The Inn’s Last 800 Years Have Seen Time Stand Still
This tale is one of passion, intrigue and even of ghosts. It spans a period of 800 years and goes back to the time of the Crusaders and to the time of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood. In the year 1187 the Seljukian Turks, the Saracens, captured Jerusalem once again in the name of Islam. Incensed, the Europeans set off on a crusade to recapture the fallen city and marched to the Holy Land.
They were led by Phillip Augustus of France, and King Richard I of England and such was their zeal that even Richard sold everything he could to finance this third Crusade… church and crown lands, titles, offices of state, he levied taxes and fleeced the English Barons. But all was to no avail as Saladin, the Saracen Emperor, beat back the Christians and retained Jerusalem.
In the heart of the English Midlands, lay the city of Nottingham, where its castle built on a hill of sandstone, overlooked the Nottinghamshire countryside. Here lived the Sheriff of Nottingham, who, according to legend, was constantly plagued by his adversary, Robin Hood. The hill was riddled with a warren of caves that for many of Nottingham’s citizens was home.
The River Leen flowed by the foot of the castle hill where on the river bank a brewery house had been established in 1097 to brew for the castle occupants. Water for the beer was drawn from the river whilst the com was ground on a grindstone near the brewery. During the Third Crusade the brewery house, which by now had become an inn, was used as a resting place by knights on their journey to join their King on the Crusade.
The inn soon became known as “Ye Tryppe to Jerusalem” (the ancient English word “tryppe” stemmed from the Latin word meaning “to halt or rest”). The inn gained some notoriety when Queen Isabella, wife of King Edward II, entertained her lover Mortimer at Nottingham Castle. Romantics believed that Isabella, who had been made a virtual prisoner by the King, received Mortimer at the castle after he had gained entry by climbing the inn’s 20 meter long chimney, which was reputed to lead to a secret passageway into the castle.
Isabella eventually escaped with her lover to France from where in 1326 she overthrew her husband and subsequently caused his murder at Berkeley Castle in the English country of Gloucestershire. The inn remained the property of the castle until 1621 when James I granted a separation warrant to create what was then the smallest parish in England comprising some five houses, the brewery and a population of just thirty inhabitants.
To the rear of the building and burrowed out of the hill are two large cells that were used to keep prisoners including those who had been condemned to death. The cells still have their wrought iron gates and set in the walls are the iron rings to which the prisoners were shackled. Near the brewery yard was the gibbet from which many of those unfortunates must have swung when the due penalty of the law was carried out.
In the 19th century Nottingham Castle was burnt down and replaced by the present building. At about the same time, the Trip to Jerusalem came into the hands of the Ward family, Georgina Marshall the present licensee is a descendant of George “Yorky” Ward the first of the family to run the premises. For the inn which is said to be the oldest in England, the last 800 years have seen time stop still. The River Leen is now covered and can no longer be seen. But the inn buildings are still the same as they ever were, and even the old living accommodation above the bar is still in use. There are rooms here that Georgina has not yet seen, and that is after 15 years of living there. But perhaps that is not surprising because the inn is reputed to be haunted and even now glasses mysteriously shatter.
Author: Kalista Neoma
Tour and Travel Notes.
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