Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

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Ye Olde Fighting Cocks - the view along the River Ver
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks - the view from the car park

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is a public house in St Albans, Hertfordshire, which is one of several that lay claim to being the oldest in England.[1] It currently holds the official Guinness Book of Records title, but Ye Olde Man & Scythe in Bolton, Greater Manchester has claimed it is older by some 234 years. Another contender is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham which is claimed to date from the 12th century.

The main structure is free-standing and has an octagonal appearance, attributable to its original use as a pigeon house. It has been added to over the years but the original timber-framed structure is clearly visible. It was originally located close to St Albans Cathedral (when it was St Albans Abbey) and was moved to the present site after the dissolution of the Abbey in 1539. Its foundations are even older, dating from around 793. It is thought that there are tunnels running between the cathedral and the pub's beer cellars which were once used by monks.[2]

As with many old buildings, the ceilings are quite low. An original bread-oven is next to one of the fireplaces. It has a very large beer garden with different seating arrangements, as well as seats out the front.

It was originally known as "The Round House" until it was renamed "Ye Olde Fighting Cocks" probably in the 19th century, in reference to the sport of cock fighting which was popular at the time and which took place in the main bar area. It is known by locals as 'The Fighters' or 'The Cocks'.

The pub is at the end of Abbey Mill Lane beside the River Ver, just outside the perimeter of Verulamium Park, not far from St Albans Cathedral in the oldest part of the city.

The Cocks was featured in an exterior scene in "The Sins of the Fathers", a 1990 episode of the BBC series "Morse". The setting was the beer garden along the River Ver, with the pub's large sign plainly visible in the background.


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Coordinates: 51°44′56″N 0°20′50″W / 51.7489°N 0.3471°W / 51.7489; -0.3471