Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Bell Savage Inn

Picture of the Bell Savage Inn

Picture of the Bell Savage Inn

The origin of the name - Bell Savage Inn

The Bell Savage Inn was also referred to as La Belle Sauvage ("the Beautiful Savage"), believed to be named after a noted savage beauty who was the rage in Paris. Another possible origin of the name was that it was the name of the landlady, Isabella Savage, which was abbreviated as Bella Savage.

In course of time the name was changed to "Bell and Savage and then Bell Savage.

The Bell Savage Inn - Elizabethan Theatre
The known facts about the Bell Savage Inn, which was used as one of the venues for early English Elizabethan Theatre, are as follows:

  • London Location of the Bell Savage Inn - Ludgate Hill
  • Elizabethan plays were performed in the courtyard of the Bell Savage Inn between 1576 & 1594
  • The name of the Inn was also known as the Belle Savage
  • The Bell Savage Inn was described as 'consisting of about 40 rooms, with good cellarage and stabling for 100 horses'
  • The sign of the Bell Savage Inn was  a savage man standing on a bell.
  • The Elizabethan Acting Troupes would negotiate with the owner, or vintner, of the Bell Savage Inn in order to stage a performance at the Bell Savage Inn
  • The Cobbled Courtyard of the Bell Savage Inn was the site of Elizabethan plays - a temporary stage would be erected on trestles.
  • The Bell Savage continued to be the terminus for coaching services to London throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries
  • People who wanted to watch the plays at the Bell Savage Inn were charged a small fee as they entered the courtyard - they had to pay extra if they wanted a view from the balcony.

Bell Savage Inn
In 1574 the City of London started regulating the Inn-yard activities which lead to the development of the covered Playhouses and the open Amphitheatres and the ultimate replacement of the Inn-yards for venues of Elizabethan plays and theatres.

The Bell Savage Inn and Wyatt's Rebellion
It was in the yard at the Bell Savage that Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion against Queen Mary I came to an inglorious end. "Adjoining Ludgate Hill was the tavern know as "La Belle Sauvage" a coaching house and inn-yard. Wyatt entered the courtyard and sat down on a bench, with only a handful of men left. His rearguard was cut off and dispersed and he had no means of forcing the gate. He decided to retreat and with only 60 men turned back to Charing Cross."

William Shakespeare - Love's Labours Lost at the Bell Savage Inn
The William Shakespeare play was known to have been performed at the Bell Savage Inn
Love's Labour Lost. A brochure published in 1595 refers to 'a merry dialogue between Bankes and his Beast ... intituled to Mine Host of the Belsavuage and all his honest guests.'

Bell Savage Inn - Interesting Facts and Information about Inn- Yard Elizabethan Theatres
Interesting Facts and information about the Bell Savage Inn Elizabethan Theatre

  • Name of this type of Elizabethan Theatre taken directly from the yard of an Inn
  • Elizabethan plays were performed in the cobbled courtyard
  • Audience capacity of an Elizabethan Inn-Yard - up to 500
  • There was gambling and there was even bear baiting in it's Inn-yard

Bell Savage Inn mentioned in 1703 newspaper Article
An early eighteenth century newspaper mentioned the Bell Savage Inn in its despatches: "On Friday night, the 26 November 1703 an instant, happened as violent a storm of wind as was ever known in England; it began about 11, and continued till about 7 the next morning, the Bell Savage Inn, on Ludgate Hill, the floor sunk, and he in his bed fell into the stable without receiving any hurt; others happily escaped by running out of their beds and houses, the chimneys and roofs falling in soon after their removal."

Picture of the famous Bell
Savage Elizabethan Inn

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