From the King and Tinker, named after a traditional tale where a disguised monarch surprises a local craftsman, to the Eagle and Child, commemorating 'the Lathom legend', many British pub names and signs are steeped in local traditions and ancient beliefs.
In Green Men and White Swans Jacqueline Simpson, one of the UK's leading folklorists, explores the fascinating stories behind the names, showing where they originated and tracing how they have evolved over the years. In the process She reveals why the Green Man is sometimes depicted as a club-wielding giant with a girdle of leaves, and sometimes drawn as a Robin Hood figure, retells the dramatic tale of local Wiltshire hero Rattlebone, and describes the centuries-old custom that gives its name to the Silver Ball in St Columb. From there, she goes on to explain why you seem to be able to find a Red Lion, a Queen's Head or a White Horse in every part of the country, and why the recent fashion for apparently meaningless combinations involving slugs, toads, parrots and firkins actually has a precedent in history.
Enlightening, revealing and entertaining by turns, Green Men and White Swans is both an intriguing insight into the history of the British pub and a captivating journey through the country's legendary past.show more