Castle Inn, 8 Broadgate
|These premises have been known by different names during their history:||FROM||TO||NAME|
|This has been a common pub name for centuries. It is tempting to connect it with the phrase 'an Englishman's home is his castle', a phrase which has been in use since the seventeenth century, but it is more likely to refer to either:
a. Coventry Castle.
b. the castle in the City Coat of Arms.
c. a simple visual sign, easy to illustrate and easy for patrons to recognise.
The origins of this establishment are lost in distant times. The first record I have dates from 1729. In 1756 eight soldiers were billeted here. In 1763 the Castle was robbed by the 'Coventry Gang'. These were four members of a 200-strong London gang: John Duplex (alias Phillips), William Pallister (alias Ogden), Margaret Brown (alias Ogden or Anderson) and an unnamed woman. They gained the name 'The Coventry Gang' because this is where they were apprehended and hanged. On the day of the Coventry Great Fair in 1763 they stabled their horses at the Cranes and went to the Castle. Here, because they were stylishly dressed and had ridden good horses, they were shown to an upstairs room. In this room stood a bureau containing a considerable sum of money. As the landlord, Mr. Bayley, entered the room, one of the men seized him, whilst the others made off with a large amount of cash and plate. One of the thieves was apprehended outside the Castle; the other three made good their escape. The pursuit was then taken up by Coventry's Alderman Hewitt, a renowned thief catcher. They were pursued to Leicester and taken into custody. All four were hanged, and within two years Hewitt was responsible for the destruction of the whole London gang. At this time the Coventry market was still held in Broadgate. In 1853 a Company was formed for the promotion of a Corn Exchange, which up until this time was held in the open street outside the Castle Inn on Fridays. On December 2nd 1867 the last ever street market was held in Broadgate. From then on the market was held in the newly built Market Hall behind the Castle. According to Poole, a great block of ancient houses bounded by Smithford Street, Broadgate and the Castle Inn was taken down in 1820. This is where the Market Hall was built, so why the forty year gap between the demolition and the opening of the Market Hall? In 1824 the Castle Inn was the meeting place of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire (Freemasons). In 1858 Charles Dickens was entertained to dinner at the Castle with seventy gentlemen. He was presented with a specially engraved Coventry-made Rotherham's watch, which he used for the rest of his life. So the cult of celebrity was already thriving then. At least celebrities had some claim to abilities then! This pub closed c1882 and was replaced by the Castle Vaults, Market Street.
The Castle Hotel, c1860. (Joseph Wingrave photograph.)
LICENSEES:1763 Mr. Bayley 1850 - 1868 John Hall 1879 Henry Edmund Florence
OWNERS:1729 E. Hyde 1746 T. Birch 1812 William White
Street plan of 1851