Derivation of Leicestershire and Rutland Public House Names - Royalty


Albert (Inn) Hotel [1] / Albert Inn [1] / Prince Albert [1] -

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-61) (later 'Prince Consort'), was the husband of Queen Victoria.  Born in Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, he was first cousin to Victoria.  They married in 1840 and had nine children.  He died in 1861, diagnosed with typhoid fever, but because of increasing illness over a number of years leading up to his death, this is now questioned.


Anne of Cleves [1] -

The house, in Melton Mowbray, was built around 1327 for chantry priests of the Cluniac Order who served

the parish between the 12th and 16th centuries, but became the 'Anne of Cleves House' after 1540 when

the building was included as part of the marriage annulment settlement between King Henry VIII and his

fourth wife, Anne. 


Anne of Cleves

(portrait by Hans Holbein c1539)

Black Boy [4] / Black Boye [1] -

The origins of 'Black Boy' as a public house name vary, with one possible route spanning back to the taverns

and coffee houses of the 17th century, where the reference was to the fashionable habit of the rich to employ

a negro pageboy or servant.

During the 19th century, pub signs changed to show the black boy as a young chimney sweep, common at

the time.

However, the most likely origin for the 'Black Boy' is King Charles II.  He was crowned in 1660 as the first

Monarch of the Restoration after Cromwell's Interregnum, and because of his swarthy complexion (gained

from his Medici Grandmother), was nicknamed the 'Black Boy' by his Royalist supporters during the Civil War.

King Charles II

(portrait by John Michael Wright c1662)

Clarence Hotel [2] / Clarence Inn [1] -

The 'Duke of Clarence' is a title first created in the peerage of England in 1362 and in public house terms usually refers to King William IV before he became King, when he was the Duke of Clarence.  He reigned between 1830-37, and, having served in the Royal Navy, became known as the 'sailor King'.

Another notable Duke of Clarence was George Plantagenet (1449-78), who, found guilty of treason against his brother King Edward IV, was reputably drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.


Coronation Hotel [1] -

The 'Coronation Hotel' on Catherine Street was built in 1937 to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.


Crown [25] / Crown Inn [17] / Old Crown [3] / Old Crown Inn [3] / Little Crown [1] / New Crown [1] / Crown Hotel [2] / Crown Tavern [1] / Crown & Cushion [7] -

'Crown' has always been a popular name applied to pubs to indicate a loyalty to the crown, and although many were either forced to close, or change their name, during Cromwell's Interregnum, the name soon became popular again after the Restoration.

There are also many instances where pubs with a single original name added 'Crown &' after some sort of royal patronage or event.

'Crown & Cushion' is simply an acknowledgement of the carrying of the crown on a cushion at a Coronation ceremony.

Crown & Anchor [6] -

In pub name history, 'Anchor' has been used both for its religious symbolism and its naval association, but since a crown and anchor was adopted as the badge of the Royal Navy, many 'Anchor' and 'Crown & Anchor' named pubs originated where retired seamen became licensees.

Crown & Compass [1] / Crown & Dolphin [1] / Crown & Magpie [1] / Crown & Plough [2] / Crown & Sceptre [1] /

Crown & Thistle [6] / Rose & Thistle [1] -

The names 'Crown & Thistle' and 'Rose & Thistle' refer to the unification of the English and Scottish Parliaments in 1707, (after the accession of King James VI of Scotland to King James I of England in 1603), so taking a further step towards the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain'.


Bell & Crown [1] -

'Bell & Crown' signs simply represented the fact that Royal occasions were always celebrated with the peel of church bells.

Rose & Crown [21] / Rose & Crown Hotel [1] -

The rose and crown has been a symbol of the British Monarchy since the end of the War of the Roses, when the white rose of the House of York and the red rose of the House of Lancaster were combined in the red and white rose emblem of the Tudor dynasty.

Red Rose [1] -

Symbol of the House of Lancaster.

Three Crowns [12] / Three Crowns Inn (Hotel) [1] / Three Crowns Family Hotel (Crown's Temperance Hotel) [1] -

Public houses named the 'Three Crowns' usually refer to the union of the three crowns of England, Scotland and Hanover which was effected  by the accession of King George I in 1714.  However, public houses named the 'Three Crowns' before that date either refer to the arrival of King James VI of Scotland into England where he became King James I in 1603, or that three is the number traditionally associated, in heraldry, with the development of Trade Guilds and Worshipful Companies.  Three crowns being the coat of arms of the 'Worshipful Company of Drapers' which received its first Royal Charter in 1364 under King Edward III.


Dominion Inn [1] -

Dominions were the realms and territories under the sovereignty of the British Crown.  The word originated in 1535 to cover Wales.  In modern times the word has been gradually replaced by 'Commonwealth', except for Canada where 'Dominion' remains within the countries legal title.


Egyptian Queen (Queen) [1] -

The Royal dynasties of Egypt can be traced back over 7,000 years, and in a society which treated women as the equal of men, there were numerous Queens who ruled in their own right.  Perhaps the most famous being Cleopatra (69-30BC) who reigned between 51-30BC.


Empire Hotel [1] -

In the 19th century, under Queen Victoria, the British Empire grew to become the largest Empire the World had ever seen, but the wars and economic times of the 20th century saw a steady decline with the independence of India in 1947 signalling the end of Empire.


Feathers (Prince's Feathers) [1] -

In public house terms, 'feathers' is usually a reference to the plume of three ostrich feathers first adopted as a crest by the Black Prince, Edward Prince of Wales (1330-76).


Fleur-de-Lis Inn [1] -

The styalised symbol 'Fleur-de-Lis' historically has a number of differing meanings.

Generally accepted as the 'flower of the lily', the 'Fleur de Lis' is, more probably a styalised representation of an iris.  The name in German for the wild iris ('yellow flag' or Iris pseudacorus) is 'Lieschblume', but was, in the middle ages, invariably written as 'Lies' or 'Leys', transferring to France as 'Lis'.

The earliest symbol recognizable as a 'Fleur'de'Lis' can be found on Assyrian bas-reliefs from the third millenium BC, but is perhaps most associated with the French monarchy.  It signified 'perfection; light and life', and it was either King Louis Vi or Vii (sources vary) who was the first Monarch to use a 'Fleur-de-Lis' symbol on his shield.  English Kings began using the same symbol to show their own claims to the French throne.

It became a popular emblem during the 14th century and was one of the original symbols used to develop the hierarchical heraldic system.

The Catholic Church also used the 'Fleur-de-Lis' symbol.  The three petals representing the Holy Trinity with the horizontal band tying them together representing the Virgin Mary.


George [14] / George Inn [2] / George Hotel [2] / Old George [1]


George III [4] / Royal George [2] / Royal George Hotel [1] -

King George III (1738-1820) had a passionate interest in gardening and

agriculture and was affectionately known as 'Farmer George'.

His long reign (1760-1820) saw Britain move from a farming economy into the

industrial revolution and also saw many years of conflict in both the colonies and

in Europe.

Suffering ever increasing mental problems, George died blind, almost deaf and

increasingly incoherent, in January 1820, aged 81.

Queen Charlotte [1] -

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818) was Queen Consort to King

George III.  They bore 15 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood.

George and Charlotte played a significant part in the development of Kew

Gardens, living from 1781 in Kew Palace until Charlotte's death in 1818.

Originally known as the 'Dutch House', the palace is now owned by the

'Department of Works' and open to the public.

King George III (portrait by

Thomas Gainsborough 1781)

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strlitz

(portrait by Allan Ramsey 1762)

George IV [2] -

King George IV (1762-1830) led an extravagant lifestyle and was often in debt.

He became King, in 1820, at the age of 57, by which time he was obese and addicted to

laudanum.  He went on to suffer from gout, artenosclerosis, cataracts and the disease

which many of his forbears had suffered from - porphyria.

The most obvious legacy of his reign is the 'Brighton Pavilion', an exotic and eclectic mix

of a building, designed by John Nash, and built on land bought by the King for the 

development of a palace retreat away from London when seawater was prescribed as

relief for his gout.

With regard to public house names, 'King George IV' is more usually represented as the

'Prince Regent'.

Prince Regent [2] -

The title 'Prince Regent' was given to George Augustus Frederick (1762-1830), son of

George III (and the future King George IV), in 1811 when his father's insanity made it

difficult for the King to carry out his duties.

         King George IV

(caricature by Gillray 1792)

Imperial Hotel [1] / Imperia Temperance Hotel [1] -

The 'Imperial Hotel' on St. Saviours Road was opened and named in the 1880's to commemorate Queen Victoria's expanding Empire.


King [1] / King's Hotel [1] / King's Arms [11] / Old King's Arms [1] / King & Crown [1] / King's Head [18] / King's Head Hotel [1] -

lThe first 'King's Head' shown on pub signs was Henry VIII, but many others have been portrayed since.


King Richard III [2] / Richard III [1] -

King Richard III (1452-85) was the last King of the House of York, dying in battle at

Bosworth Field after only two years on the throne.

After the battle Richard's body was returned to Leicester and buried in the Choir of

Greyfriars Friary which occupied a site against the South wall of the medieval town.  

The Friary was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1538, being demolished shortly afterwards.

A mansion (for the Herrick family) was built on the site some 70 years later.  

This, itself, being demolished in the mid 18th century to be replaced by Georgian town

houses.  During the 20th century these were converted into offices, with new units and a

car park being added.  An archeological dig (in the car park) in 2012 excavated a skeleton

and subsequent carbon dating and DNA testing against descendents of the Monarch

showed the bones indeed to be those of King Richard III.  The skeleton showed a

number of wounds including a major head wound thought to be the cause of death.




White Boar (Blue Boar) [1] / Blue Boar [1] -

The 'Blue Boar' which was on the corner of Blue Boar Lane and Highcross Street, is best known for its association with King Richard III.

From medieval times, the pub had been named the 'White Boar', which was the heraldic emblem of the House of York.  On Tuesday 16th August 1485, King Richard III arrived in Leicester on route to fight the Lancastrians during the War of the Roses.  Leicester Castle was so dilapidated, that Richard chose to stay at, what was at the time, the principal inn in Leicester - the 'White Boar'.  He spent the next night at Elmesthorpe and then marched to Stapleton, where he camped for several days.

Having slept at the 'Three Tuns' in Atherstone on the 20th, he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth on the 22nd.

The body of Richard was bought back to Leicester and buried in the Choir of Greyfriars Friary in the vicinity of the parish church of St. Martin's.

It has been said that the remains of Richard, on their arrival in Leicester, exposed to public view in the Town Hall, but this may have been in the Newarkes.  However, it is certain that they were interred in the Greyfriars Choir and that King Henry VII caused an alabaster monument to be erected near them.  This was destroyed during the dissolution.  After his bones were cast into the river close to Bow Bridge, the stone coffin' which contained the remains of the King, was dug up, and it has been conjectured, was used for a long period as a drinking trough for cattle, outside the 'White Horse' on Gallowtree Gate.  

(Note - this part of the story was shown to be myth with confirmation that the skeleton found in an archeological dig on the site of the original Greyfriars Friary, were, in fact, those of King Richard III).

Richard had been defeated by Henry Tudor, (subsequentl King Henry Vii), whose chief supporter was the Earl of Oxford.  His heraldic emblem was a blue boar, and, with the news of the Lancastrians victory over the Yorkists, and Richard's death, many pubs named 'White Boar', including the one in Leicester, re-painted their signs and re-named themselves 'Blue Boar'.


Richard's portable bed had been left at the pub in Leicester, and, during thr reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Agnes Clarke, wife of landlord Thomas, whilst moving the bed, discovered a quantity of gold coins which had been concealed in the bed.  Suddenly rich, Thomas Clarke became Mayor of thr Town, and although his wife survived him, she, herself became a victim of her servants, who, in 1613, robbed and murdered her.  They, themselves, were soon caught, tried, found guilty and burnt at the stake.

The bedstaed was repeatably sold, but does not appear to have been removed from Leicester until about the year 1797, when it is presented, as an object of great curiosity, to Thomas Babington Esq. of Rothley Temple by his relative, the Rev. Matthew Drake Babington, whose property it became on the death of his maternal grandfather, Mr. Alderman Drake.

The bedstead still resides at Rothley Temple.

Bow Bridge Inn [1] -

On his way to Bosworth, Richard III crossed Bow Bridge out of Leicester, and legend has it that his spur struck the stone bridge as he passed.  An old woman standing close by prophesised that it would be his head which would strike the same spot on his return, and so it was when his dead body, slung across a horse, did precisely that.

The old bridge was demolished in 1861 and was replaced by an iron bridge which includes panels incorporating both the white rose and the white boar emblems of the House of York.


King William III [1] -

King William III (1650-1702) reigned as King of England, Scotland and Ireland between 1689 and 1702

(note - in Scotland he ruled as King

William II).  Born in the Hague, he was the son of William II of Orange and Mary Stuart, daughter of King

Charles I of England.

He became a central figure in the Protestant / Roman catholic conflicts between England, France and the

Netherlands, securing the crown with victories over James in Ireland at Londonderry in 1689 and at the River

Boyne in 1690.



                         King Richard III

(portrait by unknown artist and excavated skull)

King William III

(portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller c1680)

King William [3] / King William IV [11] / William IV [8] -

King William IV (1765-1837) was the third son of King George III.  He joined the

Royal Navy at the age of 14 and although he eventually became Admiral of the

Fleet, he was continually disobedient and was never allowed to command a ship.  

He was outspoken and not particularly popular with the public, but came to be be

known as the 'Sailor King'.

Nautical William [1] -

'Nautical William' was King William IV (1765-1837), known as the 'Sailor King'.

Queen Adelaide [1] -

'Queen Adelaide of Saxe Meiningen' (1792-1849) was the Queen Consort of

King William IV.

King William IV

(portrait by Martin Archer Shee 1833)

             Queen Adelaide

(portrait by William Beechey 1831)

Last Plantagenet [1] -

There is always a debate as to who, actually, was the 'Last Plantagenet'.

King Richard II (1367-1400) was the eigth Plantagenet to become King of England.  He was deposed (in 1399) by another Plantagenet, King Henry IV, who however, was a descendant of the cadet branch of the family which had divided earlier to form the House of Lancaster.

After three reigns of House of Lancaster monarchs, the other cadet branch of the family, the House of York, succeeded to the throne (in 1461) under King Edward IV.

The third House of York monarch, King Richard III was the last descendant of the Plantagenet family to become King and although his death at the Battle of Bosworth saw the Tudors take the English throne, the male line of Plantagenets continued until 1499, when the actual 'last Plantagenet', Edward, Earl of Warwick, who, because of his claim to the throne, had been kept prisoner (by King Henry VII) since Richard's death, was be-headed at the Tower of London.


Merry Monarch [1] -

King Charles II (1630-85) was known as the 'Merry Monarch'.  He is also the most likely candidate for the derivation of public houses named the 'Black Boy'.


Prince Alfred [1] -

Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1900) was the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria

and Prince Albert.

In 1867 he became the first British Prince to visit Australia, a visit which lasted almost five months, during

which he suffered an assassination attempt.  In Sydney, in March 1868, he was wounded in the back by a

shot fired by Henry James O'Farrell, an anti-Royalist Irishman who had been released from a lunatic asylum

only shortly before the assassination attempt.  Despite pleading insanity, O'Farrell was found guilty, and

despite calls for clemency by Prince Alfred, he was hanged two months later.

Prince Alfred

(unknown photograph 1888)

Prince Leopold [1] -

The Prince Leopold alive at the time the 'Prince Leopold' public house on Welford Road came into being was Prince Leopold (1853-84), fourth son of Queen Victoria.  Diagnosed with haemophilia in childhood, he died aged 30.  He also held the titles of the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Clarence, which became popular public house names at the time.

However, it is more likely that the pub name refers to Leopold I of Belgium, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1790-1865), who was the husband of Princess Charlotte of Wales, who may also be commemorated in Leicester by the 'Princess Charlotte' on Southgates.


Prince of Prussia [1] -

At the time this public house on Lower Hill Street is first listed in 1864, there are two Princes of Prussia - father Albert (1809-72) and son, also Albert (1837-1906).  Both rose to a high rank in the Prussian Army.


Prince of Wales [13] -

The title 'Prince of Wales' originated around 1165 with Owain Gwynedd.  It has evolved to become the title

granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch.

In public house terms the name became popular in the 19th century due to Edward (1841-1910), eldest son of

Queen Victoria, who later became King Edward VII

Edward, Prince of Wales

(unknown photograph)

Princess Charlotte (Charlotte) [1] -

The Princess Charlotte alive at the time the 'Princess Charlotte' public house on Southgates came into being

was Princess Charlotte, Princess Royal (1766-1828), eldest daughter of King George III, but it is more likely

that the pub name refers to Princess Charlotte of Wales (1796-1817), the only child of George, Prince of

Wales (later King George IV) and Caroline of Brunswick.

Charlotte of Wales was very popular with the public and her death in childbirth at the age of 21, in 1817,

attracred a huge reaction including a period of public mourning when businesses and shops across the

country closed for over a fortnight.

She was married to Leopold I of Belgium, who may also be commemorated in Leicester by the 'Prince

Leopold' public house on Welford Road.

Princess Charlotte

(portrait by George Dawe 1817)

Queen [2] / Queen's Inn [1] / Queen's Arms [1] / Queen's Hotel [5] / Queen's Head [25] / Old Queen's Head [1] / Queen's Head Hotel [1] -

Queen Elizabeth I was the subject of early signs, but she objected to the way many signs represented her and in 1563 a Royal proclamation was issued forbidding signs unless they followed an approved example.  'Queen's Head' signs since have diversified to cover various other Queens.


Queen of Bradgate [1] / Lady Jane [1] -

ady Jane Grey (1537-54) was (probably) born at Bradgate House in Bradgate Park, the estate of the Grey

family and the Earls of Stamford.

She was used as a pawn in the machinations of Tudor England, being installed as Queen on the death of her

cousin King Edward VI in 1553.  This was in order to maintain a Protestant monarch over the rightful Catholic

heir, Mary, Edward's half sister.  However, her reign lasted only 9 days when Mary and her followers rode into

London and imprisoned Jane in the Tower.

Jane and her husband, Guildford Dudley, were tried and found guilty of treason and with the failure of the

Wyatt Rebellion led by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Jane's father Henry Grey, she was be-headed on Tower

Green on 12th February 1554.

Lady Jane Grey

(portrait by unknown artist)

Queen Victoria [3] / Queen Victoria the First [1] / Queen and Rights of People [1] / Victoria [4] /

Victoria Arms [1] / Victoria Hotel [1] / Victoria Commercial Hotel [1] /

Victoria Commercial Temperance Hotel [1] / Victoria Temperance Hotel [1] -

Alexandrina Victoria (1819-1901) became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1837,

at the age of 18.  She married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, eventually

having nine children.  She became Empress of India in 1876, becoming ruler of the largest Empire the world

had ever seen., and died in 1901 having served as Queen for over 63 years.

Victoria Jubilee Hotel [1] / Jubilee [1] -

Named to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887.

Diamond Jubilee [1] -

Named to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Braunstone Victoria WMC [1] -


Queen Victoria & Prince Albert

(photograph by Roger Fenton 1854)

Regency Hotel [1] / Regent Club [1] / Regent Wharf [1] / Royal Hotel [2] / Royalist [1] -

The 'Regency' period was between 1811-20 when King George III, due to poor health, was unable to carry out his duties, and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy, the Prince Regent, going on to become King George IV on the death of his father.


Rising Sun [2] -

The 'Rising Sun' was an heraldic symbol used by both King Edward III and King Richard III.


Royal [1] / Royal Arms [1] / New Royal Arms [1] / Royal Arms Hotel [1] / Royal Hotel [2] / Royalist [1] -

The 'Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom' is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, and shows the lions of England, the lion of Scotland, the harp of Northern Ireland, but no element of Wales, which is considered  a Principality.  There have been numerous versions since the inception of King Richard I's 'Great Seal' of 1189 reflecting the numerous constitutional changes and unions.


Royal Duke [1] -

Royal Dukedoms are titles in the British peerage created for the sons and grandsons of a Britisn monarch.

It is not known which Royal Duke the public house at Oakham was named after, but probably relates to one of Queen Victoria's three younger sons, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and Leopold, Duke of Albany OR for Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, eldest son of King Edward VII.


Royal Oak [39] / Old Royal Oak [1] / Olde Royal Oak [1] -

'Royal Oak' is the second most common name for a public house in England, and derives from the episode when King Charles II and his aide hid in the Boscobel Oak near Shifnal, Salop, in order to escape the Roundheads who were pursuing them after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The story became popular after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 with the King's birthday, May 29th, being named as the holiday of 'Royal Oak Day' or 'Oak Apple Day'.


Royal Standard [1] -

The 'Royal Standard' is the flag of the United Kingdom.  It is divided into four quadrants, the first and fourth containing three gold lions passant for England, the second a red lion rampant for Scotland and the third a gold harp for Ireland.


Shah of Persia [1] -

'Shah' (King o King's) is a title applied to Persian Emperors or Kings.


Star & Garter [3] -

The 'Most Noble Order of the Garter'is a chivaldric award founded by King Edward III in the 1340's.  It is dedicated to the image and arms of St. George as England's patron saint' with the cross of St. George set in the centre of an eight pointed star.  The cross is surrounded by a dark blue enamelled 'garter' edged with gold.

One legend surrounding the origin of the 'garter' stems from a story that whilst dancing with the King at Eltham Palace, the Countess of Salisbury's garter slipped from her leg.  As the assemblage sniggered, the King picked it up and slipped it onto his own leg, exclaiming, "Honi soit qui mal y pense" ("shame on him who thinks evil of this") - a phrase which became the motto of the Order.

However, it is more likely that 'garter' refers to a small strap used to attach pieces of armour.

Membership is limited to the monarch, the Prince of Wales and not more than 24 companion members, and can only be granted by the monarch.


Sultan Inn [1] / Sultan Vaults [1] -

Refers to a sovereign of an Islamic country, and in public house name terms, undoubtably has its origin with Saladin from the time of the Crusades.


Tudor Rose [1] / Tudor Hotel [1] / Tudor Inn [1] -

In 1485 Henry Tudor from the House of Lancaster defeated King Richard III from the House of York at the Battle of Bosworth, so effectively ending the War of the Roses.  He became King Henry VII and, in order to secure stability, married Elizabeth of York.  As part of this union, the red rose of Lancaster was merged with the white rose of York to form the heraldic emblem of the Tudor Rose of England.

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