Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Sarcen's Head Inn"On the north side of Snow Hill, west of St. Sepulchre's Church, in Farringdon Ward Without (S. 387, ed. 1603~Lockie, 1816)."Sersyns Head " mentioned 1522 in an account of the preparations for the reception of the Emperor Chas. V. as having 30 beds, stalls for four horses (Wheatley).Removed for the formation of Holborn Viaduct and its approaches 1868."
From: 'Sarcen's Head Inn', A Dictionary of London (1918). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 31 July 2005.
For more discussions of the Saracen's Head in general see...
Saracen's Head, a celebrated tavern and coaching establishment, which stood on the north side of Snow Hill, "without Newgate." It was removed in constructing the Holborn Viaduct. On the new Snow Hill, but some distance from the old inn, another "Saracen's Head Hotel" has been erected, but it is quite unlike its predecessor in appearance and character.
Next to this church [St. Sepulchre's] is a fair and large inn for receipt of travellers, and hath to sign the Saracen's head.—Stow, p. 143.
In the preparations for the reception of the Emperor Charles V. in 1522, is the entry, "The signe of the Sersyns hed: xxx beddes, a stable for xl horses." This shows the importance of the inn at that time. Two other inns have the same stable room, but none make up so many beds.
Methinks, quoth he, it fits like the Saracen's Head without Newgate.—Tarlton's Jests, 4to, 1611.
Do not undervalue an enemy by whom you have been worsted. When our countrymen came home from fighting with the Saracens, and were beaten by them, they pictured them with huge, big, terrible faces (as you still see the sign of the Saracen's Head is), when in truth they were like other men. But this they did to save their own credits.—Selden's Table Talk.
At the Saracen's Head, Tom pour'd in ale and wine, Until his face did represent the sign. -- Osborn's Works, 8vo, 1701, p. 538.
Near to the jail, and by consequence near to Smithfield . . . and on that particular part of Snow Hill, where omnibus horses going eastward seriously think of falling down on purpose, and where horses in hackney cabriolets going westward not unfrequently fall by accident, is the coachyard of the Saracen's Head Inn; its portal guarded by two Saracen's heads and shoulders . . . frowning upon you from each side of the gateway. The Inn itself garnished with another Saracen's head, frowns upon you from the top of the yard. --- Dickens, Nicolas Nickleby.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.
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