Which monarch has the most pubs named after them?
From Alfred the Great to ‘Mad King George’, the crowned heads of British history have plenty of pubs dedicated to them, but some well-known kings and queens have been completely overlooked.
The results, shared on /dataisbeautiful on Reddit and visualised by Rachel Tatman using Food Standard Agency data, reveal that Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, has an equally awe-inspiring 222 pubs named after her. In second place is her predecessor William IV, whose 62 UK pubs make up for the fact that he is largely overlooked in the history books, and the bronze goes to George III, with 50, which may provide some comfort for the loss of America during his reign.
The data also shows a repeat of the result of the Battle of Hastings, with William the Conqueror having two boozers to the vanquished Harold Godwinson’s one. Æthelstan, first king of the English, has one pub named after him, in Bournemouth.
Neither Stephen nor Matilda have pubs named after them, which might be for the best given the siblings waged a 25 year civil war against each other. Despite his Agincourt antics and youthful hell-raising, Henry V is also lacking an alehouse according to the data, making him and Richard II the only two English kings with Shakespeare plays but no pubs to their names, though the White Hart, a common pub name, was a heraldic symbol of the latter.
To this writer’s surprise, there is nothing for Edmund Ironside, who admittedly was only King of the English for a matter of months in 1016, but also has one of the best names of any historical figure.
Other recent rulers to have missed out include Edward VIII, whose abdication and alleged friendship with Adolf Hitler probably explains that. Indeed, Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith does not have a pub to her name yet – perhaps because her full title wouldn’t fit on the sign.
There are plenty of pubs named in honour of monarchs, but not necessarily after them. One example of this would be boozers called The Royal Oak, a name that refers to Prince Charles (the future Charles II) hiding up a tree in Shropshire to escape the parliamentarians after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
Contrary to what jokes might suggest, establishments called The King’s Head are not in fact named after his decapitated father, Charles I, but, according to Ordnance Survey, became common after Henry VIII’s reformation rift with Rome resulted in pubs called The Pope’s Head being renamed.
Both Charles I and II have three pubs each, while there is at least one named after Oliver Cromwell (in Cambridgeshire). Despite popular myths about Early Modern puritanism, Cromwell apparently liked a pint as much as any king.
To find out the 10 most popular pub names in the UK, royal and common alike, click here.