Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and some Ducks

The summer came and briefly visited the UK on Sunday, so we decided it was time for a pub lunch. Not in any old pub, mind you, oh no, because according to The Guinness Book of Records,

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans  is the oldest pub in the UK. The original building close to St Albans Abbey dates back to the 11th century and owes its basic octagonal shape to its first use as a dovecote.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

In 1539, when Henry VIII fell out with the Pope over his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and decided to start his own church, the Abbey was dissolved and the building moved to its present location close to the cathedral. It is rumoured that underground tunnels link the beer cellar with the cathedral, which I suppose is handy if the Bishop ever runs out of communion wine. First known as the Round House, it became Ye Olde Fighting Cocks when the Cock Pit from the Abbey was installed after the dissolution. When cock-fighting was banned in 1849 the pub was briefly called The Fisherman before reverting to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in 1872.

This is a great little boozer which fortunately still has many of its original features like the bread oven by the main fireplace.  It also has a deserved reputation for its food

The only chicken you will meet in Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

As it was Sunday there was a selection of roasts on offer. I went for the chicken which had been roasted with tarragon and lime (£11.95). It was fantastic. The chocolate brownie (£4.50) that Mab couldn’t finish was pretty good too.

So having eaten a pretty delicious bird we went to feed the birds in nearby Verulam Park.

Mallard duckling

There are a lot of baby birds around at this time of year including a host of Aylesbury/Mallard hybrids, Canada Geese and coots.

Coot and chick, ‘now you see us

The coot parents were busy teaching their chicks to dive.

Now you don’t’

I was charmed by this little moorhen chick being fed by its mother, that I photographed from a bridge.

Mother and baby moorhen

Incidentally St Albans has a lot of history having been settled by the Romans, conquered by the British Queen Boudicca and fought over by the forces of Lancaster and York in the Wars of the Roses. I did spend three years working there in the 90s, but the nearest thing to a historic event in that time was Timmy Mallett turning on the Christmas Lights. Must see stuff in the city are the Cathedral, the Roman Theatre and the Hypocaust (Roman central heating system) in Verulam Park.

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4 thoughts on “Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and some Ducks

  1. Ah – I was always led to believe that it was the Ye Olde Trip to Jersusalem up in Nottingham which opened up in 1189ad. Just been on to Wiki and its this one, Ye Olde Trip and Ye Olde Man Scythe in Bolton claiming to be the oldest. Ye Olde Trip is worth a visit Ships Cook – as it sits beneath the Castle and is carved into the rock, quite a nice pint there as well.

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