The pub beneath this sign is one of a tiny number that claim to be the oldest hostelry in the UK; maybe its almost blank sign is to help emphasise its age.
It is believed to have been first licensed is 1756, which puts it in tight competition with a few others in the country but it was acknowledged as being the oldest by the Guinness Book of Records.
This slightly odd shaped pub, originally a pigeon house dating back to around 1400, was moved to this location at the edge of the River Ver, around 200 years later.
It is believed that Oliver Cromwell spent a night here in the 1640s, during the Civil War between king and parliament. Cromwell and his men won a battle against the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire in the High Street, the sheriff was arrested and I guess Cromwell then had a choice of accommodation. His horse got to spend the night in what is now the bar area of this pub.
In the 17th and 18th century it gained fame as the local centre for cock fighting, but was renamed The Fisherman in 1849 when cock fighting was made illegal.
It is now known as Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and is just a brief walk from St Albans Cathedral – the ideal spot for a quick historic break if you’re visiting the local sights.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 23 April 2016