Pub of the Week: If history’s your thing, this could be exactly the right pub for you

Lollards Pit pub of the week. The pub sign. Picture: Denise Bradley Lollards Pit pub of the week. The pub sign. Picture: Denise Bradley

Friday, December 20, 2013
8:55 AM

Plenty of pubs offer great food and drink, superb service, and a warm fire to snuggle up to, but the number that also have a history dating back centuries is much fewer.

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And there are not too many pubs with a more evocative name, either.

The Lollards Pit in Riverside Road, Norwich is arguably more famous for its history than for anything else.

Even the regulars like talking about what happened on the site in the Middle Ages.

The pub bosses are also keen to make the most of its heritage.

During the pub’s recent refurbishment, an old well was found in the garden, and it’s now been developed into a feature.

And bosses aim to build a replica pit on the same spot as the original pit when they carry out groundworks in the garden.

Descendants of the martyrs who died at the site live in every corner of the world, and two of them, hitherto unknown to each other, met at the pub recently.

Both were descended from the martyr, Thomas Carman, who was executed at the pit in 1558.

The two women, one from the US and one from New Zealand, are now pals on social media sites.

The privately-owned pub is managed by Jonathan ‘Billy’ Barnes, who said: “We want to get the pub back to its roots and get more history in here.”

In the new year they aim to get the kitchen up and running, and they plan to continue to support local suppliers and tradesmen.

Their real ales come from Attleborough’s Wolf Brewery, Reedham’s Humpty Dumpty and Woodfordes, from Woodbastwick, near Wroxham. And despite its recent refurbishment, the pub is still very much a traditional boozer, with a piano in the corner and prints and maps on the walls, including a view of Norwich from the 15th century, which is said to include a pub on the same site.

Directly opposite from the pub is the Red Lion in Bishopgate, and customers move between the two.

Bosses at the pubs have even agreed to share customers on Christmas Day with one opening earlier and the other closing later.

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