Derivation of Leicestershire and Rutland Public House Names - Herraldry, Colours and Numbers -


Animals in Heraldry -

Antelope / Deer / Hart / Hind / Stag / Buck

                           denote peace and harmony

Bear                   denotes strength, Cunning and ferocity in protection

Bee                     denotes efficient industry

Boar                   denotes bravery

Boar's Head       denotes hospitality

Bull / Buffalo       denotes valour, bravery and generosity

Cock                  denotes courage and perseverance

Crane / Storl      denote a close parental bond

Dog / Greyhound / Talbot

                           denote courage, loyalty and vigilance

Dolphin              denotes swiftness, diligence, salvation. charity and love

Dove                  denotes loving constancy and peace

Dragon / Wyvern   denote valour and protection

Duck / Goose     denote resourcefulness

Eagle                  denotes strength, bravery, alertness and immortality

Spread Eagle     an eagle with its wings spread was an emblem used by the Romans which spread throughout Europe in heraldry during and

                            following the Crusades denoting protection.  A number of families in the British nobility have adopted the device of a 'Spread                                     Eagle' since those times.

Double Headed Eagle     denotes the conjoining of two forces or families

Elephant             denotes great strength, longevity, happiness, royalty, good luck and ambition

Falcon                  denotes one who does not rest until objective achieved

Fish                      denotes truth, virtue and spiritual nourishment

Fox                       denotes wit and wisdom

Griffin                  denotes valour and vigilance

Hedgehog           denotes a provident provider

Horse                  denotes readiness

Horseshoe          denotes good luck and safeguard against evil spirits

Lamb (& fleece)  denote honour and gentleness

Lion                     denotes bravery, courage, ferocity, valour, strength and royalty

Ostrich                denotes obedience and serenity

Ox                       denotes valour and generosity

Peacock             denotes beauty, power and knowledge

Pelican                denotes self sacrifice and a charitable nature

Pheasant            denotes resourcefulness

Phoenix              denotes rebirth and immortality.

                            Heraldically, the Phoenix is associated with the Seymour family, Dukes of Somerset.

Pig                      denotes fertility

Swan                  denotes poetic harmony and learning

Tiger                   denotes fierceness and valour

Unicorn               denotes extreme courage, virtue and strength

Wolf                    denotes perseverance and industry


Colours -

In the heat of battle, it has always been essential to identify your own troops, and the use of coloured banners of flags was widespread.

This practice was refined over time and developed into the organized methods of heraldry in which different colours were aligned to particular human qualities.  Today, heraldic coats of arms incorporate a range of 7 standard colours (together with occasional other 'prper', natural colours).

So, the combination of landowners coats of arms and (because of the general illiteracy of the populace) the need for visual rather than written signage, colour became an important element within the development of inn signs, indicating either an allegiance to a particular family or to advertise that the premises and landlord provided better services. 


Black (sable)       denotes knowledge, piety, constancy, serenity and work

Red (gules)          denotes nobility, boldness, ferocity and magnanimity

Green (vert)        denotes hope, joy, youth, beauty and loyalty

Blue (azure)        denotes truth, piety, sincerity, loyalty and chastity

White (argent)     denotes peace, serenity, innocence and purity

Gold (or)              denotes glory, generosity, constancy and elevation of the mind

Purple (purpure)  denotes justice, temperance and sovereignity


Other prefix colours include -

Dun -

refers to the dun gene which affects pigment in the coats of a number of animals (horses, cattle, cats etc.) to lighten the base body coat and gives a classic colour of grey-gold or tan.


Pied or piebald -

a 'pied' or 'piebald' animal is one which has a random pattern of normally pigmented hair (usually black) together with areas of unpigmented hair (usually white).


Blue -

the influence of the Manners family on the names of public houses in Leicestershire and Rutland is evident, where, in order to show their allegiance to the Whigs (Liberal Party), many of the inns which the family bought or controlled, added the word 'Blue' as a prefix.


Numbers -

One -

there are two public houses in this database which include the number 'one' in theri name, both named 'Lloyd's No. 1' - one in Market Place, Leicester, the other in Loughborough.


Two -

The now demolished 'Two Triangles' on Kerrial Road, New Parks, is the only public house in this database which uses the prefix 'two' in its name.

Two Triangles refers to the six pointed Star of David.


Three -

three is the most common number used as a prefix in public house names, and usually signifies a link to a London Livery Company or Trade Guild, but also relates to the coats of arms of many families in British heraldry.

There are 45 examples of public houses using 'three' within their names in this database.


Four -

there are three public houses in this database which include the number 'four' in their name - 'O'Neill's' on Loseby Lane was, for a short time, called the 'Fourpence & Firkin', reflecting the ancient practice of the paying of the yearly rent by a damask rose and four pennies, the 'Vin IV' on King Street and the 'Original Four', one reincarnation of the 'Leicester City Council Staff Club'.


Five -

there is only one public house in this database which includes the number 'five' as a prefix in its name - 'Five Bells' (Ryhall) - named to mark that the nearby church had a peel of five bells.


Six -

there are three public houses in this database which include the number 'six as a prefix in their names -

'Six Bells' (Bottesford) - this probably relates to church bells in the vicinity of the public house.

'Six Hills International Hotel' (Six Hills) - as there are no hills at Six Hills, the name is thought to be a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon word 'segs' or 'seggs' meaning sheep.

'Six Packs' (Market Harborough) - a reference to the number of local foxhound packs.


Seven -

there are four public houses in this database which use the number 'seven' as a prefix in their names -

'Seven Oaks' (Friday St) - which is self-explanetary.

'Seven Stars' [3] (Upper Brown St) / (Loughborough) / (Osgathorpe) - there are differing theories for the origin of 'Seven Stars' as a public house name, including the star grouping called the 'Plough' in the constellation Ursa Major and a biblical reference in the Book of Revelations, but it may simply be that, in England, 'seven' has always been considered a lucky number, and that a 'star' was a very simple image to display on onn signs.


Eight -

there are three public houses in this database which use the number 'eight' as a prefix in their names -

'Eight Bells' [3] (Bedford St) / (Uppingham) / (Melton Mowbray) -

historically, time on board ship has been marked by the ringing of bells.  A 24 hour day (midnight to midnight) was divided into six, four hour 'watches', with the afternoon 'dog watch' sub-divided into two, two hour stints.  Bells were rung to mark each passing half-hour, increasing as the hours passed, and therefore. 'eight bells' always marked the end of a' watch'.

'Eight Bells' became a popular public house name with sailors who took to the trade after ending their nautical careers.


Ten -

there is only one public house in this database which uses the number 'ten' as a prefix in its name - '

'Old Ten Bells' (Sanvey Gate) - this relates to the peel of bells from 10 different churches in the vicinity of the public house.

The most famous 'Ten Bells' is the one on the corner of Commercial Street and Fournier Street in Spitalfields, London, where two victims of Jack the Ripper (and perhaps even Jack himself) drank.'


Twelve -

there is only one public house in this database which uses the number 'twelve' as a prefix in its name -

'12 Degrees West' (Loughborough)


There are sixteen other drinking establishments in this database with numerals in their names -

the '1852 Brewing Co.' on Station Road, Wigston

'Bridge 61' - being the former 'Foxton Locks Inn'

'Bar Zero' - being one reincarnation of the former 'Golden Fleece' in Loughborough

'Bar 21' - being one reincarnation of the former 'Rose & Crown' in Loughborough

'Bar 32' - being one reincarnation of the former 'Old Grey Horse Inn' in Loughborough

'Bar 66' - being one reincarnation of the former 'Freemasons Arms' on Braunstone Gate

'Junction 23' - being one reincarnation of the former 'Sea Around Us' in Loughborough, which refers to the proximity of junction 23 on the M1

'Lock 42' - a music bar located on Frog Island as a replacement for the closed 'Charlotte' in 2010

'Manhattan 34' - an American inspired cocktail bar on Rutland Street, named to commemorate the ending of prohibition in 1934

'Nine Bar' - a one room bar on Narborough Road

'Pi Bar' - a bar on the corner of Narborough Road and Norman Street named and signed with the symbol and value of the the 16th letter of           the Greek alphabet used as a mathematical constant expressing the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

'Tap at No. 76' - simply the name reflecting the address in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

'34 Windsor Street' - simply the name reflecting the address in Burbage

'33 Cank Street' - simply the name reflecting thea ddress in the City centre

'45 West' and '45 St. Martins' - two City centre bars set up by the 45 West Distillery in Nanpanton

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