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Chequers, Gosford Street

This is an ancient tavern sign which was probably brought to England by the Romans. Evidence from Pompeii suggests that it was already in use there, perhaps referring to a game such as draughts played on the premises. The sign was later associated with a money-table and indeed the word 'exchequer' originally meant a kind of chess board. Some inns may have used the sign to indicate that they were ready to change money or act as bankers in some way. A heraldic connection is that the head of the Fitzwarrens, whose coat of arms showed chequered squares, had the privilege of licensing alehouses in the reign of Edward IV. In 1756 two soldiers were billeted here.

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