Lions in Ashbourne #2.

As intimated in Lions in Ashbourne #1 it seems that there was a whole pride of leonine boozers in Asbourne, with many congregated around the Market Place area. The White Lion which served on the Buxton Road, in the region known in the past as Pig Market, was easy to identify and was dealt with in the aforementioned post. That leaves me with the rest.


Lions seem to change colour, lose colour and regain colour at will. Directories give me Red Lions, Yellow Lions, Brown Lions, White Lions and ofttimes a number of simple Lions. Census records do much the same, apart from the 1891 one which is especially unhelpful in showing hardly any innkeepers/publicans/victualers in the area when the directories show loads just before and just after. I'm pretty certain that the town wasn't hit by a temporary term of temperance as the enumerator approached.


Addresses don't help much either. Market Place, Butcher's Row, Victoria Square, Middle Gale, St. John Street. All seemed to be used in a random system of interchangeability.


Anyway, I do seem to have extracted another big cat from the mix. The Red Lion, or sometimes it seemed to have aged and become the Old Red Lion, was to be found in the Market Place and on at least one occasion on Middle Gale. (Middle Gale was, I believe, St. John Street.)


This bygone boozer was in existence at least by 1829 when publications from both Pigot and Glover show a Francis Ferneyhough in residence. It seems to be in use up to 1895 when Bulmer's Directory has Josiah Baker as mine host. Six years later the census of 1901 records it as being unoccupied and I have been unable to find any reference to it after that date.


So after all this, what's the Red Lion look like and what's it doing now? Well, the building now earns its living as a shoe shop. Steeping Stones Shoes is to be found at 1 Market Place. Not Middle Gale or St. John Street, but Market Place - although it sits on the corner where St. John Street meets Buxton Road. You know, by the Market Place. Mr. Google drove by one sunny day last summer, which is fortunate since I've only been able to pinpoint its whereabouts since lockdown began and have therefore been unable to get my own pic.


The former Red Lion in Ashbourne. July 2019 ©2020 Google

Another thing that I've discovered with all the detailed directory delving that I've been doing is that Cornelius Morgan was a higgler in 1881 in Ashbourne. "What the hell is a higgler?", I hear you shout in unison. Don't you know? I do, but I'll admit to having to look it up. You can do the same.


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