Ye Olde Mitre Pub is situated in Ely Court just off Hatton Garden.
The whole area is called Hatton Garden after Sir Christopher Hatton, as I will explain.
It was built in 1547 originally as a part of the palace of Ely, which was the town residence of the Bishop of Ely, which is in Cambridgeshire.
Ye Olde Mitre would have been the servants’ quarters and all part of the bishop’s domain.
However, Queen Elizabeth had a “favourite” called Sir Christopher Hatton and she wanted him to have a place to stay in London so she commandeered a gatehouse and a large amount of the ground including this building so that she could give it to Sir Christopher Hatton.
When Bishop Cox refused the Queen is said to have replied,
“Proud prelate, I understand you are backward in complying. I would have you understand that I who made you what you are can unmake you. If you do not faithfully fulfil your engagement, by God I will immediately unfrock you!”
The pub was rebuilt in 1772 but remained under the control of Cambridgeshire until the 20th century and indeed the London City police could not arrest you if you entered the area. They would have to call the Cambridgeshire police force to come down and do it.
In the corner of the pub there is a tree trunk which is actually a part of the building. It is a supporting beam which existed in Queen Elizabeth’s time. She is said to have danced the maypole around it and it marks the boundary between the the bishop of Ely’s grounds and those of Sir Christopher Hatton.
The pub is not open on weekends but it has a lovely couple of enclosures you can book for private functions and it generally fabulous and old.
This is where John of Gaunt does his famous speech in Richard II by William Shakespeare:
This royal throne of kings,
This sceptered isle
This special stone set in a silver sea
This blessed plot