Lost pub crawl: Crown and Glove

In the 19th century there was a pub in Canongate called the “Crown and Glove“. The earliest reference we have found is from 1817 when it was advertised for sale, along with a couple of neighbouring properties. It closed around 1870, then the area was redeveloped.

Wood’s Map, 1827

The name Crown and Glove must have dated from before 1817. The road from Alnwick to Haggerston via Canongate and Eglingham was turnpiked in 1824-26 and would bring new traffic through the village. Thomas Boyd is shown as the landlord in directories at that time, and he is also named on Wood’s map of 1827. He seems to have preferred a different name and the pub was listed for a while as the “Merry Tippler“.

By 1850 the name had reverted to the Crown and Glove, and for the next couple of decades it appears regularly under this name in directories, newspaper reports about thefts and drunkenness, and in magistrates’ discussions about licensing. In 1870 the licence was not renewed. For a while there were reports that the pub remained closed. It never seems to have re-opened. This part of Canongate was redeveloped between 1885 and 1909 with improved estate-style houses. The detached house in this location was designed by Reavell and Cahill and recorded as the “Curate’s House”. <Image>.

OS Map, 1850

Crown and Glove is not a common pub name. There used to be one in Chester, which dated back to befor 1789, but that closed around 1920. There is still a pub called the Crown and Glove in Sheffield. We have also found a few newspaper reports that refer to a “Crown and Globe” in Canongate but these originate from elsewhere, and presumably they are mis-prints.

It’s said that pubs choosing the name “Crown and Glove” are referring to the gauntlet of the King’s (or Queen’s) Champion. A monarch is not supposed to fight in single combat against anyone except an equal. So they need a champion who is prepared to fight on the their behalf. The champion will take on anyone who decides to challenge title to the throne. At a coronation banquet the monarch’s champion would ride into Westminster Hall in full armour, throw down a gauntlet, and issue a challenge to all comers. This is a ceremonial performance that dates back to medieval times, but it hasn’t actually been used since 1821, when the challenge spoken by the champion was:

If any person, of whatever degree soever, high or low, shall deny or gainsay our Sovereign Lord George, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, son and next heir unto our Sovereign Lord the last King deceased, to be the right heir to the imperial Crown of this realm of Great Britain and Ireland, or that he ought not to enjoy the same; here is his Champion, who saith that he lieth, and is a false traitor, being ready in person to combat with him, and in this quarrel will adventure his life against him on what day soever he shall be appointed.

There was no coronation banquet for William IV in 1831, and the practice was dropped for Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838. It has not been revived since.

In this case, the 1817 reference to the Crown and Glove is too early to date from the coronation of George IV in 1820. So could the name date from the previous coronation: of George III in 1760? Was the name revived for the coronation of William IV in 1838? We can speculate, but we’ll probably never know. It remains a mystery why anyone would choose such an unusual name for a pub in Canongate.

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