Boars Head Tavern, Eastcheap
I have been working through the Taverns where the masonic lodges met, prior to 1791, or quite early anyway. I know it was destroyed in the Great fire of London, in 1666. It was also rebuilt, in about 1668.
You need to open some of these early mapping of London maps, I always start with that in 1799. This site is so amazing …..
In Maitlands survey of London in 1756 (references 1739), and states in Candlewick ward that In this Street [Great East Cheap] is the Boar’s head Tavern, under the Sign of which is wrote, This is the oldest Tavern in London. It is in this Tavern where some of the Scenes of the Poet Shakespear’s Henry IV. are laid, which he introduces Prince Henry, Falstaff, his Companions.
There was a shortage of low denomination coinage in a particular period, and prior to 1672 a number of mainly farthing tokens exist – a farthing is a quarter of one old penny). There are two collections of these tokens, mainly held by the British museum, and they are well documented.
In Great Eastcheap, the Boars Head has at least two tokens in existence, they bear little detail apart from often, just the initials of the tenant, or in one case John Sapcott. The books describing the tokens often collect together much detail about a token, as it does here.
One of the places I found, which I have a lot of detail about on various sites, all in my search engine was the Boars Head Tavern, in Great Eastcheap.
Longford, the celebrated auctioneer, formerly of the great piazza, Covent Garden, announced for sale on May 28th, 1756, some leasehold messuages in St. Michael’s, Crooked lane, ” at the Boar’s Head tavern in Cannon street.”
Dr. Goldsmith appears to have written his Reverie in 1758, or early in the following year; but when John Carter drew and etched the Boar’s Head tablet, for Pennant’s Some Accownt of London, in 1790, the house had ceased several years before to be a temple of Bacchus.
The Boar’s Head tavern, a large house, was subsequently divided into two tenements, and constituted numbers 2 and 3, Great Eastcheap. The freehold was early in June, 1831, purchased by the Corporation, for the London Bridge improvements. The house was immediately demolished. The stone sign of the Boar’s Head, set up in 1668, and now in the museum attached to the Corporation library, Guildhall, immediately faced the house now number 65, King William street, a few feet westward of the statue of King William the Fourth, placed there in December 1844.
I have a number of addresses to describe where a Boars Head Tavern existed at about this time from these records.
In about 1770, the Caledonian Lodge, meets at the Boars Head, Eastcheap
Apparently, The Boar’s Head is first mentioned in the time of King Richard II., and Stow alludes to a riot that occurred there on St. John’s Eve, 1410, in which the Princes John and Thomas were mixed up.
The original Boar’s Head was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt on its old site within two years, as attested by a Boar’s Head cut in stone between the first-floor windows. This stone is now in the Guildhall Museum. The original house stood between Small Alley and St. Michael’s Lane ; and at the rear looked out into St. Michael’s Churchyard.
If 2 and 3 Cornhill is the correct address, this would equate to the area at the top of King William street (previously St Michaels Lane) where a statue of King William IV was erected in about 1845. This statue is later removed, around 1936, to Greenwich Park, where it can be seen today.
My additional detail:
The Boars Head is latterly in St Clements Eastcheap parish, but not to be confused with another Boars Head at 157 Cannon street (earlier address is 56 Cannon street before renumbering in about 1861. This was earlier called the Neighbours Tavern, as a John Neighbour had a coffee house here.