Derivation of Leicestershire and Rutland Public House Names - Trades and Occupations


Auctioneer [1]


Axe & Saw [2] / Axe & Square [1] / Old Axe & Square [1] -

All relating to the tools of the trade, with the 'Axe & Square' in Countesthorpe being reportedly named by an early landlord who was also a carpenter.

In heraldic and Masonic terms, the axe represents an execution of duty and the square, constancy.


Bakers [1] / Bakers Yard [1] / Bakers' Arms [7] -

The Bakers' Guild has existed since the 12th century, and by the 14th, had divided into the 'White Bakers' Guild' and 'Brown Bakers' Guild'.

These gained separate Royal Charters (in 1509 and 1621 respectively), before, in 1645, being amalgamated into the 'Worshipful Company of Bakers'.


Blacksmiths' Arms [12] / Hammer & Pincers [2] / Hammer & Anvil [1] -

Originally known as "The Fraternity of St. Loie", the 'Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths' was granted its first ordinance in 1571.

Ferrers Arms [1] -

For his support to William the Conquerer at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Henri de Ferrieres was rewarded with over 200 Manors throughout England and Wales, including land and estates in both Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

Ferrieres-Saint-Hilaire in Normandy was known for its iron working industry and the name came to mean 'to bind with iron' or 'to shoe a horse', hence our current word 'farrier' for a blacksmith.

The Ferrers family coat of arms includes a number of horseshoes.

Forge Inn [1] /

Horseshoe [2] / Horseshoes [5] / Three Horseshoes [15] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Farriers' was first established in London in 1356, with the garnt of their first Charter (by King Charles II) in 1674.

The coat of arms includes three horseshoes.

Royal Horseshoes [1] -

The 'Horseshoes' in Waltham-on-the-Wolds is recorded as early as the 15th century, but became 'Royal' in 1843 when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert rested whilst horses were changed during their journey between Belvoir Castle and Melton Mowbray.


Boatwright Arms [1] -

The word 'boatwright' came into the language around 1400 and referred to a craftsman who built wooden boats.


Boot & Shoe [2] / Boot & Shoe Working Mens Club [2] / Shoemakers [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Cordwainers' was granted a Royal Charter in 1439 under King Henry VI after the 'Cordwainers' Company' had existed since 1272.  The word 'cordwainer' derives from 'cordovan', a type of goatskin leather originating in Cordova, Spain.


Bowlturners' Arms [1] -

The 'Bowlturners' Arms' on Belgrave Gate was named by original owner Thomas Cattell in 1861, who was also a cooper and woodware dealer by trade, and reputably the only pub in the country with the name 'Bowlturners' Arms'.


Braziers' Arms [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Armourers' was presented with its Royal Charter by King Henry VI in 1453.  The Company's present Charter was granted in 1708 by Queen Anne, giving equal status to the Braziers (brass and copper workers) with the Armourers.


Brewers' Arms [3] / Old Brewery Inn [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Brewers' was granted its Royal Charter by King Henry VI in 1438.


Bricklayers' Arms [11] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers' received its first Royal Charter in 1568.

Brickmakers' Arms [1] / Patent Brickmakers' Atrms [1] -

The 'Patent Brickmakers' Arms' on Morton Road appears in directoties at the same time as the 'Leicester Terra Cotta & Patent Brick Co.'

By 1887 this had become Boam & Forrest - Brickmakers', and by 1889, the 'Humberstone Brick Co.'.  The public house changed its name to the 'Granby' in 1889 and the 'Granby Hotel' in 1899.


Builders' Arms [2] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Constructors' was founded in 1976 and granted a Royal Charter in 2012.

The 'Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants' was founded in 1961 and became a Livery Company in 1977.


Butchers' Arms [6] / Jolly Butcher [2] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Butchers' is one of the seven oldest Livery Companies of London, being granted a Royal Charter in 1605.


Cap & Stocking [4] -

Public houses with the name 'Cap & Stocking' usually reflect the woollen industry of the area, but some older pubs may refer to an edict issued by Queen Elizabeth I who made it obligatory for all over the age of six to wear a woollen cap (and stockings) on Sundays and Holy days.


Carpenters' Arms [1] -

Originally a Trade Guild dating from 1271, the 'Carpenters' Company' received its first Royal Charter in 1477 under King Edward IV.


Chandlers' Arms [1] / Tallow Chandlers' Arms [1] -

A tallow chandler was a person who made candles from the melting of animal fat.

The 'Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers' was granted a Royal Charter in 1462.


Clothiers' Arms [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Drapers' received its Royal Charter in 1364 under King Edward III, and in 1438 became the first Corporate body to receive a Coat of Arms.


Coachmakers' Arms [1] -

The 'Coachmakers' Company' was incorporated in 1677 during the reign of King Charles II.


Colliers' Arms [1] / Jolly Colliers [1] -

Named for their proximity to coal mines.


Coopers' Arms [3] -

Historically, a 'cooper' was a tradesman who made storage barrels, casks, tubs and

similar containers from wooden staves with metal hoops, with the brewing

industry forming a large part of their craft.

The 'Coopers Livery Company' was granted a Royal Charter in 1501 under King

Henry VII.




Coopers at work

(engraving 1750)

Davy Lamp [1] -

The 'Davy Lamp' was invented in 1815 by Sir Humphrey Davy, and was a safety lamp used to detect methane and other flammable gases in enclosed atmospheres, especially coal mines.


Dyers' Arms [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Dyers' was granted its first Royal Charter in 1471 under King Henry VI.


Finishers' Arms [1] -

Processes such as dyeing and printing carried out after weaving.


Flax Dressers [1] -

'Flax dressers' were the workers who prepared flax for the spinners.


Foresters' Arms [6] -

Public houses named the 'Foresters' Arms' reflected the fact that local branches ('courts') of the Friendly Society of the 'Ancient Order of Foresters' invariably met in a public house.


Foundry Arms [2 / Iron Founders Arms [1] -

The 'Foundry Arms' and the 'Iron Founders Arms' on Belgrave Gate were named for their proximity to the Britannia Iron Foundry of Cort & Bell at the Public Wharf.  Developing out of the ironmongery business of James Cort, the Britannia Foundry began in 1799.  By 1850 the Britannia works (together with the business of Richard Willson) was owned by John Law, who, four years later, moved the business to Charles Street in order to be closer to the railway.


Fountain [4] / Fountain Inn [1] / Fountain Tavern [2] -

The public house name 'Fountain' was either used to signify a nearby spring or well, or, in heraldic terms, is associated with the 'Worshipful Company of Plumbers'.


Freemasons' Arms [6] -

Freemasonry can be traced back to the end of the 14th century when stonemasons formed loose associations (or unions) to safeguard their trade, and public houses using the name reflect meeting places of these early unions.

Freemans' Arms [1] / Freemens' Arms [1] -

Between the 12th and 15th centuries under the Feudal System, a 'Franklin' was a person holding land without dues, the classification of landowners ranking next below the landed gentry.  The word evolved to mean a 'freeholder' coming down to us in modern times as 'Freeman', being one who is awarded the freedom of a City or Livery Company.

Square & Compass [4] -

A square overlaid by a pair of compasses is the universal logo of Freemasonry, and public houses

of the name were invariably used for meetings.








Free Trade Inn [2] -

The term 'free trade' was introduced in the 1840's as a Liberal party policy in order to set a framework of international trading rules in Britain's ever growing Empire.  A difficult abstract concept to illustrate on pub signs, some early ones reflected the free enterprise of the highwayman and poacher.


Gardener [1] / Gardeners' Arms [2] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Gardeners' was granted a Royal Charter in 1605 under King Charles I.


Grocers' Arms [2] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Grocers' is one of the original twelve City Livery Companies, evolving from the Guild of Pepperers (which dates from 1180) to become the Company of Grocers and being granted a Royal Charter as the 'Worshipful Company of Grocers' in 1428 by King Henry VI.


Hat & Beaver [1] -

'Beaver' was a word used in the hat making trade, and either refers to the stand on which a hat is formed, or to the tradesman responsible for the making of felt hats.

Hatters' Arms [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Feltmakers' was granted a Royal Charter in 1667 under King Charles II.


Ironmongers' Arms [1] -

The 'Worshipul Company of Ironmongers' are 10th in order of preference, and therefore one of the original 12 City Livery Companies.  They received a Grant of Arms in 1455 under King Henry VI.


Joiners' Arms [7] / New Joiners [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers' (wood carving) was granted its Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571.


Jolly Potters [1]


Lamplighters [2] -

When street lights were powered by candle, oil or gas, the lamplighter was the Town employee who

lit them in the evening and put them out again in the morning.


Square and compass

(universal sign of Freemasonry -

the 'G' stands for God)


(unknown photograph)

Lime Kiln [2] -

Although named the 'Lime Kiln, the pub at Barrow-upon-Soar was always known locally as the 'Trap' - so called because it used to "trap" men on their way home from the lime workings on pay day.

After a refurbishment the brewery officially re-named it as the 'Trap', but erected a new pub sign showing a pony and trap.

Three Kilns [1]


Long Flame [1] -

'Long Flame' is a reference to a miners lamp.


Mechanics' Arms [2] -

Usually named for the pubs proximity to engineering workshops.


Mercers' Arms [1] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Mercers' is the premier Livery Company of the City of London.

Although from the Latin word 'merx' meaning merchandise, the mercers of London specialized in the trading of silks and other fabrics.

Their first Royal Charter was issued in 1393 under King Richard II.


Oddfellows' Arms [5] / Nottingham Oddfellows' Club [2] / Manchester Unity Oddfellows' Club & Institute [1] -

'Oddfellows' is one of the largest Friendly Socities in the United Kingdom.  Evolving from the medieval Trade Guilds, Oddfellows began in London in the late 17th century, with more groups quickly setting up around the country.  Public houses were their main meeting places of the time.

The name came into common use during the early use of Livery Companies where fellows broke away from Guilds of specific trades to form a mixed company or society.

The Manchester Unity of Oddfellows became the first officially recognized friendly society in 1810.


Old Coal Yard [1] -

The name of this public house, which was on Gallowtree Gate, undoubtably reflects that, in previous times, the area outside the original East Gate (where the present Clock Tower stands) was called 'Coal Hill' being a market for coal.


Organ Grinder [1] -

A reincarnation of the 'Old Pack Horse' in Loughborough, the 'Organ Grinder' is a Blue Monkey pub.  'Blue Monkey Brewery' began in 2008 in Ilkeston and the name relates to the old Stanton Ironworks where 'blue monkies' was the nickname for the huge blue flames produced by the coal fired furnaces.  Peculiary, the Blue Monkey logo shows a chimpanzee rather than a monkey.


Ostlers' Arms [1] -

'Ostler' was a job description during the coaching age, and related to the person designated to take care of the horses.  The word itself is a derivation from the Old French 'hostelier', being an innkeeper.


Painters' Arms [2] -

An organisation of painters and stainers of wood and metals had been recorded from 1268, before amalgamating with an organisation of painters who worked on cloth in 1581 to become the 'Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers'.


Patten [1] -

Named for an early landlord (William Handley) who was also a boot and shoe maker, the sign for

this small alehouse in Ashby-de-la-Zouch showed a patten with an iron ring around its sole.

Pattens were wooden soled overshoes used to protect normal footwear from the mud and grime of

early streets.  The 'Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers' was awarded its first Royal Charter in 1670

under King Charles II.


15th century Patten overshoes

Pick & Shovel [1] -

An obvious coal mining reference for this pub in Coalville, although the pub sign showed a ground worker rather than a miner.


Pikemakers' Arms [1] -

A long spear or pike has been used in hunting and in warfare since the Stone Age, but saw its greatest use during European warfare in medieval times.


Plasterers' Arms [3] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Plaisterers' was granted a Royal Charter in 1501, still keeping the original spelling to this day.


Plumbers' Arms [3] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Plumbers' was granted a Royal Charter in 1611, but only exists today as a charitable organisation.


Pointsman [1] -

'Pointsman' stems from the early days of railway, where it was the workman who checked the points on railway lines.


Quarry Master [1] -

Named to reflect Mountsorrel's granite quarrying history which began in the 18th century and still continues today.

Quarrymen's Arms [1] -

The 'Quarrymen's Arms' in Markfield reflects the two historical granite quarries close to the village.


Ropemakers' Arms [1] -

Historically, pubs named 'Ropemakers' Arms' were usually in the proximity of dockyards.


Sawyers' Arms [1] -

'Sawyer' was a person whose occupation was the sawing of wood, usually in a wood pit.


Sinker Makers' Arms [1] -

A 'sinker maker' was a person who made the weights used in hosiery knitting machines.


Skinners' Arms [1] -

Originally a Guild of fur merchants, the 'Worshipful Company of Skinners' received its first Charter in 1327 under King Edward III.


Slaters' Arms [1] -

Simply a reference to slaters or slate layers.


Spade Tree Inn [1] -

'Spade tree' was a local dialectak reference for the wooden handle of a spade, with this pub in Mewton Burgoland being named because the original landlord was also a maker of spade handles.


Spinning Wheel [1] -

A device for spinning thread, the 'spinning wheel' first appeared in the Middle East during the 11th or 12th centuries, and hosiery became an important part of Hinckley's trade development during the 17th century.


Stonemasons' Arms [3] / Masons' Arms [4] -

The 'Worshipful Company of (stone) Masons' is one o the oldest, with records dating back to 1356.


Tailors' Arms [2] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors' was first incorporated under a Royal Charter in 1327.


Tanners' Arms [1] -

'Tanning' is the process of treating animal skins to produce workable leather using the organic compound 'tannin'.


Three Cups [3] -

'Three Cups' is associated with the 'Worshipful Company of Salters', first licensed in 1394 under King Richard II to administer the salt trade in London.


Weaver's [1] / Weavers' Arms [3] -

The 'Worshipful Company of Weavers' received iys Royal Charter from King Henry II in 1155.


Wood Boy [2] / Woodboy [1] / Woodboy Inn [1] / Woodman [1] / Woodman's Arms [1] /

Woodman's Lounge [1] / Woodman's Stroke [2] / Woodcutter Inn [1]


Woolpack [6] / Wool Pack [1] / Old Wool Pack [1] / Three Wool Packs [1] -

A 'woolpack' was a bale of wool prepared for carriage or sale and weighed 240 lbs.

Woolcomber [1] / Woolcombers' Arms [2] -

Before mechanization the task of disentangling wool by combing it out was done by hand.

Woolstaplers' Arms [1] -

'Woolstaplers' were merchants who bought wool from producers, graded it and sold it on to

manufacturers.  The word 'staplers' refers to the fact that the wool market was a single product

market of a 'staple' product'.


(etching from the Jean-Francois Millet collection)

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