here you will do well to linger; here our highest good is pleasure”

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Jule 2, 2020

Pubs are the heart of England.

It’s a quote widely attributed to 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys, though perhaps he had a rather over-indulgent time and forgot to actually write these wise words down.

It has now been over 100 days since England’s heart stopped beating but finally this weekend innkeepers will begin to wind up the tavern clocks once more and call time on the first nationwide closure of watering holes in British history.
106467328_579176049447546_151527129977661958_n.jpg The humble pub has been a place to take refreshment, make merry and do business since the Romans brought roadside taverns (or ‘tabernae’) to Britannia in the 1st century.

By the middle ages so many Britons were opening up their homes to brew and sell beer that King Edgar I – who gets our vote of history’s greatest killjoy – passed a decree to restrict public houses to no more than one in any village.

But we must doff our hats to the Georgians whose carte blanche approach to alehouse licensing saw over 45,000 new pubs open in Britain between 1830 and 1838, many of which still exist and are now ready to welcome back thirsty patrons.

And so the Great British public house has become engrained in our national identity and nobody sums up our adoration for the beloved ‘local’ better than English author Thomas Burke;

‘To write of the English inn is almost to write of England itself … as familiar in the national consciousness as the oak and the ash and the village green and the church spire.’