Æ Farthing. Diameter 15.6mm. THE· HERCVLVS· PILLERS around Hercules with a pillar either side. R. * IN· FLEET· STREETE around; in centre ·S· above I·M BW (London) 1095; Norweb 7072. A small weak patch, otherwise Almost Fine*. *US customers please note that this is strict British grading. Rare.
There are no fewer than 23 references to this establishment in Pepys' diary. It would seem to have been a tavern, a restaurant and also provided entertainment. Pepys would seem to have been there frequently and even taken his wife and guests there to dine 'and got very merry'.
George Berry in Taverns and Tokens of Pepys' London writes of it: 'Pepys visited this celebrated inn many times towards the end of the diary period. The identity of I.S. is not positively known. He must have been tavern keeper before 1657. His token, struck by Ramage, is early in style. Rogers suggests that the initials might stand for John Symons. The Hercules Pillars was built during James I's reign and stood on the south side of Fleet Street (No. 27), neatly opposite St Dunstans Church. It gave its name to an alley which is shown on Ogilby and Morgan's map of 1677.'
The site is now occupied by a hotel, and a lawyer's outfitters.
John Locke knew the tavern. He describes some drinks with peculiar names such as wormwood ale and scurry (sic) grass ale.
British Tokens - 17th Century - London - Fleet Street - Hercules Pillars Tavern
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