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Here is what we think is the only comprehensive record of pubs and beerhouses within the Coventry city boundaries going back as far as available records allow. This is an ongoing project so contributions, corrections or additions to this archive, especially anecdotes, photos and media are most welcome. Feel free to contact us for a pint and a chat anytime.

The Bird in Hand

The proverbial saying, 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is of great antiquity and may have suggested this sign, a popular one since the seventeenth century. Traditionally it was illustrated by a mailed fist on which a falcon was perched.

In 1889 this pub was owned by the Corporation of the Sons of the Clergy, whoever they were! It was leased by Phipps Brewery of Northampton for 21 years for £37 per anum. At some time later it became an Atkinsons pub and then M&B. In 1977 M&B swapped it to Courage in the national pub swaps.

Note that one of the nineteenth century licensees John Sephton, was also a boat builder on the canal. The majority of the Coventry Sephtons appear to be descended from James Sephton, also a canal boatbuilder, who arrived in the Hawkesbury area c1805 from Shardlow in Derbyshire.

Research by 'philex31' on the Historic Coventry forum would suggest that the Sephtons and their extended family had connections with many of the pubs in the Longford area: Boat (Blackhorse Road), Boat (Grange Road), Greyhound, Elephant & Castle, Miners Arms, Green Man, Old Crown (Windmill Road), New Inn, Saracens Head, Coach & Horses, Engine. Also, away from Longford were the Park Gate Hotel and the New Inn (Stockingford). Somewhat at odds with this boozy background, other family members operated temperance hotels in the city centre (The Victoria, Warwick Row and The Priory, Bayley Lane).
Known Licensees are;
1861 Frederick Barnett
1863 John Simpson
1866 - 1868 Mrs Hannah Simpson
1874 - 1892 John Sephton also a boat builder at Hawkesbury and Tusses Bridge
1900 Mrs Mary Jackson
1904 George Moore
1908 John Slee
1912 William Ford
1924 - 1940 William Bennett
1955 - 1962 Frederick C. Reeve
1985 Greg Barrett

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