The Ailsa Tavern
'Tradition has it that the Ailsa Tavern was named after a young woman of that name that was once the land lady of the pub.The story goes that she and a local dignitary would meet via an underground passage which ran from the tavern to his house some distance away. The couple could not meet in public because the differences in their social position would have scandalized public opinion at the time.The tale is probably based on fact as rumours about the tunnel persist to this day'.
So reads the famous plaque in the garden of the Ailsa Tavern. Everybody loves a little local legend, a little naughtiness and a little 'upstairs-downstairs' romance, but is the inscription a true story; sadly, I think not. The beautiful barmaid on the pub sign and the little lady with the pewter jug, walking through the Wisteria will have to remain unfulfilled!
However, like most good rumours, there is an element of fact in the story and in this case it is the 'underground passage'; a tunnel. There is no evidence that the tunnel ever came near to the pub, but it was built for an ultimately romantic purpose.
Picture; Ailsa Tavern c1905
Next: Before the pub.