Monday, August 1, 2016
Two of the Museum volunteers, Colin and Renee, have been researching the history of the many Inns, Public Houses and Hotels of Bishops Stortford and Thorley over the centuries.
This blog consists of the amusing poem below and an extract from a poem which together cleverly portrays many of the names of the Inns and pubs of Bishops Stortford and also indicate the fate that befell many of these hostelries.
As I rode in from Stansted
The grass still wet with dew,
The breaking dawn had streaked the sky
With RED, WHITE AND BLUE
Twas very early dawn indeed
I heard the distant clocks,
And ambling along Rye-Street
I came upon a FOX.
I didn’t want to hunt just then,
And much to my relief,
That wily fox soon his himself
Behind a big WHEATSHEAF.
By now the light was gaining fast,
The day had quiet begun,
And presently and straight head
I saw the RISING SUN.
A HALF MOON trembled on my left,
When poor old ROBIN HOOD
Cried out that he had lost his maid
And much he feared for good.
I tried to comfort and console
And banish his alarms,
But soon I saw maid Marion
Clasped in the BRICKLAYERS ARMS.
Up Bells Hill I climbed amid
The silence of the dead,
Then peeped around the corner and
Behold a fine BOARS HEAD.
Such fearsome beast should be destroyed,
Of peace of mind their wreckers,
I sought a friend for help, but found
That GEORGE was playing CHEQUERS.
One STAR still held the empty sky
And beckoned me on east,
When on the other end I spied
Another fearsome beast.
“Gadzooks” I cried “It seems that now
My sword I must rely on,”
But no, a harmless beast it was,
A very old BLACK LION.
The SHADES of night had cleared by now,
I busted into Hockerill,
A COCK crowed shrill defiance
But I said to him “be still.”
And now a choice confronted me,
A choice of different courses,
But on the right my was blocked
By a fine COACH AND HORSES.
A WAGGON AND HORSES on the left
Blocking the road I spied,
My only was was straight ahead
So up the hill I plied.
“Oh for a drink at last,” I said,
“Yet beer is barred, I know,”
A draught of milk must be served instead
And here’s a fine RED COW.
My thirst I quenched and hurried on
Though folks were still abed,
Till, when I reached the boundary
I twinned my old NAG’S HEAD
And headed down the hill once more
And singing as I rode,
I struck the fountain once again
And took the London Road.
I heard the screams of trains below,
“A RAILWAY near,” I cried,
But hurried on and in the road
THREE TUNS I quickly spied.
Just here I smelt a funny smell
A tannery no doubt,
And judging by that TANNERS ARMS
His work he was about.
I crossed the bridge and felt the mist
Rising from the rivers bed,
When looking over a gate I saw
A savage OLD BULL’S HEAD.
“This is no place for me” said I,
“Those horns are sharp as skewers”
But racing round the bend, I ran
Into some JOLLY BREWERS.
“Hurrah,” they cried,
“No goose you’ve won
In our great Christmas draw
But here’s a SWAN and such a bird
You never saw before.”
The SWAN into the KING’S ARMS flew,
I followed close behind;
Said I “Please give me back my bird
If you will be so kind.”
The king returned the bird to me,
I set him on the ground,
And if you want him somewhere there
No doubt he can be found.
Now when I came upon the BRIDGE,
A FALCON there I saw
Was plucking at a lovely rose
That lay upon the floor.
I gave him one upon the crown
To reach the wayward elf,
Then left him with his ROSE AND CROWN
To mind his crown himself.
Now back and up the New Town Road
I rode with spirits gay
Because a wonderous ROYAL OAK
Had tempted me that way.
Beneath its boughs I spread my lunch,
I‘d bought a little parcel,
And was content as any king
That lived in any CASTLE.
A maid came up and said to me
“Kind sir are you a lawyer?”
“Why no,” I said “But are you?”
She said “I am a sawyer.”
I gazed upon her arms and hands,
So full of dimpled charms,
And said, “My dear you can’t fool me,
Those are no SAWYER’S ARMS.”
I left her then and took once more
The road to home and dinner,
A black face watched me from above
As I’m a living sinner.
A traveller told me once that all
That Saracens are dead;
But I’ll be much surprised if that
Is not a SARACEN’S HEAD.
I don’t like that at all I thought,
Now here I’ll drop my ANCHOR,
For after home and rest and beer
My soul began to hanker.
Visions of turkey,
Pudding and GRAPES
Caused my dry mouth to water
And galloped off up Potter Street
Much faster than I oughter.
A passer-by said to her friend,
“I think its going to REINDEER
And if I spoil my lovely hat
It will give me quite a pain dear.”
Her hat was green and blue and red
Unfit for winter weathers,
And fastened on the top there waved
A gorgeous PLUME OF FEATHERS.
Well such were my adventures in
Bishop’s Stortford town,
So while I had them in my head,
I thought I would write them down.
(This poem was written by Mr. R.W. Kell, the former landlord of the Half Moon Public House around 1930.)
The following is an extract from a poem composed and recited by the late Mr Nig Newey.
First they closed the CURRIERS,
Then they closed the PLOUGH,
The old CAT AND FIDDLE
And the OLD DUN COW
It is suspected that the old Dun Cow is poetic licence as no pub by this name is recorded.