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The Origins Of Some British Pub Names

Pub names have a long and noble history. The sign firstly indicates the trade or profession of the occupants of the building and these signs date back to the roman time which is surprising as most of the population of Britain were illiterate. So they also adopted a visual sign to advertise their trade.

Here is a selection of pub names that you may have drank in??


When James 1 ascended to the throne of England the red lion of Scotland was placed on many public buildings. By calling their pub the Rose and Crown, English innkeepers could proclaim their loyalty to the monarchy and the red rose an English flower reminded everyone of their nationality.


It is thought that this name originated from a reference to the papal bull, the laden seal attached to the pope’s edicts. A bull’s head was introduced into the arms of Henry V111 after he defied the papal bull in 1538, causing the split from Rome and the Church of England.


Most red lions originated from the reign of James 1. James V1 of Scotland had already ordered that the heraldic red lion of Scotland be showed on all vital building which included taverns. But the red lion was already a familiar symbol of England as it had been a personal emblem of John of Grant son of Edward 111 who was a powerful man in England.


While John of Grant was being the most powerful man in England the king at the time was Richard 11, he was rather annoyed that his own authority was being bypassed. So he passed a law forcing London’s tavern owners to hang out his badge, the whit hart. Failure to do so meant the innkeeper “shall forfeit his ale”

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