Esoteric London

No. 283: Little Turnstile, WC1

Posted in Churches, Pubs by esotericlondon on March 30, 2011

The Ship Tavern, Little Turnstile, London, WC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

From www.theshiptavern.co.uk :

As well as being a public house, The Ship Tavern has served many purposes in its lifetime. Notably during the despotic reign of Henry VIII, Catholics would sneak into the Ship Tavern to attend mass, conducted by outlawed priests who would conduct mass from behind the bar. Lookouts would be posted around the neighbourhood, and a pre-arranged signal would warn the congregation when the king’s zealous officials came in to view. The warning would, hopefully, give the priest time to escape into one of the several ‘hidey-holes’ (some of which still exist today) and allow the congregation time to take up their tankards and become just another group of regulars in a pub. Some priests were not so lucky and were discovered hiding in a tunnel in the cellar and were executed on the spot. Their chilling screams can still be heard to this day.

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