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Historic 400-year-old pub called The Black Boy to be renamed in wake of Black Lives Matter protests

A historic 400-year-old British pub named ‘The Black Boy’ is set to be renamed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. 

The pub in Sevenoaks, Kent, is to be renamed ‘The Restoration’ in a nod to King Charles II – who was restored as the monarch in 1660 following the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth.

The pub name ‘The Black Boy’ is believed to be a reference to the 17th century monarch who is said to have been nicknamed ‘Black Boy’ by his mother, Henrietta Maria of France, due to his dark hair and complexion. 

It was a nickname that was taken up those who supported Charles II attempts to restore the monarchy and it is believed a number of pubs changed their name to The Black Boy as a show of allegiance. 

Across England and Wales, there are at least 25 different pubs called ‘The Black Boy’, or similar.

But the name has come under fire from anti-racism campaigners amid protests by the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK.

Now the pub’s brewers, Shepherd Neame, the oldest in the UK, have decided to change the name of the watering-hole, fearing its current moniker might not be welcoming to all customers.

The pub in Sevenoaks, Kent, is to be renamed 'The Restoration' in a nod to King Charles II - who was restored as the monarch in 1660 following the rise of Oliver Cromwell

The pub in Sevenoaks, Kent, is to be renamed ‘The Restoration’ in a nod to King Charles II – who was restored as the monarch in 1660 following the rise of Oliver Cromwell

The pub in Sevenoaks, Kent, was established in 1616 and there are conflicting accounts of where its name originates.

The pub in Sevenoaks, Kent, was established in 1616 and there are conflicting accounts of where its name originates.

But the name has come under fire from anti-racism campaigners amid protests by the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK

But the name has come under fire from anti-racism campaigners amid protests by the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK

A pub spokesman said: ‘Shepherd Neame is committed to equality and diversity in every area of its business, and strives to create inclusive, welcoming pub environments for all customers to enjoy.

The possible royal origins of ‘The Black Boy’ pub name 

Across England and Wales, there are at least 25 different pubs called ‘The Black Boy’, or similar. 

Though the name is thought to have a number of origins, including the soot darkened faces of chimney sweeps, it is often thought to be a reference to King Charles II.

King Charles II

King Charles II

The English Monarch, who ruled from 1660 until his death, aged 54, in 1665, was nicknamed ‘Black Boy’ by his mother, Henrietta Maria of France, due to his dark hair and complexion.

He was restored as the monarch after his father Charles I was executed and the traditional monarchy system removed in 1649 in place of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth following the English Civil War.

Charles II’s nickname was taken up those who supported his attempts to restore the monarchy, who labelled themselves ‘The Black Boys’ and it is believed a number of pubs changed their name to The Black Boy as a show of allegiance.

Other suggestions for the name’s origins including the misspelling of a nautical navigation marker, a ‘buoy’.

‘After much deliberation, we have decided to seek consent from relevant authorities to change the name and provide new signage for The Black Boy in Sevenoaks.

‘It was not a decision taken lightly, but we recognise that its current name is not potentially welcoming for all customers, and feel that it is the right thing to do.’

Shepherd Neame added: ‘It could also refer to the nickname given to King Charles II due to his dark-hued skin and exile during Cromwell’s name.

‘It is believed that a number of pubs changed their name to The Black Boy to show their allegiance.’

The pub in Sevenoaks, Kent, was established in 1616 and there are conflicting accounts of where its name originates.

One theory is the pub was named after John Morockoe, a black man who worked in the kitchen and scullery at the nearby Knole country house.

But the brewer says there are a number of other theories as to how the pub got its name, with some suggesting it could be to do with coal mining or chimney sweeps.

The name change comes after another Black Boy pub in Retford, Nottinghamshire, removed its sign earlier this month amid fears it would be targeted by anti-racism campaigners.

Meanwhile, Everards, which owns the Black Boy in Headington, Oxford, last month hit back at social media claims that the name makes black people feel ‘alienated’.

As reported in the Oxford Mail, one man took to the private Oxford Community group on Facebook this week to speak about the pub’s name.

He said: ‘In this day and age with a multicultural setting, I wouldn’t describe it as appropriate.’  

Another person added: ‘It has always made me uncomfortable too. It should be changed – I’m sure it puts lots of people off.’

A spokesperson for Everards told the Oxford Mail: ‘It’s a 16th century pub which was rebuilt in the 1930s and therefore is an important part of the local story.

The sign for the Black Boy Inn in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales

The sign for the Black Boy pub in Retford, Nottinghamshire

Pubs across Britain named ‘The Black Boy’ have come under scrutiny from anti-racism protesters. The sign for the Black Boy Inn in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales (pictured left) and the sign for the Black Boy pub in Retford, Nottinghamshire (pictured right)

It comes as a debate erupted over the name of one pub in the Manchester area named 'The Black Boy'. Pictured: The Black Boy in Headington

It comes as a debate erupted over the name of one pub in the Manchester area named ‘The Black Boy’. Pictured: The Black Boy in Headington

There are at least 25 pubs in England and Wales named 'The Black Boy' or something similar, MailOnilne has found

There are at least 25 pubs in England and Wales named ‘The Black Boy’ or something similar, MailOnilne has found

‘We understand that the pub has been called The Black Boy since at least 1805 and wherever possible we prefer to keep each pub’s history alive and retain the original name.’

A return to power: How Charles II helped restore the monarchy

England’s era of monarch rule was brought to a swift end with the execution of Charles I in 1649. 

It was replaced by Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth following the English Civil War between the Parliamentarians (nicknamed the Roundheads) and the Royalists (nicknamed the Cavaliers).

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

In 1653 Cromwell declared himself Lord Protector, essentially replacing the king as ‘head of state’.

But after his death 1658, his son Richard succeeded him, but soon resigned.

Civil unrest began to grow and calls spread for the return of the monarch, with Charles I’s son Charles, becoming the new monarch.

Charles, who had no legitimate children, was succeeded by his brother James.

But more unrest, primarily along religious divides, ensued, and James II  was deposed by his daughter Mary and her husband William III of Orange.

The overthrow, named the Glorious Revolution, sparked the Bill of Rights in 1689, which  affirmed parliamentary supremacy – the foundations of the system of governance we still have today.

In Manchester, a row erupted last month on social media site Twitter over one pub called ‘The Black Boy’ in Wythenshawe, in the south of the city.

The debate was sparked by one account, Manc Pictures, who said in a now-deleted Tweet: ‘So this is my local pub called “The Black Boy” and there’s now a petition to get the name changed.

‘Honestly not sure what to make of it, to me it’s not racist at all.’

Some rushed to defend the pub, including one who said the name had ‘nothing to do with race ever’.

But another, named Michelle, said: ‘I always hated the name when I taught around there if I’m honest. I think it should be changed.’

Another called for the Ye Olde Black Boy in Hull to be ‘destroyed’, while another Twitter user defended the user of the name generally, saying it has ‘nothing to do with a young slave’ but instead is to do with King Charles II.

However one Twitter user, using the hashtag for Black Lives Matter, claimed the pubs should be renamed ‘White Boys’ instead.

Across England and Wales, there are at least 25 different pubs called ‘The Black Boy’, or similar.

But the name, which is said to have a number of origins, including the soot darkened faces of chimney sweeps, is often thought to be a reference to King Charles II.

The English Monarch, who ruled from 1660 until his death, aged 54, in 1665, was nicknamed ‘Black Boy’ by his mother, Henrietta Maria of France, due to his dark hair and complexion.

Other suggestions for the name’s origins including the misspelling of a nautical navigation marker, a ‘buoy’.

The row erupted after a sign depicting a boy with a black face was taken down last month amid growing calls for it to be removed.

Over 28,000 people signed a petition demanding that the caricature be taken down from the 18th century Greenman pub sign in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

‘The Black Boy’ or similarly named pubs across England and Wales 

Here is a list of The Black Boy or similarly named pubs MailOnline could find in England and Wales:

The Black Boy – Winchester, Hants

Blackboys Inn – Blackboys, East Sussex

Black Boy – Sevenoaks, Kent

The Black Boy – Sidcup, London

The Black Boy – St Albans, Herts

The Black Boy – Oxford, Oxfordshire

The Black Boy – Reading, Berkshire

Black Boys Inn – Maidenhead, Berkshire 

The Black Boy – Swansea, Wales

The Black Boy – Solihull, West Midlands

The Black Boy – Bewdley, West Midlands

The Black Boy Inn – Bridnorth, West Midlands

The Black Boy – Newtown, Wales

Black Boy Inn – Caernarfon, Wales

The Black Boy Inn – Hungarton, Leicestershire

The Black Boys – Aylsham, Norfolk

The Black Boy – Weeley, Essex

The Black Boy – Sudbury, Suffolk

The Black Boy – Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

The Black Boy – Nether Heage, Derbyshire

The Black Boy – Manchester

The Black Boy – Retford, Nottinghamshire

Ye Olde Black Boy – Hull, East Riding

Blackie Boy – Newcastle

Derbyshire Dales District Council said on Monday it would remove the sign with ‘immediate effect’ but when the head was taken down on Monday evening, locals said they had done so to protect it.

In a Facebook post, Mr Redfern said the head would be given ‘a lick of black paint’ and claimed the move was to save it from vandalism.

The petition against the head drew inspiration from an anti-racism demonstration in Bristol, which saw protesters topple the statue of slave trader Edward Colston before dragging the monument into the harbour.

The Grade II-listed pub sign, which arches over St John’s Street, depicted the face of a black man, which one anthropology student from the town said resembled the a golliwog.

A golliwog is a 19th century rag doll which is considered racist for its exaggerated and offensive features.

The anthropology student said: ‘I think people are ashamed of it.’

‘Having it in the middle of the street in a small town is so unwelcoming.

‘It should have been taken down a long time ago and put in a museum.’

Matthew Holt, an international relations student from Ashbourne, also signed the petition, stating: ‘It seems such an obvious racist sign.

‘I think it’s important we address our history.

Mr Holt added: ‘We can’t change it but this shouldn’t be displayed in the public eye

‘It should be in a museum where we can learn about it with a description to contextualise it.’

Their demands prompted Derbyshire Dales District Council’s decision to remove the monument from the sign.

A council spokesman said earlier: ‘We’re removing the head from the sign with immediate effect.

‘We agree that the sign itself is not only a public safety concern right now, but that this is an issue that requires urgent discussion and consultation.

The pub sign, with 'resemblance to a racist doll', has been removed after thousands of campaigners demanded it

The pub sign, with ‘resemblance to a racist doll’, has been removed after thousands of campaigners demanded it

Derbyshire Dales District Council took down the sign after a petition with more than 28,000 signatures

Derbyshire Dales District Council took down the sign after a petition with more than 28,000 signatures

‘The sign was gifted to the district council a number of years ago and is currently protected by a Grade II structure listing.

‘Legally, only Heritage England or the Secretary of State can remove this listing, which means we need to take on board the views of our own councillors and local people before taking forward any representations. This will happen soon.’

However, a petition has also been launched which seeks to keep the monument in place, with supporters stating it is a part of history.  

Global Black Lives Matter protests were sparked when American George Floyd died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost ten minutes.

Protest were held in the UK and a number of petitions were started calling for controversial monuments in the UK to be taken down, while a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was ripped down and pushed into Bristol Harbour during protests by the Black Lives Matter movement. 

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Written by Angle News

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