Æ Farthing. Diameter 16mm. * THE· BVLL· HEAD· TAVERNE around a bull's head. R. * IN· CHEAP· SIDE· 1650 around; in centre ·B· above T·E BW (London) 573; Norweb 6760. F/Good Fine*. *US customers please note that this is strict British grading.
George Berry in Taverns and Tokens of Pepys' London says about this piece: 'The Bull Head was probably the greatest of all the celebrated Cheapside taverns. It was certainly the oldest, being one of six Cheapside taverns permitted to continue under the statute of 1553.
As Dr Rogers carefully noted in his 'Old Cheapside and Poultry' it stood back from Cheapside, close to the west corner of Lawrence Lane. Thus, it had entrance passages from both Cheapside and Lawrence Lane. Ralph de Honilane is the first to appear in the records in 1307. Another early keeper, John Oxenford, became Sheriff of London in 1323 and Mayor in 1341. The Bull Head was just as famous in the seventeenth century. It is perhaps remarkable that there appear to be only five references to the tavern in Pepys' Diary, yet they are of great significance. The Benson referred to is Thomas Benson, who issued the farthing token in 1650. Whitelock in his Memorial of the English Affairs wrote on 12 February 1660: 'Monk drew up his forces in Finsbury, dined with the Lord Mayor, had Conference with him and the Court of Aldermen, retired to the Bull Head in Cheapside, and quartered at the Glasshouse in Broadstreet'.
What a red letter day this must have been for the Bull Head, and no wonder Pepys commented on the same events.
Thomas Benson, the issuer of the farthing token in 1650, probably held the tavern from 1641 until 1671. The initials T.E.B. represent Thomas Benson and his second wife. His first wife Sarah was buried in 1647. The Christian name of his second wife is not known.
British Tokens - 17th Century - London - Cheapside - Bull Head Tavern
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