The History of the Crispin

The Crispin is one of the oldest pubs in Wokingham – if not the oldest. We believe that it is the 32nd oldest building in Wokingham and whilst not originally selling beer and certainly has been since 1840.

It was built in the 15th Century as a ‘Hall House’; meaning that it had a large central hall open to the roof, with the current central fire spreading warmth to the rest of the building. In later times it was modernised with a first floor across the full breadth of the house. Sometime later it was divided into 3 cottages; the layout of this can only be guessed at.

By 1854, the owner of the central cottage had become sufficiently prosperous from brewing and selling beer that he was able to buy out the owners of the adjacent cottages and once again convert it to a single dwelling selling beer. Incidentally The Crispin remained in the family of James Green until c 1877.

On 21st July 1885 the property was offered or sale by Messrs Simonds, Reading, Brewers at The Rose Hotel, Wokingham. The lot included 4 cottages, gardens and outbuildings; two on either side of the ‘Crispin Inn’. The particulars state that these were occupied by respected tenant.

Saint Crispin

Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the Christian patron saints of cobblers, curriers, tanners, and leather workers.

On the morning of 25 October 1415 (feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian), shortly before the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V made a brief speech to the English army under his command, emphasising the justness of his claim to the French throne and harking back to the memory of previous defeats the English kings had inflicted on the French. According to Burgundian sources, he concluded the speech by telling the English longbowmen that the French had boasted that they would cut off two fingers from the right hand of every archer, so they could never draw a string again.[1]

In Shakespeare's account, King Henry begins his speech in response to Westmorland's expressions of dismay at the English army's lack of troop strength. Henry rouses his men by expressing his confidence that they would triumph, and that the "band of brothers" fighting that day would be able to boast each year on St. Crispin's Day of their glorious battle against the French. Shakespeare's inclusion of Westmoreland, however, is fictional as he was not present during Henry's 1415 French campaign.

For those who went to St Crispin’s in Wokingham, you will hopefully remember the joy of listening to this in morning assembly!

WESTMORLAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin, Westmorland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmorland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day, and live old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words—
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester—
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Real Ales

Cask conditioned real ales. Up to 5 pumps. We are in the Good Beer guide and pride ourselves on the quality of our beer.

Lagers

Carlsberg, San Miguel and Hogstar on draught as well as Guinness and bottled beers and ciders

Wines and Spirits

A good range of wines by the glass or bottle and spirits