Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Catalogue of historic pubs includes a weeping ghost

AN Oxford pub housing a collection of 5,000 ties and an inn with a weeping ghost are featured in a new handbook on the nation’s most historic watering holes.

Ye Olde Good Inn Guide, published by The History Press, includes The Bear Inn, Oxford, which claims to be one of the oldest public houses in England, dating back to 1242.

The Bear’s circa-17th century incarnation stands in Alfred Street, and generations of residents and tourists have sacrificed their neck-wear for a drink.

John Chipperfield, who compiles the Oxford Mail’s Memory Lane feature, said: “The practice of taking ties began in 1954 by the then landlord (and former Oxford Mail cartoonist) Alan Course.

“Anyone who came in with a tie had it cut halfway down (the owner kept the bit round the neck and Alan swiped the bit at the bottom for his collection). The donor then got a free pint for his trouble.”

Another pub featured in the book is The George Hotel in High Street, Wallingford, previously the George & Dragon.

Judy Dewey, curator of Wallingford Museum, said: “On March 3, 1626, a man called John Hobson was stabbed to death during a fight at a pub, probably the George & Dragon.

“Hobson’s fiancée was so distraught that she locked herself in an upstairs room and painted markings on the walls with her tears mixed with soot from the fire.

“She died of grief, but the room became known as the Teardrop Room, as the marks are still visible, and her ghost has also been seen.”
Local stories also say the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin stayed at the George & Dragon, but Mrs Dewey said they are likely just legend.

She said: “The George has a very interesting history and hopefully its place in this book will encourage more people to come to Wallingford and visit the museum, where a lot more fascinating information on the town can be found.”

Also featured in the book, by authors James Moore and Paul Nero, are Ye Olde Reindeer Inn in Banbury and The George in Dorchester-on-Thames, which dates from 1495.

Source: Oxford Mail

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