Old Inn Signs


Ashwell always had many inns, and some of the old inn signs were very interesting some were:

The Angell
The White Horse
The Three Tuns
The Royal Oak 1715
The Dun Cow – now Vine Villa
The Bear
The Peacock
The Chaff-cutters
The Waggon and Horses
The Bushel and Strike
The British Queen
The Hit and Miss
The Australian Cow
The Swan with Two Necks – this had a painted sign – what Mr Bowman called a “Hideous Creature” – literally a swan with two necks.

This is probably a corruption of two nicks, which refers to the nicks in the bill cut by the Thames Watermen to mark their swans

In former days when the voyage to Australia had to be made by sailing ship passengers were allowed to take a cow free of charge on condition that the crew were allowed to have the use of the milk on the journey.

Two men brought a cow from Australia on similar terms, and walked it all the way from Tilbury Docks to Ashwell.  One of the men took an inn which was known for many years as “The Australian Cow”.

Comments about this page

  • Hello Greg, I presume you acquired this for the Fordham connection.

    Fordhams became quite a wide ranging brewery in the early 20th century and according to a list of properties sold latter on The Princess of Wales was in Union road, Linton, Cambridgeshire. We have another, probably similar, sign from the Princess of Wales in the museum. It was used as part of the fence of one of the houses built on the brewery site in the 1970’s. 

    By Peter Greener (15/09/2017)
  • Hi there, I have an Old Inn sign that reads “Fordham’s Princess of Wales Ales & Stouts”.  Do you have information? I would love to see a photo of the building with the sign hanging.  Thank you 

    By Greg Fordham (08/09/2017)
  • In case you didn’t find out where your sign came from, it would almost have been from the Rose & Crown in Hoddesdon, which closed around 2013. But it ceased being a Fordham’s pub in 1952.

    They also had a Rose & Crown in Codicote, which closed much earlier (1920s?), so it could be from there also – although much less likely.

    By Adrian Perry (28/04/2017)
  • Although there is still a ‘Rose and Crown’ in the village it is now Greene King owned and was previously Simpsons of Baldock so I doubt if the sign came from Ashwell. We need to look wider at other Fordhams pubs which may take a little time.

    By Peter Greener (06/02/2014)
  • I’ve just acquired the inn sign for the Rose and Crown pub. It reads: FORDHAM’S The Rose & Crown Ashwell Ales & Stouts Do you have any information about the pub that it came from?

    By Andy Simpson (27/01/2014)

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