The Folklore of British Pub Names
An enchanting guide to the stories and legends behind Britain's traditional pub names.
From the King and Tinker, named after a traditional tale where a disguised monarch surprises a local craftsman, to the Eagle and Child, commemorating ‘the Lathom legend’, many British pub names and signs are steeped in local legends and ancient beliefs.
In this book, one of the UK’s leading folklorists explores the stories behind the names, showing where they originated and tracing how they have evolved over the years. In the process, she retells the dramatic tale of local Wiltshire hero Rattlebone, describes the centuries-old custom that gives its name to the Silver Ball in St Columb and reveals why the Green Man is sometimes depicted as a club-wielding giant with a girdle of leaves, and sometimes as a Robin Hood figure. Not only that, she also explains why you seem to be able to find a Red Lion, a Queen's Head or a White Horse in every part of the country, and why the recent fashion for apparently meaningless combinations involving slugs, toads, parrots and firkins actually has a precedent in history.
Enlightening and revealing, Green Men and White Swans is both an intriguing insight into the history of the British pub and a captivating journey through the country's legendary past.
“If you've ever wondered how pubs got their often esoteric names then dipping into Green Men & White Swans should provide enlightenment”
“An engaging and inquisitive narrative voice ... As well as being an enjoyable account of local English folklore and history, the book provides an insight into the more esoteric behaviour that characterises English eccentricity”
“In this enjoyable compendium, Simpson, a folklore expert, elucidates hundreds of mysterious pub names”
“This book is both an intriguing insight into the history of the British pub and a captivating journey through the country's dramatic past”