Old Little Wymondley pub sign depicting Henry VIII discovered in village garden
PUBLISHED: 14:02 26 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:50 28 January 2019
An old sign from a Little Wymondley pub depicting Henry VIII has been found in a back garden in the village.
The Bucks Head pub in Stevenage Road dates back to the 16th century, and one of its old signs was found after Wymondley Scrapbook leader Robbie Howard was told it was in a back garden in the village by a previous employee.
“I could not believe it but arranged to photograph it, so the image could be shared with the members of our scrapbook,” he said.
The sign was in the back garden of Michelle Nichols, who explained: “I worked there for years and when the brewery decided to change the sign I asked if I could have the sign otherwise it would probably have been destroyed.
“Ever since it has been proudly displayed in my back garden.”
It is not clear why Henry VIII appears on the sign but, according to local legend, when the former King of England was young and fit, he believed he could pole vault over Hitchin’s River Hiz.
However, when he attempted the feat he was too heavy and the pole snapped, sending him falling into the river.
Another story claims that a man helped Henry out the river after he fell from his horse which had been scared by a buck.
The man who helped him is said to have been granted the generous sum of six pence a year for life by the grateful monarch.
Robbie is hoping that someone will know more about the story, saying: “If anyone knows more about this Henry VIII story or why the incident would be commemorated in Little Wymondley we would love to know.”
Having become the new owner of the sign, Robbie decided to gift it to former landlady Sheila Reeve, who ran the pub with her late husband Alec for 35 years.
“I am delighted and will restore it with care,” she said.
“I have had advice already on how to restore it properly so will take it on as a project in the spring.
“The sign we now own was commissioned by Alec , probably 50 years ago. I’m not sure what happened to the previous sign.
“I’ve had a great response from my family who have seen it. I am very pleased to have it back in the family, so thank you very much.”
The Wymondley Scrapbook group will be celebrating its first anniversary at The Bucks Head on Saturday, April 6, from 2.30pm to 5pm.