Here are some of my favourite British pub names that celebrate the more lawless elements of our society!
The Wicked Lady - A pub in No Man's Land, Hertfordshire. named in honour of Lady Kathleen Ferrers, 1634 - 59, who became a highwaywoman at the age of 18. She was shot dead seven years later as she attempted to rob customers leaving the Park Inn. Her story was made into a film in 1945 starring Margaret Lockwood. Dick Turpin also has pubs named after him. Of similar ilk is The Highwayman in Liskeard, Cornwall, named for James Elliott, who was convicted for highway robbery in 1787 and hanged at Bodmin.
The Poacher - There are poachers' inns and poachers' pockets across the country. One sign for the latter shows a man with particularly capacious pockets from which a brace of pheasant are falling.
The Smugglers - A pub in Anstruther, Fife, which was the favourite watering hole of the men who supplied contraband to the Earl of Strathmore. A passage from the inn led directly to their hideout. Smugglers' inns are found in the West Country and across the south coast, including the Smugglers Haunt in Dorset and the Smugglers Roost in Sussex.
The Wreckers - another Cornish speciality, named after those who lit false signals to deliberately lure ships onto the rocks and steal the cargo.
And some of the more obscure:
I Am The Only Running Footman - A pub in London. The running footman was the servant who ran ahead of a carriage, clearing the crowds, paying tolls and carrying a torch at night. By the beginning of the 19th century only one such servant remained in London, working for the 4th Duke of Queensberry. The inn sign shows him in action. Unfortunately I couldn't find a picture of it.
The Poppinjay - Another London pub, built on the site of a 13th century house called The Popyngaye. The Popyngaye was a dummy parrot that was suspended from a pole and used in archery practice.
The Five (or four) Alls - Cheltenham and elsewhere. Dating from the 17th century, this sign usually shows a King "I rule for all," a parson "I pray for all", a lawyer "I plead for all", a soldier "I fight for all" and a labourer "I work for all." At Chepstow the labourer has become John Bull, the everyman, with the cynical caption "I pay for all." We all know how he feels! There was a popular rhyme in the 17th century: "King William thinks all, Queen Mary talks all, Prince George eats all and Princess Anne eats all."
The Flying Bull - a pub in Hampshire where two mail coaches, the Fly and the Bull, called on the London to Portsmouth Run.
Do you have any personal favourites?