Page updated 18th January 2010
Located in Clifton Road, Newtown, the name is associated with John of Gaunt (1340-99), the last surviving son of Edward III - he was probably the most powerful man in late 14th Century England. However, the Golden Lion has been used as a heraldic device since the time of Richard I (the Lion-Heart; 1157–99). Since then the three gold lions of England have been used by every English royal house until the present.
The earliest landlord listed is Stephen Hooper in 1850. John Wilcocks Scanes ran the house before January 1868, when it was transferred to Mr Richard Pearse. The next recorded transfer I have found was from John Dodd to Henry Yelland in July 1878. Henry Yelland died in September 1881 at the age of 41. The wife of Henry Hussey, the landlord in the 1890s died in 1895. Hussey was still landlord at the turn of the century when he placed an advert stating his intention, that by popular request, he would run in the forthcoming Municipal Elections.
The earliest record in the Flying Post of this Golden Lion dates from August 1857, when the death of Mrs Sarah Shute aged 89, on 25 July, at the Golden Lion, is announced.
A number of inquests were held at the Golden Lion, the earliest being recorded in June 1862 and the last in the 19th-Century in 1895. For some reason, several of the deceased succumbed to heart disease, with ruptured arteries, and spasm of the heart.
In July 1873 a ten shilling reward was offered for the return of a Honiton Lace Chemisette with lillies and butterflies. It had been lost at Newcourt, Topsham. A chemisette was a lace bib type garment that was worn beneath an open neck blouse or dress. The Golden Lion was broken into by Henry James and Albert Budd who were charged with stealing cider in May 1881; the pair were each given 10 days in prison.
There was only one property sale advertised at the Golden Lion that I found - in July 1897, 51 John Street was sold for £130. The nearby Globe Inn appears to have monopolised the hosting of auctions and property sales in Newtown.
Some landlords as listed in the trade directories:
1850 - Golden Lion,
Stephen Hooper, Clifton Road - Whites
1871 - Pearce (sic), R., golden lion p.h., clifton-st - Pocket Journal
1878 - Golden Lion, John Dodd - White's. Transferred to Henry Yelland in same year.
1897 - Golden Lion, Henry Hussey, 64 Clifton road, Exeter - Kelly's
1919-23 - Golden Lion - Clifton Rd - Sydney John Stone. Kelly's and the Post Office
1956 - Golden Lion, David J Pyle - Kelly's
David (also known as Jack) Pyle was the Secretary of the Exeter Licensed Victuallers Society.
In the early 2000s, the landlord of the Golden Lion, Paul Simons, found a teddy bear on a rubbish tip. Renamed Ted E Bear, Simons and his furry friend travelled around the world, posting to the internet at regular intervals. The pair travelled to Thailand, Canada, the USA and Egypt, becoming minor celebrities on the way, with appearances on Radio 1 and the Graham Norton Show on Channel 4.
In late 2009, it was announced by the debt laden owners, Admiral Taverns, that the Golden Lion was to close and be sold at an asking price of £275,000, for redevelopment as flats – a later report stated that there was still the possibility of the house being sold as a going concern.
Golden Lion Inn, Newtown.
Golden Lion sign.
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