STRANGE WORLD OF PUB NAMES; In our continuing campaign to Support Our Great South Wales Pubs, JESSICA FLYNN takes a look at some of the unusual names of pubs in the region and what they mean.
WHAT'S in a name? Pubs have all sorts of weird and wonderful names from the Cow and Snuffers to The Queen's Vaults and many are hard to forget, but what do they mean? The tradition of naming pubs has been around for centuries, with historical records dating the existence of public houses in the UK for more than 1,000 years. A pub's name is used to identify and differentiate every public house and often reflect the local history, depicting a famous landmark, a local duke, king or lord or a trade indigenous to the region. More often than not, these names can give historical clues to the area surrounding the pub or they can be used to commemorate and immortalise a local event. Early pub customers were unable to read, and pictorial signs could be easily recognised. Colour also appears in a number of pub names and are sometimes associated with an object which may have been used to identify the pub including Blue Anchor or Red Lion. Arfur Daley, Echo beer columnist and organiser of the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival, said: "Pub names are an important part of the identity of the pub, often existing for hundreds of years and through rebuilds of the pubs themselves.
"Often they are the last link to an emblem from the coat of arms of the family that used to own that land. Pub names are part of history that should be protected." Along with more common pub names including the Black Lion, Royal Oak and Kings Arms that can be found in many towns and cities in Britain, South Wales has more than its fair share of unusual pub names. We have looked at just 10 of some of the best to find out where they originated from. The Pelican-in-her-Piety, Ogmore-by-Sea, Bridgend In 1536, Sir Edward Carne, the second son of Howel Carne, of Nash, was granted the lease of Ewenny Priory after the last prior, Dompmus Thomas, and the remaining monks were forced to leave the Priory. Sir Edward Carne was allowed to purchase the Priory in 1545. The pelican in her piety is featured in the coat of arms of the Carne family. It is an ancient Christian symbol possibly originating in the Middle East. The Vulcan, Adam Street, Adamsdown, Cardiff Built in 1853, on marshland below sea level, this is another of Cardiff's old pubs and has kept its original name. The name Vulcan means God of Fire, and was given because of the ironworks in Balls Road at the time. It was voted Cardiff Pub of the Year in 1997, but it has been under threat for a number of years to be demolished to make way for retail units, a multi-storey car park and apartments. A campaign was set up to save The Vulcan and in 2009 it won a three-year reprieve. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Bridgend. Ewenny Priory remained in the possession of the Carne family and later the Nicholl-Carnes family until the death of John Carne in 1741 when it was passed by marriage to the Turbervilles whose descendants still occupy it today. The first inn to be named The Pelican on the site was built well before 1741. The name was changed in 2000 to The Pelican-in-her-Piety to depict its true history. It usually depicts a female pelican on her nest, with wings half spread and chicks waiting at her feet with open beaks. She is plucking her breast and allowing the drops of blood to fall into the mouths of the chicks, symbolising Christ feeding his flock with his blood.
This heraldic device can be seen in many places throughout Europe and beyond. It is featured on a bronze door in Cologne Cathedral, on the tower on top of Glastonbury Tor, and many other places including the new Saint fast rooms, a small conference room and along wooden bar that serves a wide range of real ales including an award-winning selection of guest ales. Cayo Arms, Cathedral Road, Cardiff This pub sits on the tree-lined road close to the city centre. It was once a couple of private houses, and was known as the Apollo Hotel until 2001. Now the Cayo Arms, its name originates from a famous Welshman called Williams Julian Cayo-Evans, who was the leader of the Free Wales Army. Popular with Welsh speakers, the Cayo has five en-suite bed and break Blue Anchor, East Aberthaw, Barry The Blue Anchor Inn was established in 1380, which makes it one of the oldest pubs in Wales. It was a focal point for the thriving port of Aberthaw and got its name from the distinctive blue marl (mud) which coated the anchors of the vessels that sailed the channel anchoring in Aberthaw.
It is said that the port of Aberthawwassynonymouswithsmuggling and the Cardiff Customs House records of the year 1735 detail a seizure of rum at Aberthaw involving a drunken smuggler, a chase by customs officers by boat, and then on horseback. A much earlier reference to smuggling at Aberthaw comes from an order given in 1387 directing that the mayor investigate English smugglers running goods into Aberthaw, Penarth and Cardiff. A secret tunnel rumoured to link Aberthaw Bay with the Blue Anchor has never been found. The Blue Anchor was part of the Fonmon estate until 1941, when it was acquired by Bill Coleman who eventually passed it onto his son John. When John retired in 1987 his two sons the current owners Jeremy and Andrew Coleman took over. Apart from when the pub was forced to close in 2004 after a fire which destroyed the thatched roof, the Blue Anchor Inn has traded almost continuously as a public house since 1380. Terra Nova, Unit 9, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Built in 2000 Terra Nova means new earth and was the name of one of explorer Captain Scott's ships.
Scott and his four companions set off from Cardiff on their ill-fated journey on the Terra Nova to the South Pole. With the objective of being the first to reach the South Pole, Scott and his team arrived at the pole on January 17, 1912, to find the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen had beaten them by 33 days. Scott's entire party died on the return journey; some of their bodies, journals and photographs were discovered by a search party eight months later. The building of the Terra Nova intentionally looks like the bow of a ship. The Goat Major, High Street, Cardiff The name is taken from the mascot of the Royal 41st regiment of Wales who carried a live goat on the Russian front line in the Crimean War. The goat survived the War and was introduced to Queen Victoria back in England. Originally called the Goat, the pub was renamed the Bluebell in 1813, and finally the Goat Major in 1995. Last year Adam Pavey, head chef at the Goat Major, created the award-winning Wye Valley Pie, which was named the winner of the British Pie Week Challenge 2010. His pie is a mix of chicken, asparagus, leeks and Tintern Abbey cheese, topped with flaky pastry.
Black Cock Inn, Waunwaelod Way, Caerphilly Situated on the wooded mountain road between Caerphilly and Cardiff, the Black Cock is half-timbered in the pre-war Brewers' Tudor style, but this facade hides an older building, as photos within the pub show. It is believed to have got its name from the black cock, also known as the lead horse, which would come from the mines. Pineapple, Station Road, Llandaff North, Cardiff The pub was built around the start of the 20 Century and then stood alongside a canal. It was given its unusual name from the regular barge cargo of pineapples that would come down the canal. Regular Roy Boobyer said: "Everyone who is local knows the story that the Pineapple got its name from the fruit coming up from the docks on the canal. "The pineapple was a sign of hospitality in Victorian times as it was a rare fruit and it took centre stage on the table of families able to afford them. "The pub used to be owned by Hancocks and their catch phrase was 'Hancocks the sign of hospitality', so I don't know if that also had something to do with its name.
"I can't remember pineapples coming up the canal but I can remember bananas used to come up from Cardiff ocks. The boats would come down from the Valleys with coal and steel and would come back with commodities from the Docks. "People who are not local and come in for a pint do ask how it got its name and that's what we tell them." Pen and Wig, Park Grove, Cathays, Cardiff The building was originally an opthalmists and was converted to a pub in 1994. Near Cardiff Crown Court, the pub got its name from the large number of legal practices that are in the area and attracts a mix of customers, including legal professionals and students by day and students by night and weekends. Pineapple, Station Road, Llandaff North, Cardiff The pub was built around the start of the 20 Century and then stood alongside a canal. It was given its unusual name from the regular barge cargo of pineapples that would come down the canal. Regular Roy Boobyer said: "Everyone who is local knows the story that the Pineapple got its name from the fruit coming up from the docks on the canal. "The pineapple was a sign of hospitality in Victorian times as it was a rare fruit and it took centre stage on the table of families able to afford them. "The pub used to be owned by Hancocks and their catch phrase was 'Hancocks the sign of hospitality', so I don't know if that also had something to do with its name. "I can't remember pineapples coming up the canal but I can remember bananas used to come up from Cardiff Docks. The boats would come down from the Valleys with coal and steel and would come back with commodities from the Docks.
"People who are not local and come in for a pint do ask how it got its name and that's what we tell them." Pen and Wig, Park Grove, Cathays, Cardiff The building was originally an opthalmists and was converted to a pub in 1994. Near Cardiff Crown Court, the pub got its name from the large number of legal practices that are in the area and attracts a mix of customers, including legal professionals and students by day and students by night and weekends. Cow and Snuffers, Gabalfa Road, Llandaff North, Cardiff Although it closed down last year, no list of unusual South Wales pub names would be complete without including the Cow and Snuffers. Built in the 19th Century, the Tudor-style pub, one of the oldest drinking venues in the city, is up for sale after owners, Enterprise Inns, decided to sell the building after it became too expensive to keep open. Legend has it that the public house in is haunted, and Benjamin Disraeli - the 19th century Conservative Prime Minister - was reportedly a regular punter at the drinking spot. A bust of the former Prime Minister can be seen at the front of the building.
The alehouse has also been recognised as a pub with one of Britain's most unusual names and was included on the list of Britain's 10 most unusual pub names by independent tourism website www.iknow-uk.com in 2009. Appropriately, a "ludicrous name contest" held by an Earl may have earned it its unconventional title, but ancient texts have also referred to it as the Red Cow. The pub once stood on the Merthyr-Cardiff canal and it is said that the canal was lined with gas lamps and that a man used to snuff them out, hence the "snuffers" part of the name.