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March 05, 2009
I’m in Nottingham when I should be in Newark and it’s all because of the trip to Jerusalem. Funny, how an innocent remark can lead you to unintended places.
Returning one day from the Newark-on-Trent antiques fair, I happened to mention to my cab driver, a certain Mr. R., formerly of the Royal Marines, that I had once stopped in at the Blue Man, a pub by the train station.
“Rubbish,” he replied. “Next time, I’ll take you to a real pub.”
Never one to shy away from adventure, I accepted the offer. I can’t recall, however, whether he mentioned that his pub was 40 miles away in Nottingham.
Reputed to be England’s oldest pub, The Trip to Jerusalem is hollowed out of the solid rock upon which stands Nottingham castle. The pub contains a honeycomb of caves and a secret passage through which Edward III’s men seized Roger de Mortimer in 1330. Apparently, Mortimer’s crime was making love to Queen Isabella.
What’s in a name? It would seem a considerable amount of confusion.
In 1070, the inn was called the Pilgrim. Then, in 1189, the name changed after an advance party of the Second Crusade bound for the Holy Land dropped in for a pint. Some maintain that the old English “tryppe” meant to stay or stop. Others contend that the word never meant anything of the sort, and that records of the name don’t appear until the 18th century. More likely, the premises belonged to the brew house that served the castle whose construction began in the 11th century.
Either way, the place is full of atmosphere, great beer and mouthwatering food.
I polish off a pint of Guinness and a giant Yorkshire pudding filled with roast beef. I happily concede to knowledgeable Mr. R. that it’s a much better place than the Blue Man.
Care to venture an opinion on your favorite pub?