Pub Names in the Huddersfield Area


The most common names for public houses in the geographic area covered by this web site are as follows:[1]

name instances
Commercial 19
New 17
Victoria 15
Rose and Crown 14
Royal Oak 13
Railway / Railway Junction 12
Brown Cow 11
Junction 11
Kings Arms / Kings Head 10
Red Lion 10
Travellers / Travellers Rest 10
Waggon and Horses 10
Rising Sun 9
Shepherds / Shepherds Arms / Shepherds Boy / Shepherds Green 9
Shoulder of Mutton 9
Star 9
Foresters / Foresters Arms 8
George 8
Masons / Masons Arms 8
Oddfellows / Oddfellows Arms 8
Swan / Swan With Two Necks 8
Bay Horse 7
Butchers Arms 7
Fleece 7
Grove 7
Queen / Queens Arms / Queens Head 7
Royal 7

Thematic Pub Names

For an excellent introduction to the history of pub names, see chapter 8 of Names and History: People, Places and Things (2004) by George Redmonds.

In the examples below, the number of local pubs which match or include the term are given in square brackets.

Heraldic Symbols

According the Barrie Cox's English Inns and Tavern Names, some of the earliest recorded names from the Medieval period relate to symbols commonly found in heraldry. Local examples of these within a pub name include:

  • Acorn [2], Anchor [1], Angel [3], Bull [13], Cock [4], Crown [23], Dolphin [1], Dragon [5], Griffin [3], Harp [2], Hart [6], Lamb [2], Lion [18], Oak Tree [16], Ox [1], Ram [2], Rose [16], Stag [4], Star [11], Sun [14], Swan [12], and Unicorn [3]

As well as the generic Kings Arms & Kings Head [10], Queens Arms & Queens Head [8], and Royal [7], specific monarchs such as William IV (monarch at the time the Beerhouse Act of 1830 was passed), Queen Victoria [15] and her husband Prince Albert [7] are to be found locally.

Instances of George [12] may relate to a monarch (there are 4 instances of a Royal George) or to Saint George (there are 4 instances of George & Dragon).

The Union [1] and Royal Union [1] may be references to the Union Jack flag.

The Clarence [2] is presumably a reference to the Duke of Clarence.

Local Land Owners, Gentry and Statesmen

The following land owners are referenced in local pub names:

  • Armitage [2], Beaumont [3], Brook [2], Brunswick [2], Earl of Dartmouth [1], Kaye [3], Radcliffe [1], Ramsden [2] and Thornhill [1]

Both the Duke of Somerset [1], Earl Fitzwilliam [2] and the Earl of Zetland [2] were linked to the Ramsden family and appear in local pub names.

British Prime Ministers Robert Walpole and Robert Peel, and also the Marquis of Granby, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Leeds, each had a local pub named after them.


Links to the military, and to famous military leaders and battles can be found in:

  • Aide-de-Camp [1], Allied [1], Alma [1], Antwerp [1], Crimea [1], Duke of York [1], Nelson [3], Waterloo [2] and Wellington [3].

Both the Rifle Corps Arms [1] and Volunteers Arms [1] would have been linked to local militia.

Myths, Legends and Historic Figures

Local instances of pub names include:

  • Britannia [2], El Dorado [1], Falstaff [1], George & Dragon [4], Little John [1], Pomona [1], Quiet (or Silent) Woman [1], Robin Hood [1], and Shakespeare [2]
Occupations and Trades

In some instances, the pub names reflects the occupation of the person who established it — for example, the Sawyers Arms in Honley was established by sawyer Thomas Stocks.

Occupational pub names often include the suffix "Arms".

The local textile industry is referenced in the following pub names:

  • Clothier [4], Cotton [1], Cropper [2], Dyer [3], Fleece [7], Loose Pulley [1], Shears [2], Slubber [1], Spindle [1], Spinner [2], Walker [1], Weaver [1], and Woolpack [5]

Other traditional occupations are referenced in:

  • Blacksmiths or Smiths [6], Boot & Shoe Makers [6][2], Brewing [3][3], Butchers [16][4], Carpenters [1], Farming [10][5], Masons [9], Millers [5][6], Mining [2], Musicians [1], Ropemakers [1], Sawyers [1], Shepherds [9], Sweeps [1], Woodmen [6]

As the Industrial Revolution progressed, new professions were represented locally:

  • Boiler Makers [1], Electricians [1], Engine [1], Gas [1], Mechanics [1], Painters [1], Plumbers [2] and Telegraph [1]
Friendly Societies

With no welfare state to provide for those without employment, many of the working classes turned instead to the numerous Friendly Societies which prospered in the 19th century. Members paid in a regular small amount and their families would financial help in the event of unemployment, injury or death.

Pubs were often used as the meeting place for the societies and, seen as trusted individuals, some landlords would have been instrumental in forming the local branches. It also became common for larger pubs to advertise a dedicated lodge room which could be used for meetings — as well as benefiting financially from the lease of the room, the meetings might also require food and drink to be provided.

The generic term Friendly or Friendship [5] often reflects the pub was a meeting place for local Friendly Societies.

Local pub names which reference a specific Friendly Society include:

The Freemasons [1] are also usually regarded as a Friendly Society, although it was originally linked to the trade of stonemasons.

Individual lodges[7] of a Friendly Society would usually also be known by a name. In some instances, they appear to have used the pre-existing name of the pub where they met, whilst in other instances the pub took on the name of the lodge. Local instances include:


The following inn names reflect the the growth of turnpike roads and coaching:

  • Buckstones [1], Buxton House [1], Cart & Horses [1], Coach & Horses [4], Ford [1], Great Western [1], Green Cross [1], Horse Shoes [5], Junction [11], London [3], Manchester [1], Pack Horse [2], Saddle [1], Travellers or Travellers Rest [10], Waggon and Horses [10]

The building of the canal through Huddersfield gave rise to:

  • Dock [1], Fly Boat [1], Navigation [2], Ship or Shipwreck [3] and Wharf [1]

The coming of the railways is referenced in:

  • London and North Western [1], Railway or Railway Station [14] and Viaduct [1]
Sports and Hunting

As well as five Sportsman or Sportsmans Arms, other sports and pastimes include:

  • Angling [1], Cricket [3] and Horse Racing [3]

Hunting is represented by:

  • Bay Horse [7], Bird in the Hand [1], Blazing Rag [1], Dog [3], Dog & Gun [4], Dog & Partridge [2], Flying Ferret [1], Greyhounds [2], Fox & Hounds [1], Hare & Hounds [4] and Rabbit Warren [1]

In many instances, pubs would have both an official name (as given on the sign and recorded in the Alehouse Licence Registers) and a local nickname, which was often a reference to the landlord.

Local instances of personal nicknames include:

  • Alcander's, Jimmy Johnson's, Nont Sarah's, Wills O' Nats
The Weird and Wonderful

A general rule of thumb — although not always true! — is that old inns have traditional pub names (Red Lion, Black Bull, Kings Head, Royal Swan, Coach & Horses, etc) and that the beerhouses which proliferated after 1830 have more eclectic names. A selection of the more unusual local pub names include:

  • Blazing Rag, Cheshire Cheese, Exchange Evil for Good, Flower Pot, Hole in the Wall, Labour in Vain, Live and Let Live, T'Old Steam Pig, Poets Corner, Q, Sair, and Who Could Have Thought It

Notes and References

  1. Based on the references in this list.
  2. Including Cloggers Arms.
  3. Including the Malt Shovel.
  4. Including the Shoulder of Mutton which typically denotes the landlord was a butcher.
  5. Including Craven Heifer, Plough and Wheat Sheaf.
  6. Including Dusty Millers and Windmills.
  7. Known as "Courts" in the Ancient Order of Foresters society.