The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.514020, -0.111657

3 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

The Popes Head in Chancery Lane is known to have existed at least from 1636 to the 1720s.

How surprised are you that such a name was still found in a Protestant city - you should be. There were several of them in London before the Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII, at which point many were hastily changed either to The Bishops Head or The Kings Head. Unfortunately, Bishops were abolished by the clergy in the 1640s, and the King was beheaded in the same decade, so the switch was unfortunate.

However, this particular tavern seems to have survived without a name change (or perhaps with only a very temporary one).

Perhaps as Samuel Pepys drank here he mused on the lines of doggerel written by John Taylor in 1636 about Popes Head taverns:

"These Popes heads are no authors of Debate,
Nor Schismatics or Troublers of the State:
Yet there's good Claret, and Sack catholic,
Will make a Madman tame, a Tame man strike."

Confusingly, a few later pubs were also named The Popes Head in honour of the famous poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744).

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.