Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
Here is little potted history of our pub and the local area... if you have a spare minute or two and maybe a cup of tea (or is that a G&T), we think it's well worth read.
Some local history which may explain the origins of the pub name
The Red Lion is one of the commonest pub names in England, and is usually associated with the coat of arms of a prominent local family.
In this case, we read that the heraldic symbol of the lion in Longdon Green is first associated with the Folliott family, who had been granted the manor of Longdon before 1166 by the Abbot of Westminister.
The estate passed through the Folliott family until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, when in 1563 Henry VIII granted Longdon manor to Sir William Paget, 1st Baron Paget and Earl of Uxbridge, a close adviser to the monarch and forebear of the Marquess of Anglesey. He was also granted the manors of Cannock, Rugeley, Haywood, Beaudesert and Abbots Bromley, among others.
The Paget family themselves, who were subsequently made the Marquesses of Anglesey, also adopted the heraldic lion as a significant part of their own coat of arms. The seat of the Paget family was a palace on the south and eastern side of Cannock Chase known as Beaudesert (translated as ‘beautiful wilderness’), which was less than two miles from Longdon Green.
It is not clear if the Red Lion pub was named as a reference to the heraldic lion in the Paget family coat of arms, but it is not an unreasonable assumption. As the most important local family who held the manor of Longdon, it is interesting to explore a little of the history of this colourful family.
Perhaps one of the most prominent member of the Paget family was Henry Paget, Earl of Uxbridge, who was a great military commander who gained fame at the battle of Waterloo leading the charge of the heavy cavalry against d’Erlon’s column. As he was riding off the field with the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Uxbridge’s leg was smashed by grapeshot, causing him to remark with characteristic understatement: ‘By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!’ – to which Wellington responded, with equal sang froid: ‘By God, sir, so you have!’ He refused to leave the field, however, until the day was won.
His leg was afforded its own funeral, and subsequent to the action, in 1815 Henry Paget was created Marquess of Anglesey.
The family held many distinguished posts in government throughout the 19th century, until we arrive at Henry Cyril Paget, the 5th Marquess of Anglesey (1875 – 1905). Henry inherited the title in 1898, along with some 30,000 acres in Staffordshire, Dorset, Anglesey and Derbyshire, providing an annual income of £110,000 (equivalent to £55 million pa today)
The 5th Marquess was an extraordinary Oscar Wildean character who became known as ‘The Dancing Marquess” on account of his ‘sinuous, sexy, snake-like dances’. When he inherited the title, Henry went on a ruinous spending spree: in just six years, he blew the equivalent of almost half a billion pounds, buying mountains of jewels and rooms full of extravagant clothing, along the way commissioning a car modelled after a Pullman railcar, complete with leather armchairs and side tables, chandeliers, and a baroque carved ceiling. The exhaust pipe was modified to spray scent: sometimes violet, sometimes patchouli, and sometimes l’eau d’Espagne.
He turned the family chapel into a 150-seat theatre, named The Gaity, which was modelled on the Opera House at Dresden. Initially performances were in front of the servants, but then he hired a professional theatre company from London, tempting star actors with vastly inflated salaries.
He reserved small but colourful parts for himself, which required constant changes into different silk costumes, all sparkling with turquoise jewels and diamonds, and a head-dress of ostrich feathers: a platoon of dressers was needed for each performance.
In other shows he was Little Boy Blue, aglow with diamonds from head to foot, and in most performances he would have the stage to himself at some point to flit and fly as he performed his "Butterfly Dance".
A contemporary newspaper report states ‘It is possibly true that he spent £100,000 for one costume alone – the main value being, of course, in the gems with which it was adorned. This was his famous dress in ‘Aladdin,’ produced regardless of expense at the Anglesey Theatre. It was composed of thousands of brilliants stitched to a sort of suit of filmy gauze, which covered him from head to foot. His body, his arms, his legs, and even his head were aglow with the blaze of jewels. About his neck was a string of diamonds, his shoulders were ornamented with bows of them, and tassels of gems swung at his knees.’
‘In this costume he did a butterfly dance, for which he was arrayed in a voluminous robe of transparent white silk. Through this flimsy drapery his slender jeweled legs fitfully appeared, and as he waved the wings he was enveloped in colored lights thrown up from below the great plate glass upon which he went through his antics.”
Later, he took the company on tour, with scenery and an orchestra. Fifty people and five truckloads of luggage, costumes and theatre paraphernalia set off around Europe, the Dancing Marquess sitting proudly in his own car surrounded by baggage, with his jewel case containing £30,000 (£15million now) of gems.
He married his cousin, Lilian Florence Maud Chetwynd, seemingly to keep their aggregate fortune in the family. She was absolutely beautiful, with pale green eyes and red-gold Titian hair and as a wedding present, he bought his new wife a galaxy of gems.
Then, on their honeymoon, when she stopped and gazed at a jeweller's window display in Paris, he went inside and bought the entire stock for her. He then made her wear them to the races, which embarrassed her and prompted her life-long aversion to jewellery and opulence in general. In private, too, she was embarrassed - her husband liked to view his emeralds, his rubies, his diamonds displayed on her naked body. But he didn't lay a finger on her.
The marriage was unconsumated, and Lilian left him only three years into their marriage and had it annulled. His spending spree continued and, only six years after inheriting the estate from his father, he was forced to mortgage the estate and sell his jewels, still falling deep into bankruptcy. The auction he held to raise money lasted 40 days, with over 17,000 lots.
In some extraordinary deal with his creditors, he managed to keep £3,000 (today about £150,000) per year to live on for the rest of his life. He moved to France and was trying to figure out a way to regain the family fortune, but only five months later he caught pneumonia and died. He was only 29 years old.
The title passed to his cousin, who immediately turned the theatre on the estate back into a chapel and burned all of Henry's papers. However, the damage to the estate was so great that it all had to be broken up and sold in the 1930s. Beaudesert house was subsequently demolished.
So that is a bit of local colour, and it is fascinating to think that this was all happening just a couple of miles down the road, and just about in living memory.
We are very pleased to report that the Marquesate is still going strong, however: the eighth Marquess succeeded to the title in 2013.
Quite apart from the origins of the name of the pub, there are few details of the property itself or when it was built.
There is an elaborately named book published in 1834 documenting the county of Staffordshire, titled, “History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Staffordshire: And the City and County of the City of Lichfield, Comprising ... a General Survey of the County of Stafford and the Diocese of Lichfield & Coventry; with Separate Historical, Statistical, & Topographical Descriptions of All the Boroughs, Towns, Parishes, Villages, Hamlets, Manors, and Liberties, in the Five Hundreds of the Shire ...” by William Whitelisted.
In this august tome, a survey of the village of Longdon Green includes:
John Grimley of the Red Lion, Victualler
Thomas Nash of the Red Lion, Wheelwright and Victualler
In those days it was common practice for innkeepers, or victuallers, to have more than one occupation.
It is also known that the Tatlow family used to run this public house in the late 19th Century.
Before Essex boy Paul joined us and took the reigns at the Red Lion, he worked at our sister pub, Old Hall in Sandbach. There he was the resident cellar dweller beer monkey and responsible for all things drinky, all traits that we admire and are more than welcome here in Longdon Green. In a previous life, Paul was a singer, DJ and manager in the countries biggest rollerskating rink. If you don't believe us you can see him flaunt his skating skills on the Sky One ident, he's the one in the green t-shirt. He is easy-going, friendly and loves a chat at the bar over a pint of the black stuff or a nice malt whisky.
A rural Lincolnshire lad by heart, Andy or ‘Crispy’ as he is affectionately known to many, started his working life with a well known vodka brand. Having mastered the arts of vodka and cocktail making, he moved on to various catering operations gaining knowledge and experience. Along with his passion for food and drink, Andy spends his time hitting the trails on his beloved mountain bike around The Chase.
Kat first joined B&P in 2014 when we opened the Red Lion in Lichfield after gaining over five years’ previous experience working at a popular local brasserie so she certainly knows her way around all things front of house. As well as working as a member of the management team at the Physician, Kat is also studying forensic biology at Uni. but loves spending time in the pub on both sides of the bar generally socialising and trying out new dishes. Kat enjoys forensically testing a good gin which is an important part of her studies – so she tells us!
Emma is known in the kitchen as Mummy and likes drawing faces on her belly. Don't ask. She hails from Wolverhampton and has come from another sister pub, the Fox in Newport. She has a passion for food and is always happy, never more so than with an espresso in one hand and a pint of Aspalls in the other.
Junior Chef de Partie
Danielle is our lady on desserts and she's as sweet as the creations we serve. She hails from Walsall and has come to us from another well known pub chain. Dani admits she's a bit of a book worm, loves travelling and is happy relaxing with a fruity cider in hand.
Julie's Lichfield born and bred and her background is in hairdressing and barbering, which must be where is learnt the art of chatter! She's a real sweetie but don't be fooled by her work persona: Julie is a rock chick at heart and secretly enjoys a bit of a party. She's an animal lover with a soft spot for dogs and admits she may enjoy their company more than that of some humans!
Helen is rarely found without a packet of biscuits in hand which she will happily share if you ask her nicely! She's a true grafter and when not at one of her various cleaning jobs, her three sons make sure she is kept busy. She enjoys relaxing with a glass of Sauv Blanc - when she eventually gets the chance...
Use the calendar to book a table. If the time you''re after is not available, give us a call and we will try our best to fit you in. We keep some tables for phone bookings.