Pub names were used to identify and differentiate each pub back in the old days hundreds of years ago, when early customers were unable to read but could recognise pictorial signs, according to wikipedia. Pubs or inns could be named after anything, often taking inspiration from animals to alcohol to food to history as well as myths or legends. These 23 of the Weirdest Names of Pubs in England go from The Drunken Duck to The Bucket Of Blood and everything else in between. Have a buzz.
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23. The Jolly Taxpayer, Portsmouth
According to the local area guide, The Jolly Taxpayer boasts “three dartboards – all of which are used! A pool table and television can also be found here.”
22. The Nobody Inn, Doddiscombsleigh, Devon
Aside from being a rather lame pun, this pub takes its name from the unfortunate moment during a former landlord’s wake when his coffin was brought back to an empty pub.
21. Bunch Of Carrots, Hampton Bishop, Hereford
The story behind this strange name? Apparently there is a rock formation nearby that resembles a bunch of carrots. The landlord boasts proudly that this is the only pub in Britain with the word ‘carrots’ in the name. Quite the claim to fame.
20. The Quiet Woman, Earl Sterndale, Buxton
There’s a ghostly tale attached to this. Supposedly, the pub is named after a woman called Juthware who was decapitated in the nearby church by her brother. Her body picked up her severed head and placed it upon the altar before finally dying. And now, inevitably, she haunts the place. But at least she does it quietly.
19. The Cat And Custard Pot, Paddlesworth, Kent
This pub’s other claim to fame, in addition to its weird name, is that it is “Kent’s highest pub”. Supposedly the pub was originally called the Cat And Mustard Pot but some signmaker made a cock-up many moons ago, and the spelling mistake stuck.
18. The Three Legged Mare, High Petergate, York
Not a reference to a lame dobbin. A ‘three-legged mare’ is a medieval term for a gallows that can hang three people at once. There is a replica of such a device in the pub’s garden, so you can muse on pain and cruelty while supping an ale.
17. The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn, Stalybridge, Tameside
Not surprisingly, this is Britain’s longest pub name. By a strange quirk of fate, Stalybridge is also home to the pub with the shortest name…
16. The Q Inn, Stalybridge, Tameside
15. The Hung Drawn And Quartered, London
The Hung Drawn And Quartered is on Great Tower Street, near Tower Hill, which is where in medieval times traitors of the realm were killed, often by that especially brutal punishment of hanging, drawing (being disemboweled) and quartering (being sliced up). Grammar pedants might argue that the pub should be called Hanged, Drawn And Quartered.
14. Poosie Nansie’s, Mauchline, Ayrshire
The poet Robert Burns was supposedly a regular visitor to this pub, the name of which sounds considerably less silly when you say it in a Scottish accent.
13. The Swan With Two Necks, Newcastle
There are actually a handful of pubs in Britain with this name. The origin is slightly convoluted. Elizabeth I once gave some swans away, to some people who then marked the swans with two “nicks”. Somewhere along the way this got corrupted, and nicks became necks.
12. The Case Is Altered, Pinner, Middlesex
A number of pubs share this name. It’s a reference to a play, first performed in 1609, by Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare’s.
11. The Skiving Scholar, Plymouth
An unusual name, but an apt one: its situated right outside the main Plymouth University campus.
10. The Pyrotechnists Arms, London
An old man’s boozer in Nunhead, known to locals as “The Pyro”. According to a regular: “An old bloke used to play a mandoline outside and sing rude songs. That was about 1938.
9. I Am The Only Running Footman, London
The name of this Mayfair pub was decided in the late 19th Century, at a time when the job of footman – someone who walked/ran in front of a horse-drawn carriage, acting as a guide – was dying out. One of the last ones bought a pub to cater for his old footman friends.
8. The Drunken Duck, Ambleside, Cumbria
The story behind this one is quite cute: the landlady one day found all of her ducks dead in the yard. Unaccustomed to waste, she plucked them ready for cooking. As she finished, the ducks began to revive and a search of the yard revealed a leaking beer barrel surrounded by webbed footprints. She was apparently so contrite that she knitted little jackets until their feathers grew back.
7. The Bull And Spectacles, Blithbury, Staffordshire
In the 19th Century this pub went by the more formulaic name of the Bull’s Head. Nobody knows why it was changed.
6. The Gate Hangs Well, Syston, Leicester
Surprisingly, not the only pub with this name. There is also a Gate Hangs Well in Redditch, Worcestershire.
5. The Goat And Compasses, Hull
Supposedly this is a corruption of the scriptural phrase “And God encompasses us all.”
4. The Legend Of Oily Johnnies, Winscales, Cumbria
Once upon a time this pub was called The Oak Three, but the landlord changed it in honour of a regular patron called Johnnie, who used to sell paraffin oil on the premises.
3. Brown Edge, St Helens, Merseyside
This is slightly less odd when you realise that Brown Edge is the name of a village. Intriguingly, there was once a pub elsewhere in Brown Edge called The Unhinging Of Doors, though it no longer exists.
2. My Father’s Moustache, Louth, Lincolnshire
The owners of this pub don’t seem to think there’s anything unusual about the name. They don’t mention it on their website, though they do claim to offer “top quality pub food.”
1. The Bucket Of Blood, Hayle, Cornwall
The name refers to a supposed incident that took place 200 years ago, when the landlord went to draw water from the local well, and drew up a bucket filled with blood instead. A mutilated corpse was found at the foot of the well.
See The Slaughtered Lamb in A Little Waldorf in Ardens