The Origins of Pictorial Public House Signs
Public House (pub) signs were first introduced to the United Kingdom by Richard II in 1393. He compelled landlords to erect signs outside their premises, with a legislation that stated: “Whoever shall brew ale in the town with intention of selling it must hang out a sign, otherwise he shall forfeit his ale”.
As water was then not (generally) fit to drink, the signs indicated the public house was licensed and the ale was fit for human consumption.
Why Pictorial Signs?
An important factor during the Middle Ages was that a large percentage of the population were illiterate, therefore, pictures were more useful than words as a means of identifying a public house - and for this reason, the names of public house often descended after the signs had been
erected, and derived from
their pictorial signs.
Public house signs tell a story, and are often based around natural, religious, or historical symbols such as the The Sun, The Cross, The Fat Ox, The Ship,
The Trafalgar, The Lord Nelson, The King’s Arms, and The Queen’s Head.
The following pubs are located in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, along England’s north east coast.
All pub sign photographs were lovingly captured by my wonderful husband and soul mate Peter.
Click a thumbnail to enlarge, and hover your cursor to display the public house’s name and location.
I miss you Peter, more and more each day.
Life’s not the same without you.
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth
My soul can reach when
feeling out of sight.
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s.
Most quiet need by sun and
I love thee freely,
as men strive for Right.
I love you purely,
as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use.
In my old griefs and with my childhood’s faith.
I loved you with a love
I seemed to lose.
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath.
Smiles, tears, of all my life!..
and if God choose,
I shall but love thee better
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
You had a talent for bringing special meaning to my life.
It was such a pleasure to be your wife.
You helped me to grow and to realise the fullness and the beauty in our lives.
Every day I counted my blessings.
Then you went away.
Out of this world to a brighter day.
Suddenly my life of gladness
turned to eternal sadness.
My grief wears me down, I shed so many tears as I recall your love and devotion through the years.
For your sake and in memory of your name, I pray for strength to do things the same.
To reach out, to fill the hours
with useful ways.
To comfort, to cheer and have no more empty days.
Though Heaven and Earth divide us, and the distance is so great, I count my blessings for the years you were my mate.
I will live my life remembering, while you wait, slumbering.
My beloved, may you rest in peace.
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