14. The Bull Hotel
The Bull Hotel
The famous rival to the Cock Hotel was its near neighbour, The Bull. It was here that the great fire started in 1742 when a chambermaid, afraid of being reprimanded for burning a sheet whilst ironing it, stuffed the sheet up a chimney. When the resulting fire reached the thatch, it spread rapidly down the street, and even across the river as blazing thatch was swept along by the wind. By the time the fire was over, most of the lower part of the town including St Mary's Church had been destroyed.
Bull Hotel - 1920s
The same view in the 1920s. We can't help but notice how few cars were on the road, compared with the situation we have today. Roads are equally free of traffic in the view below, looking south on a sunny afternoon in the late 19th century. The wrought ironwork supporting the hotel sign shows up particularly well.
Bull Hotel - 19th century
Bull Hotel 2003

The contemporary view is much altered. Dirt roads where people could walk in relative safety from passing traffic are very much a distant memory - if they are a memory at all.
The Bull Hotel was not loath to promote itself, as the illustrations below, taken from a card in the 1930s, clearly show.
Bull Hotel card Bull Hotel card
Bull Hotel card
Bull Hotel entrace to courtyard
A view of the passageway to the courtyard at the rear of the Bull Hotel. Two hundred years ago, this was a hive of daily activity. Now, the clatter of hooves and the rumble of carriage wheels are hardly an echo on the bricks and setts which still remain underfoot.

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