The meaning behind Swindon’s most unique pub names

While locals have probably overheard someone ask whether you want to spend the evening in the Rat Trap or take a visit to Sally Pussey’s, it certainly wouldn’t be uncommon for non-locals to do a double-take at these phrases.

The stories behind some of these oddly-named Swindon pubs have been lost over time but for many others, the pub’s name demonstrates how it’s evolved and become unique to the community.

So ignoring the Red Lions and White Harts, we’ve picked out just a few of the Swindon area’s most uniquely-named pubs and revealed the history behind how they got their names.

The history behind Swindon’s weirdest pub names

The Rat Trap

Swindon Advertiser:

Surrounded by pubs such as The Crown Inn and The Wheatsheaf, Stratton’s Rat Trap certainly stands out as unusual.

Located on Highworth Road, the Rat Trap is surrounded by stories from the origins of its name to its uniquely designed carpets.

According to pub owners Arkells, this pub was originally named the Speed the Plough pub and was run by no-nonsense landlady Fanny Stroud in the later 1800s.

To ensure that her customers paid their accounts promptly, Fanny would simply lock her customers in the pub on payday until they paid up.

Locals soon began to nickname the pub The Rat Trap because of Fanny’s harsh but foolproof methods and this began to be used interchangeably with its official name.

Arkells embraced the name officially during a refurbishment and installed an unusual Pied Piper motif into the carpet of the lounge to supposedly echo the story.

The Jovial Monk

Swindon Advertiser:

Located in Blunsdon St Andrew, the Jovial Monk has a pretty unusual name for a pub that was only built in November 2000.

The name The Jovial Monk was actually suggested by local resident Andrew Batch who emailed his suggestion to the brewery when he heard they were brainstorming for names.

Although there were no monks located in Blunsdon St Andrew in 2000, the name makes reference to the monastery that supposedly used to look over the area.

The owners also say they chose the name because they just felt it would bring a smile to customers’ faces.

The pub sign now features ‘monk’ caricatures of the chairman of the brewery, James Arkell, managing director George Arkell and the late Peter Arkell, who officially drank the first pint there.

Sally Pussey’s Inn

Swindon Advertiser:

Sally Pussey has become a familiar name to Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon locals, but many people wrongly attribute the name to Aunt Sally from TV show Worzel and Gummidge.

The pub is actually named after legendary landlady Sarah Purse.

Sarah, who was nicknamed Sally by regulars and whose surname Purse was often pronounced by Wiltshire locals as Puss, took up work as a ‘beer-house keeper’ at ‘the Wheatsheaf’ in 1841.

Despite being only 5ft 1in, the fearless Sarah would physically “put out” burly customers who would come in after a long day building the Great Western Railway line.

She became somewhat of a local legend with a great reputation among her regulars during her 40-year reign, and for that reason, the pub was renamed in her memory in 1971.

The name now draws in many intrigued passersby as well as Swindon and Bassett regulars.

The Glue Pot

Swindon Advertiser:

It’s not uncommon for UK pubs to be named after monarchs or animals, but there aren’t many that are named after a pot of glue.

But when you walk into The Glue Pot, located just five minutes from Swindon’s Railways Station, it becomes very clear that it is a pub fully celebrating its gluey history.

The traditional coaching inn is named after the glue pots that nearby coachbuilders would bring into the pub at lunchtime in the 1800s and place on the central stove to keep warm.

Not only is the pub’s heritage remembered in its name, but the old-fashioned glue pots scattered on tabletops and the benches and tables designed to feel like old railway carriages make customers feel as if they’ve stepped back in time.

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