Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from:
From the L&M Companion:"A large and prosperous tavern, on s. side, between Temple Bar and Middle Temple Gate, almost opposite St Dunstan's church; now the site of no. 1, Fleet St."
The Devil had been Ben Jonson's favorite. For an extensive discussion, see "Inns and Taverns of Old London" http://www.ibiblio.org/gutenberg/etext04/nntvl1...
hit Find (Ctrl F) and type in Devil.
'The Devil and St Dunstan' was this tavern's full name, and it was directly opposite St Dunstan's church at what is now No. 1 Fleet Street. If you go there now, you'll see a Blue Plaque about it on the wall, which shows how historically important it must have been. Someone called Wade featured it in an engraving published in Dodsworth's 'London and its Environs' in 1761 - can anyone find this?
Its name refers to a well-known medieval legend about the Saxon saint Dunstan, who once was a worker in gold and who became the patron saint of goldsmiths. He is usually represented carrying red-hot pincers in his right hand. The legend is that he once seized the Devil by the nose with them and refused to release him until the Devil promised never to tempt Dunstan ever again. Saint Dunstan later became Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Devil was a large, rambling building with 19 hearths (fireplaces). It was also probably the most 'literary' tavern in the City. (In fact, this may have been just on the border between the City and Westminster.) It was famous as being a 'literary' place, and Ben Jonson seems to have moved home to be near it! John Evelyn described a gathering there in 1680 attended by 180 Members of Parliament, and John Aubrey also mentioned it in his writing.
Its owner in the early part of Pepys' Diary was John Waller, who is mentioned by name in the Diary. He was sufficiently important to be invited to take part in the Coronation Procession of Charles II. Wadlow owned the tavern from 1640-61, followed by Jonathon Barford (1661-68) and Richard Taylor (1668-81). Messrs Child the bankers bought it and rebuilt it in 1788, and for all I know they may still be there.
A facsimile copy of Shelley's "Inns and Taverns", containing his discussion of the Devil Tavern and an illustration of a bust and plaque commemorating Jonson's carousals, is on-line at:
Rocque map reference:
Though not certain it is the same building there is a notation on the map for a Mitre Tavern
Log in to post an annotation.
If you don't have an account, then register here.
See all places in this category on a map