The Name, Elephant & Castle

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Turlac Saturday 16 February 2002 10.35pm
Can anyone tell me where did the name Elephant and Castle come from?

What does it actually relate to?


James Monday 18 February 2002 12.43am
I think it is related to the cutlers company, one of the guilds.

see -
Melanie Monday 18 February 2002 3.25pm
i believe it comes from the Spanish princess - Infanta di Castille - who visited the area (not sure which century) - hence the name
Jolayne Monday 18 February 2002 3.47pm
I'd been told that the name came from an 18th century pub called the Elephant and Castle, which was (apparently) built near the site of the current E&C pub.

Is this just an urban myth?
david Monday 18 February 2002 6.01pm

One of the Royal Princes from way way back was engaged to marry a French Princess (When we weren't at war with 'em).

She was only sort of 14 like they were when they were engaged to be married in those days and was housed as decently close to her royal fiance at Westminster - at a friendls fortified house in Southwark.

She was referred to as L'enfant de castille (Child of the Castle) and we Brits being masters of foreign languages bastardised it to Elephant & Castle....

Also am I wrong or does old holborn tobacco have the elephant & castle on it too???

Hope it helps.

James Monday 18 February 2002 6.25pm
This link explains the pub/smithy/guild link.
doc Monday 18 February 2002 8.06pm
mel and david have it right-it was Queen Eleanor wife of Edward 1 who was the Infanta de Castille. When she died her distraught husband brought her body back to London burning crosses overnight at each stop. So she has also given her name to the sites of the "Eleanor crosses" which include Waltham Cross, Charing Cross and I think King's Cross.. Quite a lady.
Carol Tuesday 19 February 2002 10.55am
The Elephant & Castle was actually a blacksmiths which was converted into a tavern in about 1760. The name is as thought came from either the Cutlers Company who dealt in ivory hence the link with elephants, or the Infanta of Castile. In the Middle Ages the elephant was often depicted with a castle on its back in heraldic scenes and you often see it like this in chess sets.
James Tuesday 19 February 2002 7.18pm
The "infanta"-"elephant" thing is a bit of a stretch, even for the cockney slang smiths of old lahndan tahn.
Bill Saturday 23 February 2002 7.13am

Go downstairs in Weatherspoons and there is a whole display on all the various possible origins of the name.
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