Alexander Selkirk, Bristol, Daniel Defoe, English Literature, King Street Bristol, Llandoger, Privateer Tyger, Public houses, pubs, Robert Louis Stevenson, Robinson Crusoe, The Llandoger Trow, Treasure Island, Trow
“The Llandoger Trow“ stands out as one of the most remarkable buildings I noticed on my last visit to Bristol, purely from an architectural stand point initial, but the more I have looked into the history of the public house, the more remarkable it gets!
The timber-framed building dates from 1664, but the story really begins with the retirement of a certain Captain Hawkins [very “Treasure Island“, don’t you think?] sailed his trow, a flat-bottomed barge typical of the craft common to Bristol, across from Llandogo in Wales for the last time and decided to get into the pub trade. By 1755 the name “The Llandoger Trow” was well established.
Tradition has it that Daniel Defoe met the buccaneer and castaway Alexander Selkirk, who is generally recognised as the inspiration behind Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe“, at “The Llandoger Trow” and it is thought that the public house inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s description of the “Admiral Benbow” in his swashbuckling adventure “Treasure Island“.
The sign of “The Llandoger Trow” was mentioned in a recruitment notice for the privateers ship Tyger in a Bristol newspaper, so the place must have been well known to seafarers of an adventurous persuasion who more than likely formed the 280 man crew of the 36 gun ship, commanded by John Nielson, who received his letters of Marque in 1757.
In Victorian times the public house reinvented itself as a theatre pub, as it gained an association with the Theatre Royal, which is further up the street, and in the Second World War two of the building’s gable ends were destroyed by the Luftwaffe during a bombing raid, leaving the three you can see today.
It strikes me that “The Llandgor Trow” is an inspiring place, whether you know about it’s history or not, so I’m sure it will survive for future generations to admire.
Mysterious Britain & Ireland. co. uk. http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/england/avon/hauntings/the-llandoger-trow-bristol.html
Key to the City. co. uk. http://www.keytothecity.co.uk/bar.php?Id=154&CityId=2&From=Family&Enabled=Yes
…and The National Archive for details regarding the privateer Tyger. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/record?catid=-5191317&catln=7