The Lincoln Imp
This pub is named after the well known ‘Lincoln Imp’ which is the symbol of
the City of Lincoln in Lincolnshire.
According to legend two imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on earth. They ended up at Lincoln Cathedral where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop. When an angel intervened, one of the imps threw rocks whilst the other one submitted. The angel then turned the first imp into stone, but gave the second one the chance to escape. It fled to Grimsby and caused further mayhem at St James Church there. The angel reappeared and thrashed its backside before turning it into stone like his friend at Lincoln. The stone imps can be seen at both churches.
The Lincoln Imp
The Ram Jam Inn
The Ram Jam Inn is an ancient coaching inn on the A1 at Stretton in Leicestershire.
Apparently an 18th century guest at the inn was unable to pay his bill and he offered to show the landlady how to draw two different ales from the same cask as compensation. He drilled a hole in one side of the barrel and asked the good lady to ‘ram’ her thumb into the hole to stop the beer coming out. He then drilled another hole in the other side and invited her to ‘jam’ her other thumb into that hole. Whilst she was safely ‘rammed and jammed’, the guest made good his departure!
The George Hotel
Great curiosity is immediately aroused at the sight of a painting hanging in The George Hotel, at Stamford in Lincolnshire, it is that of one Daniel Lambert, who is said to have been England’s fattest man, who often frequented this his favourite pub in the 19th century.
Daniel Lambert was only 39 years old when he died in 1809 and he was buried in the graveyard of St Martin’s church just opposite the pub at Stamford, where the epitaph on his gravestone reads :
‘ In remembrance of that Prodigy of Nature, Daniel Lambert, a native of Leicester,
who was possessed of an exalted and convivial mind
and in personal greatness had no competitor.
He measured 3ft round the leg, 9ft 4ins round the body and weighed 52 stones 11lbs.
He departed this life on 21st June 1809 aged 39 years.
As a testimony of Respect this stone is erected by his friends in Leicester.’
Lambert was the keeper of Leicester Prison. Apparently he was very fond of a wager and often boasted that he could beat any fit man in a race, provided he had the right to choose the course. The course he always chose was a long narrow passage!
The Beehive Inn
Apart from a chat about Grantham’s famous daughter, the one and only Margaret Thatcher, you can enjoy real honey for tea when you visit The Beehive Inn in Castlegate at Grantham in Lincolnshire; for it has a unique ‘living sign’ - a beehive. Since 1830, the beehive has hung in a tree outside the pub and the bees have produced an average of 30lbs of honey every year. A sign on the pub reads :
‘ Stop traveller this wondrous sign to explore
and say when thou hast view’d it o’er and o’er.
Grantham now two rarities are thine,
A lofty steeple and a living sign.’
The lofty steeple is that of St Wulfram's church, 272ft high, at the end of the street.
The Open Gate Inn
The Open Gate Inn is an ancient hostelry on the A1028 at Ulceby near Alford in Lincolnshire. White gates hung on the façade tell us
“ THE GATE HANGS WELL AND HINDERS NONE REFRESH AND PAY AND TRAVEL ON.” and “ CALL AT THE GATE TO TASTE THE TAP DRINK AND BE MERRY BUT KEEP OFF THE STRAP.”
The Bull and Dog Inn
The Bull and Dog Inn in Southgate, Sleaford in Lincolnshire reminds us of the cruel ‘sport’ of Bull Baiting which was prevalent in former times. A fine old plaque on the pub wall, dated 1689, depicts a bull being baited by a dog. The bull would have been tethered to a metal ring, either in the ground or on a wall and would have been baited by a bulldog, one of the oldest breeds of British dog. This activity was banned by law in 1849 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The Lea Gate Inn
The Lea Gate Inn, an ancient hostelry at Conningsby in the Lincolnshire Fens, recalls a former tollgate here where it was once very important that travellers kept to the turnpike road in the days before the fens were drained. An old iron bracket on the corner of the building was where a beacon light shone at night to guide those travellers. The Inn is thought to be the last surviving guide house in the Fens.
The Abbey Hotel
The fascinating little town of Crowland in the South Lincolnshire Fens, was once an island in the previously inhospitable fens. After perhaps visiting historic Croyland Abbey there, your quiet drink at The Abbey Hotel , may well be disturbed by the sound of someone dragging their feet across an upstairs room. ‘That’ll be old Henry’ the landlord will tell you. Apparently Abbey regular, Henry Girdlestone, a local farmer in 1844, walked 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours to break some sort of record. The story goes that he actually took 1,176 hours to walk 1,025 miles and a bit. No wonder his ghost drags its feet!
Prior to the drainage of the Fens, the main streets of this town were in fact waterways of the River Welland with the buildings standing on various banks. The unique ‘Triangular Bridge’ was built of Ancaster limestone between 1360 and 1390 and replaced a wooden construction. It has three arches but one over arching structure, a 3 in 1 bridge built to facilitate the crossing of the waters of the divided River Welland. As the river now completely by-passes the town, this strange bridge stands on dry land in the town centre and is said to be the greatest curiosity in Britain, if not in Europe. A lone stone figure which adorns the bridge is thought to have been moved from the west front of Croyland Abbey.
The Haycock Hotel
The village of Wansford, situated on the River Nene in Cambridgshire at the junction of the A1 and the A47, is a very pretty village with stone built houses and a very fine stone arched bridge crossing the river. The Haycock Hotel is a lovely old coaching hostelry and its colourful signboard tells a very interesting story…. Passers-by on the bridge one morning were most surprised to see a local rustic floating on the water underneath on a hay- cock. Apparently he had been sleeping on the hay during which time it had been swept away by a sudden flood. “ Where am I?” he shouted, not knowing how long he had been asleep or how far he had travelled on the hay-cock. When told that he was at Wansford the rustic said, “ What, Wansford in England?” The village has been known as ‘Wansford in England’ ever since.
The Ferry Boat Inn
One of the claimants to being the oldest inn in England, The Ferry Boat Inn stands, thatch- roofed and proud, on the banks of the Great Ouse at Holywell near St Ives in Cambridgeshire. Be prepared for a shock when you enter the bar for there is a gravestone set into the floor!
The story goes that more than 1,000 years ago, local girl Juliet Tewsley was spurned by one Thomas Roul, with whom she was smitten. The girl is said to have hanged herself near to the inn and, as a suicide was denied burial in consecrated ground, so she sleeps under the gravestone inside the inn. It is not clear why the grave should be inside but presumably the inn was built over the grave site. It is claimed that on the anniversary of her death, 17th March, she walks in search of her lost love. A good time to capture the spirit of over a thousand years!
The Caxton Gibbet Inn
If ever a pub should be haunted then The Caxton Gibbet Inn an old coaching inn alongside the road between Royston and Huntingdon at Caxton in Cambridgeshire, would be the one. You will have noticed the old gibbet standing starkly outside and you will soon learn that it was last used to hang the son of a previous landlord of the inn. Apparently he murdered three guests at the inn and hid their bodies in a well under the stairs. Maybe not the place to spend the night!
The Swan Inn
Although The Swan Inn at Hoxne in Suffolk has been a pub since the early 17th century, it was originally The Bishop’s Guest House. From Norman times the Bishops of Norwich had a palace in this small village, although there is no trace of the building today. We are told that when the Guest House was built, the upstairs was divided into three ‘apartments’ each with its own staircase! Local gossip has it that all the ‘guests’ were female and this was a place where the clergy could find a little relaxation in female company.
The Swan Inn
To whom I am grateful for the use of his Geograph photograph.