Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Pope's Head Tavern


This noted tavern, which gave name to Pope's Head Alley, leading from Cornhill to Lombard-street, is mentioned as early as the 4th Edward IV. (1464) in the account of a wager between an Alicant goldsmith and an English goldsmith; the Alicant stranger contending in the tavern that "Englishmen were not so cunning in workmanship of goldsmithry as Alicant strangers;" when work was produced by both, and the Englishman gained the wager. The tavern was left in 1615, by Sir William Craven to the Merchant Tailors' Company. Pepys refers to "the fine painted room" here in 1668-9. In the tavern, April 14, 1718, Quin, the actor, killed in self-defence, his fellow-comedian, Bowen, a clever but hot-headed Irishman, who was jealous of Quin's reputation: in a moment of great anger, he sent for Quin to the tavern, and as soon as he had entered the room, Bowen placed his back against the door, drew his sword, and bade Quin draw his. Quin, having mildly remonstrated to no purpose, drew in his own defence, and endeavoured to disarm his antagonist. Bowen received a wound, of which he died in three days, having acknowledged his folly and madness, when the loss of blood had reduced him to reason. Quin was tried and acquitted. (Cunningham, abridged.) The Pope's Head Tavern was in existence in 1756.

John Timbs
Club Life of London Vol. II
London, 1866