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Site of the Mitre Tavern

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Site of the Mitre Tavern
Site of the Mitre Tavern, originally uploaded by swanksalot.


From Time Out London:

Some way down Mitre Place, the black brick alley widens out a yard or two, opens up to the sky, and reveals a tiny pub with a frontage of oak and opaque leaded windows. The date on the sign says 1547, but this version of the Mitre was actually built around 1772, soon after the demolition of the nearbyPalace of the Bishops of Ely – the origin of all the geographical and historical anomalies in these parts.

Built in 1291, St Etheldreda’s Church – aka Ely Chapel – is the oldest Catholic church in England and the only surviving part of Ely Palace. With 58 acres of orchards, vineyards and strawberry fields, plus fountains, ponds and terraced lawns stretching down towards the Thames, the Palace was the London residence of a long line of Ely Bishops, and a seat of great power. The Bishop of Ely and his strawberries feature in Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’, while Ely Palace itself provides the setting for John of Gaunt’s ‘This scepter’d isle’ speech in ‘Richard II’. In 1531, a five-day feast was attended by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, the Lord Mayor of London, sundry foreign ambassadors, barons and aldermen: between them, they tucked away ‘24 great beefs, the carcase of an ox, 100 fat muttons, 91 pigs, 34 porks, 37 dozen pigeons, 340 larks’ and the King’s contribution of 13 dozen swans.

The original Mitre Tavern was built for servants at the Palace 11 years into the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1576 she commandeered a gatehouse and a goodly portion of the Palace grounds for her court favourite Sir Christopher Hatton, and regularly came visiting. After stints as a prison and a Civil War hospital, the Palace reverted to the Crown in Georgian times and was demolished – although the rebuilt pub had built into its front wall a stone mitre from a palace gatepost and a cherry tree, which once marked the boundary separating the ground gifted to Hatton and the Bishop’s remaining diocese.


Didn’t actually go inside, this vist.

Written by swanksalot

September 20th, 2010 at 7:25 am

Posted in Photography

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