The Great Red Lion, 26 High Street
“Greetings or should I say buongiorno, now I’m a mere server of pizza and pasta. Long gone are the days I was a proud inn, owned by nuns, looking after pilgrims visiting the town’s great shrine and abbey.
In those days I was known as The Cornerhall, then the Lyon, with a Y, and then the Great Red Lion, far greater than the other 3 Red Lions in the town. I had underground stables, a regular coach service carrying the mail to Watford and beyond – all gone when I was knocked down and rebuilt in 1896.
Such goings on have I witnessed – Thomas Coningsby, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, arrested in my yard by Oliver Cromwell’s men, feasting and celebrations by Mayors and councillors over decades and much drunkenness and pilfery too!
And then, most hurtfully, some chap called Kitton dared to insult my fine renovations, calling me an affliction, far too great and a good deal too red, just because I tower over my little wooden neighbours, the Fleur and the Christopher! The shame, the embarrassment. I think a glass of Italian vino might revive my spirits. Ah, that’s better. Ciao!”
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