The Old Talbot, Sidbury

The Talbot Inn, now called the Old Talbot, was originally the Church House for St.Michael's, which stood in the Cathedral churchyard, and played an important part in baking bread and brewing ales for church occasions. It dates from the 13th century at least, and had no entrance from Sidbury, only a back pathway through the churchyard. During the Civil War (1649) it consisted of 'three lower rooms on the right hand of the gate, a hall, three lowe parlours, a kitchin, larder, wine cellar and a beere cellar. Above stairs, 10 lodging chambers over the kitchin and some necessary rooms. Likewise stable belonging to the said house for 40 horses'.

After the Civil War the Talbot became a 'court' inn, for being outside the Municipal limits, yet within the City walls, it is widely used by county magistrates. One of the present rooms is still known as the Justice's Room. After the 1688 Revolution, when James ll was driven from the throne and a French landing was expected, Jacobite suspects were examined there, and warned of the consequences if they became involved in political activities.

In 1966, the Talbot underwent an extensive modernization in keeping with the new Lich Gate development; ( which destroyed the Lich Gate )  During these alterations, human remains were unearthed quite near surface, and were thought to be Saxon origin. Three skulss with a few clay pipes were placed in a display cabinet in the entrance foyer. The old ceiling beams have been exposed, and some of the original 17th century panelling have been retained. The inn has now 14 letting bedrooms, many with private showers etc, and the dining room will seat 50 people. The counters are topped with copper, and the back fittings are in the formof a Welsh dresser. The Old Talbot is owned by Flower & Sons, Ltd,  a member of the Whitbread Group, since 1926.