When town's pubs made a token gesture to their regular drinkers

A drinker's token from the Three Tuns in Honiton

A drinker's token from the Three Tuns in Honiton - Credit: Honiton Museum

Between  the 17th and 20th centuries, public houses often gave their regular customers  tokens as change instead of coins.

They  could be used when paying for drinks at a future time. This  token is on display in the museum,  with others  from Honiton, and came from the Three Tuns.  

The name Three Tuns was derived from the Old English word "tun", meaning a barrel or keg of beer. 

In early sale notices, the Three Tuns was described as being on the northern side of High Street, adjacent to the marketplace and consisting of a good dwelling house, with convenient brewhouse, cellars, stables,  outhouses, excellent covered skittle ground, large courtyard  and garden.

An earlier landlord,  John Trickey made the mistake of falling asleep in the bar. When he woke up, he discovered that eight  pounds of cheese had been stolen. The police found it in the home of a regular customer William Golesworthy, who ended up in court.

On November 5th, 1873,  bonfires were lit outside the Three Tuns and The Angel. A splendid display of fireworks took place,  then blazing tar barrels were rolled between the two inns. 

When  William Beedell was the landlord of the Three Tuns he went away for the day leaving his wife in charge. When he returned home in the evening, he found Alice dead drunk on the floor of the bar. He called P.C. Middleton to assist him, and Alice ended up in court for being drunk in a licenced premises. Her defence was that she was suffering from neuralgia and toothache and had taken  two drops of brandy to ease the pain. She was fined £1 with 8 shillings costs. 
Over the centuries the Three Tuns hosted a variety of events including smoking concerts, auctions, inquests, and carpet sales. It was the headquarters of Honiton Rugby Club for a time and the Otter Vale Royal Antediluvian Order of the Buffaloes (Buffs) was founded there.
In 1941 the licensee Reginald  Skinner was clearing out a loft and found ancient books on medicine, theology and law dating back to the 16th century. They were in good condition and extremely valuable. What a pity the museum  was not founded until five years later – they might have been donated to the collection.

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