For centuries the British pub has been more than just a place where you will drink a pint, eat traditional pub food, and meet with your neighbors to chat about the news and football scores. For almost 2,000 years, the British pub has been a vital community life and social spot. When the Romans invaded Britain, they set up tabernas, shops selling wine. The tabernas then became alehouses when they evolved into Anglo Saxon.
The taverns and alehouses have survived throughout Britain, invading Romans, Saxons, Angles, and Vikings. In 970 AC, there was even an attempt of King Edgar to put a limit on alehouses per village and restrict the about of alcohol that a guest was allowed to consume.
In 1552, King Henry VII (1491 - 1547), the innkeepers, required a license for running a pub. Around that time, inns, taverns, and alehouses became known as public houses. Staying around that part of history, in 1577, about 17,000 alehouses, 2,000 inns, and about 400 taverns. There would be one public house for every 200 people at that time in history. Today, that number has changed to nearly 1,000 people per pub.
43 AD – The Tabernae (plural version of Taberna and later turning into tavern), earliest recorded pub during the Roman invasion of Britain
680 – Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore, ordered Christians who drank too much to do penance for fifteen days
965 – King Edgar of Wessex restricted the number of alehouses to just one per village and implemented the 'peg', which was the size of the cup. There is a saying, 'taking you down a peg' (about 60ml or 2 oz)
978 - 1013 – Æthelred the Unready (968 - 1016) established fines for unruly behavior in alehouses. It was known as the Wantage law. He distinguished between a "slain" and "unslain" man.
1375 – A law was put in place to regulate the height of a pole the local brewer put out over the street. The problem was that many horsemen would bash their heads against the pole. So, King Edward III, also known as Edward of Windsor (1312-1377), restricted the pole's height.
14th and 15th Century – Ale was made without hops
18th Century – Different Gin Acts were tried to stop drunkenness in British society. Gin became the choice of drink in England.
1828 – Alehouse Act established an annual license meeting to grant licenses for inns, alehouses, and places that sold food, to sell liquor at the location
1830 – Beerhouse Act eliminated the beer tax and extended the opening hours for taverns, alehouses, and public houses to 18 hours a day.
1869 – Legislation was implemented to limit the increase of beerhouses
I have been very fortunate to visit many pubs, falling in love with the people, history, traditions, food, and beverages. I know that many publicans struggle to keep pubs open and support their families. The Scotch World wants to do our share to support the industry.
The Scotch World is receiving more and more emails and calls with a request for advice and comments about the hospitality industry, hotels, bed and breakfasts, pubs, restaurants, and attractions.
We would like to encourage you to list your pub here for free. All we need is a photo of your pub, address, phone number, and a link to the website.
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Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England
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