The Spaniards Inn
The Inn was built around 1585 and gets its name either from the fact that it was the country retreat of the Spanish Ambassador to James I of England and VI of Scotland, or it was named after a Spanish landlord, Francis Porrero.
Legend has it that the highwayman Dick Turpin was born here on 21 September, 1705.
This may or may not be true, but what is known is that his father was a landlord of the Inn during the 18th Century.
It's a great romantic notion to think that the mighty Dick Turpin used to watch the horse and carts loaded with the gentry rolling past his window giving him the inspiration to lead his life of crime.
Romantic, but more than likely romantic licence.
The Inn also played a vital role in saving the life of one Lord Mansfield.
In 1780, Lord Gordon (a rampant Protestant) led a group of hoodlums to attack Lord Mansfield (pro-Catholic) at Kenwood House, his home.
Dick Turpins house was taken down in 1934.
The 600 year old Dick Turpin house and stables near the Spaniard ' s Inn on Hampstead Heath bulged over the road causing an inconvenience to traffic.
The building was associated with the romantic career of the highwayman and many thrilling stories are told of Dick Turpin and the old house.
They would have succeeded had they not stopped at the Inn to quench their thirst. The landlord, Giles Thomas, alerted the army.
After an initial skirmish with the army, the surviving members of Lord Gordon's gang surrendered, were taken to Newgate prison and promptly hanged.
The pub also has a great literary heritage.
Not only has it been mentioned in Dickens's The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker's Dracula, but it can count among its previous frequenters the artist Joshua Reynolds and the poets Byron and Keats.
Keats allegedly wrote his Ode to a Nightingale in the gardens.
The original Spaniards Inn Gardens are described in an early work "its gardens have lately been improved and beautifully ornamented by the ingenuity of Mr. William Staples, who, out of a wild and thorny wood full of hills, valleys and sand-pits, hath now made pleasant grass and gravel walks, with a mount, from the elevation whereof the beholder hath a prospect of Hanslop steeple, in Northamptonshire, within eight miles of Northampton; of Langdon Hills, in Essex, full sixty miles east; of Banstead Downs, in Surrey, south; of Shooter's Hill, Kent, south-east; Red Hill, Bucks, south-west; and of Windsor Castle, Berks, west. These walks and plats this gentleman hath embelished with a great many curious figures, depicted with pebble-stones and various colours"
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