The Green Man
You’ve no doubt seen a pub named The Green Man at some point in your travels across the UK, the sign outside will likely picture his face, made of leaves with a jolly grin on his face. The name is taken from one of the oldest figures in our folklore which is believed to have originated with the Celts of our fair isle. The Green Man is believed to be an ancient symbol of fertility which though perhaps Celtic in origin found its way into Christianity and imagery of his face can be seen carved into churches not just in England but all across Europe too. He has also been associated with one of England best love folk heroes, Robin Hood and some even believed that the adventures of he and his Merry Men originated from the tales of the Green Man himself.
Here’s a name you may think nothing of at first glance, but the Nag’s Head actually has quite an interesting origin. According to legend, back when pirates were experiencing their so called ‘golden age’ the common folk couldn’t get enough of the stories of great treasure hoards being seized and hidden away. Supposedly when a pirate was returning to land, they would have an accomplice onshore who would signal to them whether or not it was safe to return. It’s said that he did this by taking a horse and tying a lantern around its neck and leading it up and down a cliffs edge or simply the highest point in the area. When the pirates saw the lantern bobbing up and down, they knew voyage had come to a successful end and finally, celebrations would begin.
Red Lion is one of, if not the most common name for a pub here in the UK. It finds its origins from the dawn of the Stewart era when James VI of Scotland became James I of England. When he came into power following the death of Queen Elizabeth I, he ordered that Scotland’s heraldry, the symbol of the Red Lion be displayed on all building of importance, which of course included the countries pubs. He did this so that all of England could be reminded that Scotland now held power over Britain and the symbol remains on many of those pubs to this day.
The Rising Sun
In the 14th Century during Edward III’s reign over England the imagery of the sun was added to the royal crest, represented as a sun rising with rays that shot above the clouds. As a result of this many of the countries nobility began to add the same imagery to their own, in hopes of gaining favour with the king and elevating their standing in society. It is believed that the pub name The Rising Sun was named after those landowners in their areas.