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Ye Olde Salutation Inn team


the Salutation team, left to right: Neil Moore (licensee), Polly Sanders (duty manager) and Lianne Ferguson (one of the bar team)

Neil Moore, Polly Sanders and Lianne Ferguson are trying to prove that theirs is the oldest pub in Nottingham.

Polly takes Tony Robinson and Dr Tony Waltham into the caves beneath the pub for an expert analysis. According to Tony W, these caves would have been good for beer, but they wouldn't have been used for living in or for cockfights or tanning. The floor of the deepest cave suggests that it was used as an icehouse.

The team meets Adrian Henstock, principal archivist of the Nottinghamshire Record Office. They examine deeds going back to 1829 and directories that date to 1799, and then look in the card index under 'pubs'.

Polly and the two Tonys visit this exhibition beneath the Broad Marsh shopping centre, to see what a real tanning cave looks like.

Polly, Anna and Lianne examine a map of 1744, and then the Nottingham Calendar of Recognizances of Innkeepers, dating 1756-69. They find that a George Bennett is listed as landlord in 1769 and a Samuel Walkden in 1756. They decide to look for wills and probates in these names.

Neil, accompanied by Dr Philip Dixon, reader in medieval archaeology, look at the crown post roof, which, says Phil, would have a date no later than 1450. In fact, the dendrochronological date for the building has been recorded as 1440.

Adrian Henstock suggests that the Salutation team looks at fire insurance records. They find the name of the landlord in 1725, Samuel Hudson. Further searches result in Hudson's will and a very detailed probate inventory of the pub. Adrian advises Neil and Lianne to look under Jew Lane and St Nicholas' Street in an index. They find references to two manorial rolls from 1414 and order them.

When the documents arrive, they discover that one refers to a vintner's that isn't the Salutation, but the other does relate to the pub. The fact that this document has an earlier date (1414) than the building (1440) means that an earlier building once occupied the site.

Ye Olde Salutation Inn's version of its history

Ye Olde Salutation Inn, 15 June 1998