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"While there may at times be good reason for doubting the claims made
as to the antiquity of some London taverns, there can be none for
questioning the ripe old age to which the Pope's Head in Cornhill
attained. This is one of the few taverns which Stow deals with at
length. He describes it as being "strongly built of stone," and
favours the opinion that it was at one time the palace of King John.
He tells, too, how in his day wine was sold there at a penny the
pint and bread provided free. It was destroyed in the Great Fire,
but rebuilt shortly after. Pepys knew both the old and the new
house. In the former he is said to have drunk his first "dish of
tea," and he certainly enjoyed many a meal under its roof, notably
on that occasion when, with Sir W. Penn and Mrs. Pepys, he "eat
cakes and other fine things." '
"Inns and Taverns of Old London" by Henry C. Shelley