Taverns & Alehouses

The Linkspages at Larsdatter.com

The Inns of the Middle Ages Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 Pleasures and Pastimes in Medieval England At Play in the Tavern: Signs, Coins, and Bodies in the Middle Ages

This list covers illustrations of taverns and similar drinking establishments. (A page on 18th century inns and taverns is available elsewhere on this website.)

In these illustrations, notice the various types of signs, and the display of the garland and ale-stake. This display also comes up in several period descriptions:

  • A tauerner settes owt a wyne garlond to draw men to is taveron.
    (A sermon, British Library Royal 18.B.23, c. 1450/1415)
  • Avale þe stake, Avale, here ys good Ale I-fovnde!
    ("Tappster fyll another ale," Bodleian Arch. Selden. B.26, c. 1450)
  • The grene bussh that hangeth out / Ys a sygne … / Outward, folkys for to telle / That with-Inne ys wyn to sell; / And for al that … wyn ys ther noon.
    (Pilgrimage of the Life of Man, British Library Cotton Vitellius C.13), c. 1475/1430



Obviously, many of these have been remodeled or changed over the centuries. (My intention with this set of links is to point out those which appear to be reasonably close to how they might have looked when originally built, or discussions of how they might have looked when new.)

This list covers both inns and taverns. In the modern day, we don't always make the distinction -- but an inn (or "hostrie," another fine Middle English word) would offer lodging in addition to food and drink; a tavern (or brewhouse) would likely not offer lodging. Most of the illustrations above, I think, were taverns, rather than inns; but the list below includes lodging-places.