, but we were young and always on the way to somewhere else. So having had a pint or two would say goodbye - for even two extra customers in a pub so small constituted a crush at the bar, the whole room accommodating no more than six to eight persons. Dates run from 1857 to 1936, but the pub closed much later than this, I think about the time the Clearance Orders went out in the 1970s.
This pub was at the top of Newland, on the east side, close to the Lotus shoe factory. Goads Insurance Plan 1899 show this pub as being next door to a factory titled, Turner Bros, Hyde & Co. Boot & Shoe Factory. I think this explains the name and is the first case I've found of a factory having its own tap. Before it was made illegal to pay off workers in a pub this was one way the bosses could claw back some of the wages, so this may explain its existence. Dates run from 1889 to 1932.
Twenty Fives is a card game and the British Banner may have been influenced by the American Banner just up the road. The pub stood on Grafton Square directly opposite the Welcome Inn; all this area was redeveloped in the 1970s. There is a Beer-Retailer called Moore or Moon in Lower Harding Street from 1845 to 1852, but as we have no street numbers we cannot be sure this is the same establishment. In 1858 Joseph Webb is a Beer-Retailer at the address and in 1884 the pub's name is recorded, the last entry is in 1956.
Also: The Clarendon
This is a very ancient sign, often called the Jolly Brewers, it usually depicts two, rotund men in aprons carrying a cask between them on their shoulders, suspended on a pole. In Roman times this was the sign of a vintner and the cask was an amphora.
The Two Brewers is traceable back to 1824. It stood on the north side of Abington Street a few doors west of what is now the entrance of the Grosvenor Centre. It was an establishment of note and probably its most renowned proprietor was Alfred Leoni Clarke who acquired the premises about 1896. Before this he had had a music hall act as the Cat King. I'm not sure if this meant that at one time he worked with big cats but he did have a boxing kangaroo and travelled around the world twice with this act. When the kangaroo died he had it stuffed, bought the pub and displayed it in the bar!
In 1929 the pub was acquired by William John Watson who changed the name to the Clarendon, probably in an attempt to change the clientele (nothing’s new!) I don't know if he succeeded, but the pub closed in 1936. The licence was surrendered to obtain one for the new Spinney Hill pub in the Kettering Road. The last proprietors, the Brightmans, moved with the licence to the Spinney Hill.
Called or known by the name or sign of the two wrestlers, now in the occupation of James Walter, situate and being in the Parrish of St. Sepulchre.
From an Indenture dated 21st December 1724
This is all that is known of this establishment and at the time the whole of the town was divided into four parishes, St. Sepulchre's, St. Peter's, St. Giles and All Saints - St Sepulchre's occupied most of the northern part of the town.