After a couple of nostalgic excursions back to the flatlands of my youth it's a return to the Peak District and the pride of lions that existed in Ashbourne. Having sorted the Red Lion and the Pig Market's White Lion it's time to see what I can make of the other references that I've come across.
It's been a bit of a struggle to sort the remainder out. Ignoring the above two there are references to a Lion, a White Lion, a Yellow Lion and a Brown Lion, all in the area of the Market Place. The same licensee appears in more than one just a couple of years apart. Were they different hostelries which he moved between or did the name change, or was it both of these? Is that actually a possibility? Was it just a simple change in colour? Just how many pubs were there? Did he marry the licensee's daughter and take the pub on when her dad died? ARRRRGGGGH! I DON'T KNOW! My brain is lioned out.
Three things are certain. Firstly there were at least two other Lions in the area as, for example, the 1849 Post Office Directory lists a white one and a yellow one, the one published eight years later by White gives a brown one and an achromatic variant. and the 1871 census however gives colourless and yellow. I haven't come across three in the same document, so it might just be two to sort out.
Secondly, there's no way that I can establish what's what with the documentation currently available to me, so totally clearing the mystery up will have to wait until after lockdown ends.
And thirdly, I can drone on, albeit only a little, about the Brown Lion as I know where it was.
The picture below is of a Raphael Tuck postcard from the 1920s. No, it's not me pedalling up Buxton Road. I might be knocking on a bit but I'm not that long in the tooth. Not quite.
And a view from a similar point courtesy of Mr. Google in 2019
The former Brown Lion is thought to be the second oldest building in Ashbourne after St. Oswald's church, being depicted on a map of 1547 in the triangular market place.
Quite who was running the place through time will have to wait, but the Wibberley family, who were also in the cooperage trade nearby, certainly had it for a while. I'm not sure when it closed, but I've seen that it was owned by Marston's brewery in 1930 that it was in the hands of William Wibberley in 1932 so it must've been after that. Although no longer operating as a pub the former Brown Lion is still serving the public - as a fish and chip restaurant.
Well, that's that. I'll just have to wait until the Covid-19 situation eases a bit to fully solve this tricky conundrum. Time to nip out for a bit of exercise. Have to say that my pedalling mojo has been a little dampened of late. Even though that nice cardiologist man told me in my telephone outpatients appointment the other day that I can still race it was somewhat moot as there obviously aren't any races. Think I'll still go for a short spin to the old Jug & Glass though.
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