Paul Gibson’s Hull and East Yorkshire History

Beverley Pubs — S


Lincoln Way. See the Lincoln Arms.

Scottish Soldier

Highfield Road. See the Eager Beaver.

Ship Inn

Market Place (Sow Hill).

In March 1756 the corporation granted a lease to “Luke Williamson innholder for a messuage on the south side of Sow Hill, [the] northernmost house in a row called the Dings in Saturday Market and the Swine Stye on the east side of Common Midden’ belonging to the Shambles” (DDBC/16/178) (A midden was a dung-hill). This appears to be the earliest reference to the Ship Inn, which the Pevsner guide (page 306) suggests was probably built in the 1750s.

Francis Riggall aged 43 was recorded as a brewing victualler and retailer of wine and beer at the inn, in the Census of 1851 - also present were his wife, a visitor and one female house servant. The Ship Inn was later owned by brewers Robert Stephenson & Son, of the Golden Ball Brewery in Toll Gavel and held a full licence for the sale of wines and spirits as well as beer.

In the Census of 1881 John Hall aged 28 was listed as innkeeper, with his young wife and five children with one domestic servant present at the inn, but by 1915 The Ship was made redundant and closing in February of that year, when £600 was paid in compensation to the owner Robert Ranby Stephenson.

The Rambler, writing in 1939 noted: - “The Ship, on Sow Hill, was at one time signified by a hanging sign in wrought ironwork”. The sign is gone but the fabric of the building still exists although it is hard to distinguish as a pub as its former entrances have been removed. A side door to the former fish shambles is still visible in the passage to its east, but much rendering and moving of windows seems to have taken place when the building was restored and re-roofed in 1975. This included the complete removal of its main entrance to the Market Place, which was replaced by a matching window. It is still possible to imagine the appearance of the Ship however - its five-bay frontage was almost symmetrical and the former door would have been under the surviving blind window in the centre. Fortunately the building was declared a Grade II listed building in 1950 and this may have prevented more drastic alteration of its details (DoE serial No.9/318/50). The link below opens a map of the are showing the location of the ship Inn and other pubs in the area, based on an 1850s Ordnance Survey plan.

Select victuallers: - 1756 Luke Williamson; 1784 Thomas Anderson; 1791 Thomas Atkinson; 1814-51 Francis Riggall; 1855 Francis Riggall junior; 1858-72 James Walker; 1877-79 Mrs Harriet Holsworth; 1881-82 John Charles Hall; 1887-89 Thomas Watson; 1892 R Ward; 1897 Michael Fitzpatrick; 1899-1915 Frederick Knight.

Sloop Inn

Beck Side.

The Census of 1851 recorded James Baker beer-house keeper, aged 60 and his two daughters at the Sloop Inn, a pub that took its name from a type of vessel that would have been in common use on the nearby Beverley Beck and River Hull. The Hull Advertiser of 16th July 1852 recorded that a “Mariner’s Society meeting was held at the Sloop Inn”.

The building has been altered on a number of occasions the first known being in 1896, and in 1906 when toilets were added on behalf of the Beverley branch of John Smith’s Brewery (BOBE/6, 1896-17 & BOBE/6, 1906-13).

Because of its age and some remaining details the building enjoys Grade II listed building status (DoE serial No.11/6/87). In its description it is described as being of the 18th Century, which is confirmed by some architectural details including its front window casings, which are flush with the exterior of the building and are therefore likely to be of the mid-1700s. To the rear of the property is a typical Yorkshire sliding-sash dormer window of the same period.

The simple clean lines and lack of unnecessary decoration, signs etc., make the Sloop one of Beverley’s least pretentious and most attractive pubs. It is also another that appears to have retained its original name for at least 200 years.

Select victuallers: - 1806-26 William Lowther; 1828-55 James Baker; 1858-59 Robert Turner; 1864 John Bainton; 1867-70 Samuel Bielby; 1872 William Watson; 1877-79 Samuel Bielby; 1882 Arthur Pearson; 1887-89 George Hulland; 1892 G H Warcup; 1897 William Richard Bird; 1899 Henry Fortnam; 1905 Samuel Bowser; 1915 Mrs Jessie Spence; 1916-29 Charles William Coleman; 1939 John R Robinson; 1955 Mrs G Newton; 1965-75 Mrs F E Anderson; 1987 Graham Anderson.

Sow & Pigs

North Bar Within?

Rambler, “an old time scribe” wrote of Beverley’s signboards in The Announcer in 1939. He recalled; - “Standing on what is now a portion of St. Mary’s Church Yard, and adjoining Dead Lane (this lane was absorbed onto neighbouring property many years ago) was the tavern known as the Sow & Pigs”. Curiously, this same description was previously used by George Armstrong in his alleged reminiscences, and has since been repeated in articles in the Beverley Guardian although none make the source of the information clear.

Dead Lane ran along the east side of St Mary’s Churchyard and it is difficult to see how this could have been referred to as North Bar Within, however there were at least four buildings shown on the 1852 Ordnance Survey plan at the south end of “Dead Lane”. One building had been shown on Hick’s 1811 plan of Beverley and two by the time of Wood’s plan of 1828, but by the time of the 1890 Ordnance Survey plan they were all gone. It is possible that one of these buildings may have been the alleged Sow & Pigs beer-house, however no corroborating evidence has been found for either story and the Sow & Pigs is recorded here for the sake of completion only.

Spotted Cow


Gorge Armstrong allegedly recalled; - “The first beer-house in Beverley was the Spotted Cow in Eastgate”. This may suggest the Spotted Cow in Wednesday Market was originally situated in Eastgate although there is no known corroborating evidence for this suggestion and it may have been an error on his part. 

Spotted Cow

Wednesday Market. See also Tim Bobbin.

The Spotted Cow was a beer-house situated within, and probably at the rear, of the butcher’s shop that shared the building. Many if not all of the former beer-retailers listed at the pub also had the trade of butcher. Certainly a place you could have a “pie and a pint”!

Image no.37 in the book Old Beverley shows what must be the first known illustration of the building from circa 1845, but is hard to locate in the trade directories until circa 1867. It was afforded Grade II Listed Building status in 1969 (DoE serial No.10/403/69) and in its description it is suggested that the building dates from the 18th Century.

It closed as a pub in February 1937 but the butchers remained as it does (only just) today. Photographs of circa 1920 show the pub with a large Worthington Ales (and later a T Linsley & Co) signboard across its roof (see enlarged section right) in direct competition with the Queen’s Head opposite that had an identically situated Darley’s Ales signboard. The link below opens a map of the area showing the location of the Spotted Cow and other pubs in the vicinity.

Select victuallers: - 1867 William Rose; 1874 Robert Spink; 1877-92 Robert Sanderson; 1897 Thomas William Finch; 1899-1925 Benjamin Lee Ramshaw; 1929-33 Herbert Pearce Duffield; 1936 George Rawson.


Railway Station. See Railway Refreshment Rooms.

Sun Inn

Flemingate. Also Known as the Tabard (?) and the Tap & Spile.

The architectural and archaeological study of Beverley by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in the 1980s concluded that “none of the surviving timber-framed buildings in Beverley appear to date from before 1400.” This would seem to suggest an earliest possible date for the building that became the Sun Inn as circa 1400-1500. David Neave writing in the revised Pevsner guide states simply “The Sun Inn has a jettied front with brick-filled studding to the first floor, possibly of 16th-17th Century”, and  Ivan and Elisabeth Hall suggested in their book Historic Beverley “that until about 1660 the typical Beverley house was of half-timber and of very modest scale, often enough two low rooms and two garrets beneath the thatched roof.” It is clear that the precise dating of the structure is difficult without the benefit of accompanying evidence in the form of plans or deeds etc. It would seem that physical evidence “on the ground” has therefore been the basis for the present estimates of the age of the Sun Inn. For example, one indicator that could be used is that the projecting first floor joists appear to be laid on edge rather than flat. This was a practice not common until well into the 17th Century and would bring the estimated earliest possible date for the building forward to at least 1600.

It is obvious that the extant building is almost certainly the original structure with later alterations and it seems likely that it would originally have been home to more than one family or trade. The parts of the timber frame that show through on the eastern end of the first floor has had its original wattle and daub in-fill replaced with herringbone brickwork, probably during the 18th Century when it was first fashionable to do so - Ivan and Elizabeth Hall noted “In the later 14th Century, brick ... might also in-fill the panels of a timber-framed building, set herring-bone fashion rather than in horizontal courses, as can still be observed in the outer wall of the Tap & Spile public house (formerly the Sun Inn)” (Historic Beverley Page 41). The vast majority of the timber-frame of the building is concealed externally by rendering although it is still evident that the ground floor has been built-out to square off the overhang of the original jetty above.

It is likely that the Sun Inn was originally known as the Tabard, an inn mentioned in the 16th Century in documents relating to the granting of Minster lands. It was referred to in French as Le Taborre in connection with three tenements in Eastgate “which fell to the inn at the sign of The Tabard.” The Sun Inn had originally been three separate dwellings and falls within Minster lands, which would seem to confirm the two were one and the same. The first picture shown here dates from c.1905 when the walls around the Minster were rebuilt and set back. In the background is the old frontage of The Sun Inn Wines & Spirits Vaults, prior to all the modern messing about.

The Census of 1851 recorded Bartholomew Stamford widower innkeeper and joiner aged 38, his daughter and his sister who was housekeeper at the Sun Inn, present at the time of the survey. The following appeared in the Beverley Guardian, May 18th 1872:-

“A PUBLICAN FINED - At the Guildhall on Thursday, before the Mayor and J. Brigham, Esq., George Wiles, landlord of the Sun Inn, Fleming Gate was charged with keeping a disorderly house.

Evidence was given to show that on Saturday afternoon last persons in a state of drunkenness were fighting in the defendant’s house and yard, and that one or more of them were subsequently served by the defendant with drink. The case was reported to Supt. Knight, who visited the house in the evening and found fiddling and dancing in a front room in which were 60 or 70 people, including four prostitutes. Defendant’s answer to the charge was that he did not know that he had done wrong and that he had nothing to say. With regard to what the Superintendent had said, he did not know the girls were prostitutes.- Sergeant Steel said he had repeatedly cautioned the defendant and also his wife against having prostitutes in the house.- Mr Shepherd, the magistrates’ clerk, said that if the case was  proved there were three separate offences in it, viz., that of wilfully allowing drunkenness in his house, that of permitting gambling in his house (P.C. Haldenby having stated that he saw men playing at dominoes in the tap-room), and that of allowing persons of notoriously bad character to assemble in the house. Defendant was further informed that, for the first offence, he was liable to a penalty of £5, for a second a penalty of £10, and for a third a penalty of £50, and to forfeit his licence. The Mayor said the case was a bad one, and fined the defendant £3. And the costs, which were 18s 6d more”.

The Yard to the north of the Sun Inn was known as Sun Inn Yard and appeared by name in the 1881 Census. The second photograph shown here dates from the 1920s and shows the Sun Inn pretty much as we see it today - except for all the silly rubbish that is often hung outside spoiling its appearance these days.

In 1905 the Sun Inn had the first of many 20th Century alterations when owner Robert Ranby Stephenson of the Golden Ball Brewery converted the former pantry, scullery and coal-house into one large kitchen at the rear of the pub. A new scullery, pantry and coal-house were built in Sun Inn Yard to replace those lost. Upstairs in what was formerly one large “chamber”, two bedrooms were created and fitted with sliding sash dormer windows (BOBE/6, 1905-9). Sadly, later less sympathetic alterations were to alter the interior of the building beyond recognition.

In more recent years the Sun Inn was taken over and, much to the annoyance of almost everyone but the brewery, its long-standing name was removed. The Hull Daily Mail reported in August 1994: - “a furore over proposals to change the name of Beverley’s oldest pub was stepped up this week as councillors joined the row. The 16th Century Sun Inn would be changed to the Tap & Spile if owner Pubmaster continues with its plan, which also includes alterations as part of a £100,000 renovation scheme”. And again in July 1994: - “…the conservationists are urging Beverley Borough Council to refuse permission for signs bearing the new name to be erected outside the Flemingate building, which dates back to 1540 and is said to be haunted…”. Despite the protest the Sun Inn re-opened as the Tap & Spile on the 28th September 1994. Following a change in opinion the inn has reverted to its former name and from December 2000 was once more known as the Sun Inn, which it remains to this day.

The Sun has been a Grade II listed building since 1969 (DoE serial No.10/48/69) but this has not prevented what could be described as the systematic destruction of most of its interior in the ensuing decades. The only possible benefit of these alterations is that they have revealed the skeleton of the building and given confirmation if it was needed, of its age and true architectural importance to the town of Beverley.

Select victuallers: - 1791-1806 Francis Needham; 1814/15 Thomas Greenough; 1823-34 William Stamford; 1840 Nancy Stamford; 1846-55 Bartholomew Stamford; 1858-59 Thomas Stanley;1864-69 Robert Arnott; 1870-72 George Wiles; 1877-82 Smith Welburn; 1887-89 John Welburn; 1892-97 Michael G Thompson; 1899 William Smith; 1905 Harry King; 1915 William Goodall; 1921 Samuel Nicholson; 1929 William Henry Simms;1937 Alfred George Hirst; 1939-55 George Redfern; 1965-75 J Gray; 1987 Brian Hardy.


Within the north bar. See the White Swan.

An inn known as the Swan was mentioned within the north bar in the 16th Century according to the Victoria County History (page 87) and may have been the property that became the Wheatsheaf, the Royal Standard or more likely the White Swan Inn that was known to have been within the Dings, and therefore within the bar. 

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