The Green Man, Putney Heath, S.W.15
A DIRECTOR of the brewery who supplies this house with a
commodity with which to quench our thirst gave me what I can
only describe as the gipsy’s warning regarding two dogs at The
Green Man. The dogs, he considered, were truculent, to say the least
Well, he would have his little joke.
“Do not trust him, gentle maiden.” It was of course a cheerful
slander. Sally, the maiden, is a perfect lady. Danny, I agree, is a
saucy little chap, but that we have to put down to the Irish in
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I have met and handled hundreds of dogs in my time, but
Danny was the ﬁrst to show his teeth at me. Mind you, they’re a
perfect set of teeth. But perhaps Danny just has a naturally toothy
Sally is a topping old girl. Eight years of age, she is a black
and white smooth-haired cross-bred terrier. She suffers considerably
from rheumatism, but for all that she is still a wonderful ratter.
She at times also suffers from the pangs of hunger. The pangs are
caused in this way:
Danny polishes of his ration, and if he feels the inner dog is
not wholly satisﬁed, he makes a sudden bark and dashes o,’ to
another part of the house. Sally (dear misguided female who has
never as much as heard of the gipsy’s warning) follows in all concern
and innocence. Danny, knowing of her twinges, dashes back and
proceeds to ﬁnish off her meal. The trick never seems to fail.
Danny, you can see for yourself, is no gentleman, for all his seven
They are a grand pair of house dogs. They are a friendly couple
to all and sundry on the customers’ side, but take a step over on
to the master’s domain, and see what happens!
Although a comparatively small tavern, The Green Man has had
a long life and a great past. It is the terminus for the 74 bus route,
and a more agreeable stop it would be hard to ﬁnd. In its time this
house has played a considerable part in the history of Putney. The
house itself dates back to the ﬁfteenth century.
In the dining-room alone is a table that must have done service
for at least one hundred years.
There is also a fascinating bar game called “ring the bull”.
It has been played here for over a decade, and The Green Man is
one of the very few pubs where you will ﬁnd it. It is comprised of
a metal hook ﬁxed on the wall, and from the ceiling hangs a length
of cord with a ring attached to the end. The idea (as far as I’m
concemed it remains an idea) is to stand away from the hook to the
length of the cord and then swing the ring with the express purpose
of hooking it. You have only twenty-one tries, and if you don’t
succeed it might very well cost you a round.
Talking of beer, The Green Man is one of the few plazes where
you can buy beer by the pound. There seems to be a catch in that
one, but if you take a bus trip up to Putney Heath, you can see
the pound just outside our pub.
Cromwell trained his troops on Putney Heath, an example
that was followed in the last spot of trouble by the Home Guard.
The Heath has been highly favoured for the settling of disputes
among gentlemen. In 1652, George Lord Chandos fought and
killed Colonel Henry Compton here. Lord Ghandos was tried
with Lord Arundel, his second, and was found guilty of man-
slaughter. In I789 the Duke of York (you will recall doubtless
his mountaineering exploits), the second son of George III, met
Lieut.-Colonel Lennox, but the latter did not ﬁre, and the affair
passed oﬁ’ without bloodshed.
William Pitt, then Prime Minister
In the same year William Pitt, then Prime Minister, fought
on the Heath with William Tierney, a Member of Parliament.
The ﬁght took place on a Sunday afternoon, but once again no
damage was done. It appears that neither knew anything about
the use of pistols. Politicians even in those days seemed to mess
about with things they knew little about.
One of the last duels in the country is said to have been fought
here between the Earl of Cardigan and Captain Harvey Tuckett.
The gallant Captain received a serious wound, and the Earl was
tried by his peers in 1841, but was acquitted.
In all these exploits, so it is recorded, The Green Man ﬁgured,
and today you may see a splendidly-mounted silver pistol which
was discovered about a century ago in an old chest. The owner, it
is said, killed his opponent, took refuge in the inn, changed, but
was in such a hurry that he forgot his ﬁrearm.
The Heath was also the scene of many a highway robbery,
and the notorious highwayman Jerry Abbershaw used The Green
Man as his place of rest. One day he appears to have lingered over-
long for he was apprehended and hanged on the gibbet outside.
Swinbume, who lived some way” down the hill, used to call
at this house and (so rumour has it) used to be very gallant to the
barmaids of his time. His heavy-handed but well-meaning com-
panion Theodore Watts-Dunton may have accompanied him on
his rambles. But he had more serious business to attend to. He had
to write a novel which every sensible reader tries hard not to read
The Green Man
The Green Man is essentially a country pub. The Duke of Cam-
bridge, after a gallop over Wimbledon Common, used to pop’i”n
and change here, and no doubt he fortiﬁed the inner Duke at the
Today it is still a country pub. On a visit any week-end you
can easily enough test the truth of that; visit there on a Bank
Holiday week-end, and you’ll look out of the windows to a view
that is reminiscent of a small country village on a fair day, complete
with ponies and coco-nut shies.