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The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain by Ian Mortimer

Author:Ian Mortimer

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Random House

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The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain by Ian Mortimer

Inns

There are ways to secure the best room in an inn, even if it doesn’t have a vacancy. If you turn up late one night and give the impression that you are a wealthy gentleman, then the landlord will find room for you, even if it means waking up someone who is already asleep and asking him to vacate the bed. In June 1668, Mr and Mrs Pepys and their two servants are travelling in rural Wiltshire (having just been to see Stonehenge) when they come to a small inn at 10 p.m. There is a pedlar asleep in the best bedroom. Not for long, though. Soon Samuel and his wife are enjoying the warm space he has vacated, with their servants Will and Betty in a truckle bed in the same room. You can see why the landlord has been so helpful when you look at the bill: Pepys pays 9s 6d for his accommodation, including stabling and fodder for their horses. The pedlar would have paid only a quarter of that.1

You will recognise an inn by its sign: all inns and taverns are required by law to have an identifying emblem clearly displayed.2 For the most part, these are exactly what you would expect: painted wooden boards swinging on an iron bracket above the front of the building, just as in the modern day. They creak in the wind, in true ‘Highwayman’ style. Look carefully, however, and you’ll see the signs are undergoing a revolution. A hundred years ago they all had simple images, such as the King’s Head, the Red Lion, the White Hart, the Crown, the Mitre, the Grosvenor Arms, and so on. The only compound names you’d ever come across would be religious or heraldic symbols, such as the Eagle and Child, the Bear and Ragged Staff and the Rose and Crown. Nowadays it seems every new inn is called by a juxtaposition of two nouns, such as the Crown and Anchor or the Fox and Hounds. There is a trend for bizarre combinations: the Razor and Hen, the Magpie and Crown, the Leg and Seven Stars, the Whale and Crow, and the Shovel and Boat.3 Marketing is the reason for the change. Innkeepers want a distinctive name that stagecoach users and operators will remember. The proprietors who name their premises like this are also giving a signal to prospective customers that their premises are up to date and equipped with all the latest conveniences (such as chamber pots).

 

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The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain by Ian Mortimer

Author:Ian Mortimer , Date: June 7, 2019

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Author:Ian Mortimer

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Random House
Inns

There are ways to secure the best room in an inn, even if it doesn’t have a vacancy. If you turn up late one night and give the impression that you are a wealthy gentleman, then the landlord will find room for you, even if it means waking up someone who is already asleep and asking him to vacate the bed. In June 1668, Mr and Mrs Pepys and their two servants are travelling in rural Wiltshire (having just been to see Stonehenge) when they come to a small inn at 10 p.m. There is a pedlar asleep in the best bedroom. Not for long, though. Soon Samuel and his wife are enjoying the warm space he has vacated, with their servants Will and Betty in a truckle bed in the same room. You can see why the landlord has been so helpful when you look at the bill: Pepys pays 9s 6d for his accommodation, including stabling and fodder for their horses. The pedlar would have paid only a quarter of that.1

You will recognise an inn by its sign: all inns and taverns are required by law to have an identifying emblem clearly displayed.2 For the most part, these are exactly what you would expect: painted wooden boards swinging on an iron bracket above the front of the building, just as in the modern day. They creak in the wind, in true ‘Highwayman’ style. Look carefully, however, and you’ll see the signs are undergoing a revolution. A hundred years ago they all had simple images, such as the King’s Head, the Red Lion, the White Hart, the Crown, the Mitre, the Grosvenor Arms, and so on. The only compound names you’d ever come across would be religious or heraldic symbols, such as the Eagle and Child, the Bear and Ragged Staff and the Rose and Crown. Nowadays it seems every new inn is called by a juxtaposition of two nouns, such as the Crown and Anchor or the Fox and Hounds. There is a trend for bizarre combinations: the Razor and Hen, the Magpie and Crown, the Leg and Seven Stars, the Whale and Crow, and the Shovel and Boat.3 Marketing is the reason for the change. Innkeepers want a distinctive name that stagecoach users and operators will remember. The proprietors who name their premises like this are also giving a signal to prospective customers that their premises are up to date and equipped with all the latest conveniences (such as chamber pots).

Another new way of drawing in guests is the construction of a strikingly elaborate inn sign. The White Hart at Scole, Norfolk, is the benchmark here: its sign is probably the most elaborate ever constructed in England. Built in 1655 by James Peck, a Norwich merchant, it crosses the whole highway and is covered with dozens of the most ornate carvings. It shows biblical scenes, such as Jonah coming out of the whale’s mouth; angels, shepherds and figures from classical mythology, including Bacchus and Cerberus; Prudence, Fortitude, Old Father Time and the coats of arms of many hoped-for patrons.

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