Heathfield & District

Historical Inns of Sussex

A group exploring all the wonderful old pubs and inns in our area.

We meet once a month, on the last Friday. At the lunch, a member of the group will read out what they have discovered about the history of the inn

The intention is that members of the group will take turns organising the next meeting. Each member will only need to do one a year, if that!

Next meeting is on March 27th.

Contact the Membership Secretary by email or on 01435 865626, for anything else about this group

Ancient Inns / Pubs
“Inns, hotels, public-houses of all kinds, have a very ancient lineage”.
Does anyone know when they first began ??
Research indicates and historians believe that around the Roman Conquest, early Britons were not brewing large quantities of wine or beer, or indeed needed hotel type accommodation. These Romans were already used to using inns so when they built their roads across Britain, hostels and drinking-places sprang up alongside.There was the bibulium and the diversoria (inns), together with the postinghouses, known as mansiones (rooms).

The bibulium, was the real ale-house or tavern, where the people boozed to their hearts’ content, these displayed a “bush” sign, in honour of Bacchus - this was garland of flowers, or ivy, or maybe a wreath of vine-leaves wrapped
around a hoop at the end of a projecting pole. This advert of good drink obviously long outlasted Roman times and eventually became called the “alestake” of Anglo-Saxon and mediæval times.

In London, the competition amongst tavern owners with ale-stake signs became so big that they were a serious problem and dangerous. In 1375 a law was passed that all ale-stakes projecting over the King’s highway by “more than seven feet in length …” were fined or compelled to remove them.

During the reign of Edward the Third (1327 to 1377), mention is made of a place called “George-in-the-Hoop” - which was probably a picture or representation of St. George. And there were inns in the time of Henry the Sixth (1422 to 1471) by the name of the “Cock-in-the-Hoop”.

The “ale-stake” is also noted in Chaucer’s tales (first published in 1476), whose “Pardoner” could not commence until he’d quenched his thirst. And the tale begins with three young men drinking, gambling and blaspheming in a tavern, which doesn’t have a happy ending…. !!
Richard Randell
Source: Extracted and summarised from The Project Gutenberg EBook : “The Old Inns of
Old England, Volume I (of 2) A Picturesque Account of the Ancient and Storied Hostelries of Our Own Country.” by Charles G. Harper - see www.gutenberg.org

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More Group Pages
Antiques and Collectables Book Club - Chapter 1
Book Club - Chapter 2 Coffee Mornings
Computing Cooking up a Storm
Down To Earth Drama
European History Exploring London on Foot
French Gardening
Gardening Mayfield Historical Inns of Sussex
Historical Inns of Sussex 2 Mah Jong
Painting & Drawing Rummikub
Science and Technology Stitch and Chat
Studying Japan Views and News
Walking Walking 2
Writing for Pleasure