Essex Serpent, 6 King street, Covent Garden WC2

Covent Garden index

Existed from at least 1805. ON the south side of King Street there still exists a most curious sign for a tavern — the " Essex Serpent," at No. 6. There can hardly be any doubt that this is a very old taverner*s sign, dating from soon after the formation of the street itself. In the British Museum Library there is a unique pamphlet which evidently relates to this " Essex Serpent" * " One of the most venomous Serpents in former time," says the narrative, "lurked about the Meads near Saffron Walden, in Essex, who by his very sight killed so many as the town became almost depopulated, when a valerous knight, making him a Coat of Christal Glass, boldly went to assail this Cockatrice, but her venomous Nature not able to indure the purity of that fine metal, she suddenly dyed, in memory whereof his Sword was hung up in Walden Church, the effigies of the Cockatrice set up in Brass, and a Table hanged close by, wherein was continued all the story of the adventure ; but in these late times of Rebellion, it being taken for a monument of superstition, was by the lawless Souldiers broken in pieces, to show they were also of venomous Nature as well as the Cockatrice."

The terrifying attributes of the Cockatrice, or Basilisk, as this Essex Serpent was also called, were enough to curdle the blood in the veins of the hardiest peasantry. He is described as the most venomous of all the serpent tribe : " It breaketh stones, blasteth all Plants with his breath, it bumeth everything it goeth over ; no Herb can grow near the place of his abode, it is poison to poison, and frighteth away all other Serpents, only with a hissing. If a man touch it though with a long pole it kills him, and if it see a man a far off it destroys him with its looks. It is not above a foot in length, of colour between black and yellow, having very red eyes, a sharp head, and a white spot hereon like a Crown. It goeth not winding like other Serpents, but upright on his breast."

Historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels.

Essex Serpent, 6 King Street, WC2 - in November 2008

Essex Serpent, 6 King Street, WC2 - in November 2008

Kindly provided by Stephen Harris

Residents at this address

1805/William Nurse, the Essex Serpent, King street, Covent garden/../../Holdens Directory

April 1809/William Nurse, 6 King Street, Covent Garden victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records held at the LMA

June 1817/William Nurse, 6 King Street, Covent Garden victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records held at the LMA

February 1818/William Nurse, 6 King Street, Covent Garden victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records held at the LMA

February 1820/Peter Clark, 6 King Street, Covent Garden victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records held at the LMA

1825/Mr. Turpin, Old Essex Serpent, King street, Covent Garden/../../Licensed Victuallers Association

February 1823/William Turpin of the Essex Serpent, King Street Covent Garden victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records held at the LMA

May 1833/William Turpin, of the 'Essex Serpent' 6 King Street Covent Garden, victualler/../../Sun Fire Insurance records held at the LMA

1833-34/William Turpin, Essex Serpent, 6 King Street, Covent garden/../../Pigots Directory

1839/William Turpin/../../../Pigots Directory

1848/William Turpin/../../../Post Office Directory

1851/William Turpin/../../../Kellys Directory

1851/William B Turpin/Licensed Victualler/32/St Pauls, Westminster, Middlesex/Census
1851/Mary Turpin/Wife/33/Dulwich, Surrey/Census
1851/Mary A Turpin/Daughter/9/St Pauls, Westminster, Middlesex/Census
1851/Elizabeth Webb/Barmaid/26/Dulwich, Surrey/Census
1851/kate Grylls/Barmaid/17/Somers Town, Middlesex/Census
1851/Ann Stone/General Servant/26/Westerham, Kent/Census
1851/Charles Prentice/Waiter/35/Colchester, Essex/Census
1851/John Brown/Waiter/29/Westminster, Middlesex/Census

April 1854/William Boxall Turpin and Francis Peachey/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era Newspaper

April 1854/the said William Boxall Turpin/Incoming Licensee/../../Era Newspaper

1856/Thomas G Bartlett/../../../Post Office Directory

1861/Joseph Brown/Licensed Victualler/49/Boston, Lincoln/Census
1861/Mary Ann Brown/Wife/45/Boston, Lincoln/Census
1861/Joseph Brown/Son, Watch Finisher/18/Boston, Lincoln/Census
1861/Susan Brown/Daughter/20/Boston, Lincoln/Census
1861/Fanny Rowe/Servant/22/Blyford, Suffolk/Census
1861/John Keeley/Potman/23/St james, Westminster/Census

1867/Augustus Freeman/../../../Licensed Victuallers Association

1869/Augustus Freeman/../../../Post Office Directory

1871/Augustus Freeman/Licensed Victualler/35/Cheltenham, Gloucester/Census
1871/Elizabeth Warrington/House Keeper/25/London, Middlesex/Census
1871/Susan Dawkins/General Servant/51/Much Marle?, Gloucester/Census
1871/Susan Dawkins/Visitor/17/London, Middlesex/Census
1871/Lewis Saunders/Pot Man/20/London, Middlesex/Census

1873/August Freeman/../../../Post Office Directory **

1881/August Freeman/Licensed Victualler, Widow/49/Tewkesbury, Gloucester/Census
1881/Ellen Freeman/Daughter/16/London, Middlesex/Census
1881/Mrs King/Housekeeper, Widow/30/London, Middlesex/Census
1881/Jane Quine/General Servant/29/London, Middlesex/Census

1882/August Freeman/../../../Post Office Directory

1885/August Freeman/../../../Post Office Directory **

1899/August Freeman/../../../Post Office Directory

1900/Henry Carman & Charles Gainsford/../../../Post Office Directory **

In 1921 census at 6 King Street, St Paul Covent Garden
Charles Gainsford, Licensed Victualler, aged 57 years 3 months, and born in Ealing, Middlesex, Employer
Ellen Gainsford, Wife, aged 56 years, and born in Covent Garden, London
Norah Gainsford, Daughter, Assisting Father In Business, C Gainsford, aged 27 years, and born in Brentford, Middlesex
Doris Gainsford, Daughter, Assisting Father In Business, C Gainsford, aged 20 years 6 months, and born in Covent Garden, London
Minnie Freeman, Sister-in-law, Assisting In Business, C Gainsford, aged 54 years 10 months, and born in Covent Garden, London
Ada James, Cook, C Gainsford, aged 49 years 5 months, and born in London SE

1927/Charles Gainsford, Essex Serpent, 6 King street, Covent garden WC2/../../Post Office Directory

1938/Cyril A Williams/../../../Post Office Directory


** Provided By Stephen Harris

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