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The tale behind your local

The Fox and Duck, Richmond

What lies behind the name of your local pub?

The Royal Oak, for example, refers to Charles II fleeing from Cromwell's men. He is said to have hid in an oak tree for one day and one night, after which he came down and fled to the continent.

A Royal Oak day was then initiated - commemorated each year - and bars would spring up just for that day, mostly named the Royal Oak.

But what, then, of names like The Eagle and Child, The Swan with Two Necks, The Pickled Parson, or The Bucket of Blood?

We would like to here your favourite - or most obscure - pub names and, if you know, the story behind them.


There's a pub called The Forty Waistcoats in the West End of Glasgow. Robert Hassan, Melbourne, Australia

There is a pub in Tokyo called Bajiri, which means the Horse's Backside. The sign, which hangs over the street, is the rear end of a horse, complete with hind legs and a tail. Charles Pringle, Tokyo, Japan

In Middlesex there are a couple of pubs called The Case is Altered. I've heard this comes from Caze d'Altair in Spain where the Middlesex Regiment won a battle and the officers were granted land as a bonus in Middlesex and some opened inns. Apparently the locals didn't get on with Caze d'Altair, and this evolved to The Case is Altered. Keith Goldsworthy, Bedford

My local is the Tippling Philosopher. It's not a trendy made-up name but the original name given in the early 18th century in honour of the pioneering physicist (and philosopher) Robert Boyle (remember Boyle's law at school?) who lived a mile or two down the road from the pub and who tippled and staggered his way to his local 300 years or so ago.
Howard Pell, Milborne Port near Sherborne, Dorset

Labour in Vain, on the A29, just north of Bognor Regis. A white lady gave birth to a black baby and spent years scrubbing it. This was the name of the Pub until last year when it was refurbished, and in a flurry of political correctness, renamed The Island. It has now joined the 50-a-week failures.
Mike Barnes, Bognor Regis, WSX

The 18th-century novelist Henry Fielding - who knew quite a lot about the inside of pubs - refers to one called the Pelican and Trumpet, which was in Dean Street, London. It seems the most bizarre combination - any ideas what it means?
Linda Bree, Bishop's Stortford

The Case is Altered is one of my favourite cycling pubs near Birmingham (at Hatton, Warks) but which needs explaining. Dating from the Reformation the name comes from the case carried by the Catholic priest which contained an 'altar' with sacraments for holding the Eucharist in the pub or private house. Pubs and Parks are still the best centres of local history, alongside churches - and storytelling and natural history having a revival for people with a strong sense of place.
Tony Fox, Cannon Hill, Birmingham

The Bridge on Wool, aka. The Bridge On. The medieval bridge over the river Camel in Wadebridge is supposed to have been built on bales of wool buried in the very deep silt. These supposedly had buoyancy, whereas an attempt to use stone resulted in these sinking into the silt and failing tp provide support.
Francis Dufort, Wadebridge, Cornwall

A favourite pub of our youth was the Rorty Crankle, but no one ever knew what the name meant. It is a Kentish pub. It has been an on-going mystery, and the pub now is sadly closed. I would love to know the answer as would many fifty-somethings!
Caroline Stevena, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK

Not my local as I live in Normandy, but I understand that the famous Elephant and Castle in London derives its name from a corruption of The Infanta De Castile.
Tony Stansfield, Estry, Normandy

There is a small pub in Hove called 'The Bee's Mouth'. Where does that come from ?
Camilla Dunne, Crawley Down, West Sussex

I was born in the Spanish Patriots pub in Islington London and have not been able to find out why it was so called. The locals just called it the Pats .
Stephanie Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland

Can't remember where it is (Notts/Lincs maybe), but I've seen a pub called The Case Has Altered. Any ideas why it's so called?
Phil Lawrence, Long Eaton, Derbys, England

The Ragged Cat: After closure, the Bournemouth pub has reopened under its original name first used in the 1840s.
Leigh Hatts, London

I remember visiting a pub in Devon, sorry I can't quite remember the name of the village, but the name of the pub was 'Who'd have thought it?' Maybe just registering surprise at finding such a good establishments in the middle of Dartmoor? Nancy Norman, Peebles

Where does the name of the The Blind Beggar in Whitechapel come from?
Michael O'Sullivan, London

Hello, in Earlsfield, SW London, is a tiny little pub called Jack Beards in the Fog. Any ideas why?
David , Meopham, Kent

The Smoking Dog, Malmesbury, Wilts. Has a great picture of a dog enjoying a pipe but no idea where the names comes from!
Sinead Withers

Two odd pub names:

1. The Who'd Have Thought It? in St Dominick, Cornwall. This was one of my father's favourites before WW2 and still has the same name.

2. The Jack of Both Sides - I can't remember where, but in Devon or Cornwall - I think North Devon. Any ideas about these? The origin of the Who'd Have Thought It? has puzzled me for 45 years or more!
Andy Tyacke, Bockhorst, Germany

I don't know the origins of the pub name in the village of Earl Sterndale in Derbyshire, The Quiet Woman; but the old pub sign pictures a woman with no head.
Matthew Parris, Earl Sterndale

Our local is called the Three Blackbirds and I think this refers to the dress of Protestant clergy Is this right?
Chris Winch, Wood Ditton, Newmarket, Sufffolk

A friend opened a pub in Bath near the gas works and recycling depot. He called it the Gas and Garbage. It was very popular in the 70s.
Roger Scotford, Bradford on Avon, UK

I've come across more than one pub called the Littern Tree - and have always wondered what a Littern Tree is. I think I looked it up in a dictionary once, but couldn't get a simple explanation of what a Littern Tree was or why a pub would be called that.
Alan Crawley, Rickmansworth, Herts.

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