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An Ale-stake

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The bibulium, that is to say, the ale-house or tavern, displayed its sign for all men to see: the ivy-garland, or wreath of vine-leaves, in honour of Bacchus, wreathed around a hoop at the end of a projecting pole. This bold advertisment of good drink to be had within long outlasted Roman times, and indeed still survives in differing forms, in the signs of existing inns. It became the “ale-stake” of Anglo-Saxon and middle English times.

The traveller recognised the ale-stake at a great distance, by reason of its long pole—the “stake” whence those old beer-houses derived their name—projecting from the house-front, with its mass of furze, or garland of flowers, or ivy-wreath, dangling at the end. But the ale-houses that sold good drink little needed such signs, a circumstance that early led to the old proverb, “Good wine needs no bush.”

Author
The Old Inns of Old England, Volume I (of 2)
A Picturesque Account of the Ancient and Storied Hostelries of Our Own Country
Author and illustrator: Charles G. Harper
Published in 1906
Available from gutenberg.org
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