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Kings Head, Fenchurch street : London coffee houses and taverns
A historical site about early London coffee houses and taverns
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THE KING'S HEAD, FENCHURCH STREET.
No. 53 is a place of historic interest ; for, the Princess Elizabeth, having
attended service at the church of Allhallows Staining, in Langbourn Ward, on her
release from the Tower, on the 19th of May, 1554, dined off pork and peas
afterwards, at the King's Head in Fenchurch Street, where the metal dish and
cover she is said to have used are still preserved. The Tavern has been of late
years enlarged and embellished, in taste accordant with its historical
association ; the ancient character of the building being preserved in the
smoking-room, 60 feet in length, upon the walls of which are displayed corslets,
shields, helmets, and knightly arms.
The 1829 Robsons directory places
Thomas Payne, at the
Kings Head Tavern
, 53 Fenchurch street;
apparently demolished in 1876
Leaving the Ship and Turtle, with its interesting associations, and taking our
way down Billiter Street into Fenchurch Street, we come upon the elaborately
decorated building at the corner of Star Alley and Mark Lane, now called the
London Tavern, but till within a very short time back, known ever since the time
of the Tudors as the King's Head.
This is now a sumptuous restaurant with resplendent bars, dining-rooms (public
and private), smoking and billiard rooms, and everything this fin-de-siecle age
regards as indispensable to a high-class house, not even forgetting an oyster
bar round the corner in Mark Lane.
I knew it years ago — at least forty — and it was then a notable house ; and a
very genial landlord, named King, presided over its destinies. It was during
King's reign a high-class establishment, and noted for the excellence of its
wines and liquors.
This house has a special historic interest. When the Princess Elizabeth,
afterwards " Queen Bess," was liberated from the Tower on 19th May, 1554, she
proceeded first to Allhallows Staining Church, where she attended divine
service, and offered up thanks for her safe deliverance, for she stood in great
fear of either the block or the stake, from the creatures around her terrible
sister, Mary. From church she wended her way to the tavern of the King's Head,
in Fenchurch Street, where she enjoyed her first free dinner, upon gaining her
liberty. The meal was but a homely one, consisting of boiled pork and pease-pudding,
which was served on a metal dish. This, together with a metal cover, is still
preserved. Who can describe the relish with which the great Gloriana enjoyed
that plain repast ; with what a sense of freedom, and an absence of all fear of
poison, she must have relished every mouthful?
Also see the
Lots of references are made to two sources on the
Edward Callows, Old London Taverns &
John Timbs, Club life of London Volume 2
My Pub history sites.
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And Last updated on: Saturday, 10-Aug-2019 21:38:08 BST
London pub history directory.
London Street Listings in 1832.