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Golden Fleece pubs

A standing live ram held by a hoisting belt

The Golden Fleece represents the wool trade and was a popular name for English pubs that were meeting places for people associated with the wool trade. A standing live ram held by a hoisting belt was the emblem adopted by the Duke of Burgundy. Early lodges of freemasons took the name of the pub where they met.

The Romans introduced hot baths, straight roads and pubs. Roadside inns opened at regular stages, where travellers could find food, drink and sometimes a bed for the night. Later, travellers sought overnight accommodation in the many monasteries.

After Henry VIII destroyed the monasteries and sold off the monastic lands, pubs associated themselves with the predominant trade in a district as a way of gathering custom, such as the Golden Fleece (for the local wool trade). Pubs were meeting places and often acted as unofficial employment exchanges. A craftsman moving to the area would seek out a pub where the landlord could introduce him to an employer or extend credit until he established himself in business. Landlords regularly offered banking services to customers and allowed employers to pay their workers on the premises. By the 18th century, the larger inns had become sophisticated commercial centres with strong rooms, storage facilities and lines of credit for businessmen.

York, UK

Golden FLeece, York

Golden Fleece is one of the oldest coaching inns in York and is mentioned in 1503.

Before 1557 it belonged to the Merchant Adventurers whose ancient hall is behind the Inn. The adventurers were responsible for the woollen trade with York being the principle woollen centre outside the capital in medieval times. The present sign appears on a half penny inscribed: "ye golden fleece 1668".

John Peckett owned the Inn and in 1702 became Lord Mayor of York. The yard became a coaching station for travel between York - Manchester - Liverpool. Many couriers also worked form the fleece.

By the 19th Century the inn was usually called the 'Fleece'.

The whole building is wooden framed and originally had three gables into the street.

There once was a wide entrance to the front, the original arch now surrounds the front door and window. The old entrance is recorded in a 1910 photo with the sign saying "Golden Fleece Hotel". Next door is the picturesque Sir Thomas Herbeists house which he bought from the Adventurers in 1557. On the otherside was a banqueting hall where Charles II was entertained by Lord Mayor Roger Jacques in 1639.

During WWI the fleece seemed to have been a popular drinking place for the army. In 1915 the landlord was taken to court for allowing soldiers to drink outside the hours permitted by military orders.

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Dover, USA

Built in 1730s, Golden Fleece Tavern was the meeting place for American Rebels during the Revolution and served as a wartime communications hub. The Golden Fleece was the meeting place of the Delaware Assembly's Upper House until 1791. The Golden Fleece is where the vote was taken and passed to ratify the U.S. Constitution in December 1787, Delaware was the very first state to ratify the Constitution.

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The Fleece Inn at Bretforton

The Fleece Inn at Bretforton A pub steeped in history like The Fleece, has many stories to tell. Its historical significance to the Cotswolds and the Vale of Evesham is immense. Owned by the Byrd family since the days of Chaucer, it was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1977.

The Fleece Inn at Bretforton is proud to host The Vale of Evesham Annual Asparagus Festival in association with the British Asparagus Association and Wychavon District Council. Featured on "Robbie Coltrane’s B Road Britain".

The Fleece, Witney

The Fleece, Witney The Fleece is a fine Georgian building overlooking the expanse of Witney's beautiful Church Green. Reputedly a favourite watering-hole of Dylan Thomas, when he lived in South Leigh, it has twice been voted one of the top twenty pubs in the UK.

Provenance is key to serving trustworthy food. Coffee is ethically sourced from Guatemala (by Union Coffee Roasters, recently voted No. 1 ethical coffee company) and the bespoke furniture is made from European oak and iroko timber from sustainable forests. The Fleece operates as energy efficiently as possible in consultation with the Carbon Trust.

The Fleece, Bristol

Bristol's largest and best independent venue, The Fleece hosts a massive variety of live music.

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