The Blue Boar’s Head, King Street, Westminster


A farthing token issued in the name of the Boar's Head in King Street, Westminster

A farthing token issued in the name of the Boar’s Head in King Street, Westminster

The above copper farthing token measures 15.7 mm and weighs 0.94 grams. It was issued in the name of Blue Boar’s Head tavern which was located on the west side of King Street in St. Margaret’s Parish, Westminster. The design of the token may be formally described as follows;

Obverse: (star) THE.BORS.HEAD.IN.KINGS, around twisted wire inner circle, boar’s head looking left within.

Reverse: (star) STREETE.WESTMINSTER , around twisted wire inner circle, triad comprising I |.W.|(rosette) D within.

The initials of the couple that ran The Blue Boar’s Head tavern at the time the token was issued, a Mr. “J/I.W.” and his wife Mrs.” D.W.” as yet have not been identified.

The style of this farthing token would suggest an early date in the series, possibly 1650 to 55.

The location of Boar's Head Yard off King Street, Westminster (c.1720)

The location of the Blue Boar’s Head Yard off King Street, Westminster (c.1720)

The Blue Boar’s Head was of the oldest established tavern in the Parish of St. Margaret’s, Westminster.  It dated back to the late 14th Century. Extensions in 1396 and 1401 gave it 16 bedchambers which were sumptuously furnished. It was located adjacent to a yard which bore its name and which connected the narrow and congested King Street on its eastern side with De La Haye Street to its west.

Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, gave a suite of apartments in King Street to his mother. She lived here until her death in 1654. These apartments are understood to have been located on the north side of the Blue Boar’s Head Yard adjacent to the tavern.

Owing to its narrowness and want of light and air, and the crowded courts by which it was hemmed in on either side, King Street was among the first parts of Westminster to suffer from the plague in 1665. On its appearance, so close to the gates of the royal palace, Charles II and his courtiers, left Whitehall for the comparative safety of Oxford.

The Blue Boar's Head - A mid 19th century view of the inn post its re-building in the mid 18th century

The Blue Boar’s Head – A mid 19th century view of the inn post its re-building in the mid 18th century

The construction of Westminster Bridge and Great George Street in 1750 led to the demolition of the old Blue Board’s Head tavern and its stable yard, which were rebuilt a short distance to the north at what was to become 34, Kings Street, Westminster. It was finally demolished, along with what was left of King Street, in 1899.

1 Comment

Filed under Tokens from West of the City Walls

One response to “The Blue Boar’s Head, King Street, Westminster

  1. Pingback: The Bell Tavern in King Street, Westminster | Mr. Pepys' Small Change

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