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  • Sally Helm

Top Ten Britain! Unusual Pub Names


The Tup


The Tup boasts being Guildford's foremost rugby and sports pub with 8 TVs, 3 Sky Boxes and live music. Ladies beware --- all that sport and Tup: an uncastrated male sheep.



Dick Turpin

Wickford, Essex

Numerous pubs are named after this well-known and romanticized highwayman including pubs in Newcastle, Bordeaux and Sweden. We picked this one in Wickford, Essex. Such a beautiful pub to be named after a notorious criminal.




Bishopsgate, London

Photo By Ewan Munro from London, UK / Wikipedia

Before the beginning of the 19th century, the pub was called The Old Jerusalem, but the owner William Barker renamed the pub after an infamous resident who owned a warehouse around the corner. The original Dirty Dick, was Richard Bentley, a prosperous city merchant living in the middle of the 18th century, who owned a hardware shop and warehouse, and it said to be the inspiration for Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Bentley had been quite a dandy in his youth, but following the death of his fiancée, he refused to clear up or clean anything, including himself. His house, shop and warehouse became so filthy that he became a celebrity of dirt.

The pub that perpetuates the name and legend was also known as a very dirty place as well and by the end of the 19th century, its owner was producing commemorative booklets and promotional material to advertise the pub. For years it kept cobwebs, dead cats and other disgusting things in the cellar bar, but these have now been tidied and moved to a display case. Now it gets lots of good reviews on Yelp!



Man Loaded with Mischief



Too bad this one has closed. Couldn't find much history . The theme is an old one, of a miserable-looking man laden with a magpie (harbinger of misfortune), a monkey (monkey on your back’) and a gin-swilling wife. There are numerous prints and paintings of this theme. You wouldn't want to be this man. I suppose this was the watering hole this man could go to to get away from his load!



The Jolly Taxpayer


There's not a lot of information online about this pub, but what I did find seemed to be a great local that people enjoy. Also an independently owned pub. Facebook page abandoned. No Yelp. But a few good reviews on Trip Advisor, thank you very much. No time for social media, only good beer and good times.

Photo by graham19492000 on Flickr



My Father's Mustache

Louth, Lincolnshire

My Father’s Mustache describes itself as "a one-of-a-kind eatery serving Old World favorites from an English and Irish background." offering pub atmosphere with darts, billiards, shuffleboard and more. It also looks as if it is a good place for Latin dance lessons. There doesn't seem to be any history to the name, but the pub is lovingly referred to as "the stache"




The Quiet Woman

Earl Sterndale, Buxton, Derbyshire

"Here is a woman who has lost her head. She's quite now --- you see she's dead"

or "Since the woman is quiet, let no man breed a riot"

The name of pubs called the Quiet Woman could be tied to this story of Juthware in Dorset. A good English tale worth a read:



Legend of Oily Johnnies

Winscales, Workington, Cumbria

Previously known as the Royal Oak for around 100 years, Oily Johnnies was given its name after one of the pub's landlords, James Kirkpatrick, who used to sell paraffin oil from a shed adjacent to the pub. He was known as Oily Johnnie. Looks as if the pub has gone a bit posh and reduced the name to just Oilys. Thus we believe loosing some of it's old world charm and yet keeping with the times. One hundred years from now a new generation will be wondering how it got the name Oilys.



The Hung Drawn and Quartered


The Hung Drawn and Quartered takes its name from the traditional punishment dished out to traitors of the realm, often on nearby Tower Hill. A quote from Samuel Pepys, describing how he went to see a man subjected to the punishment ("He was looking as cheerful as any man could in that condition") is on a plaque outside. This actually looks like a high end lovely pub. In fact, next time you're in London you should put it on your itinerary. The food looks delicious!



The Bucket of Blood

Phillack, Cornwall


The Bucket of Blood supposedly gets it's name from an incident hundreds of years ago, when a landlord went to fetch water from the well, but pulled up a pail of blood instead. It turns out that a mutilated body had been dropped down it. No one knows who it was or why.

This Top Ten Britain list was created by Daughters of the British Empire Kansas members! Look for more lists to come!

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