Ancient Britons were drinking ale when the Romans came, saw and conquered. They were still drinking it when the Romans left; full of cold and fed up of the weather.
Beer has been the national drink ever since and has had the patronage of royalty and thieves. Prince Hal enjoyed going round to the pub with Falstaff, until he moved up two books and became Henry V, and Dick Turpin rode 200 miles non stop from London to York for a pint in his local and a rock solid alibi.
For my money, the pub ( and it's taken plenty of my money) is as important to our heritage as the parish church, for it is peculiarly English and does not travel well. Licensed premises around the world can be entertaining but don't compare with the civilised ambience of hostelries whose very names reflect history.
The royal splendour of Victoria and Albert, the textile connections of The Slubbers Arms, obvious connotations of The Woodman, Shepherd's Rest, Lord Nelson and Little John. The Chartist comes from the 19th century political movement that demanded rights for workers and took the nation to the brink of revolution. The Waterloo remembers the triumph over Napoleon and The Alma was a long ago battle of the Crimean War.
The most popular pub name in England is The Red Lion: there are more than 600. This was introduced when James VI of Scotland also took the English throne as James I in 1603. He ordered all public buildings, including taverns, to display a heraldic red lion.
Next year the Scots will be voting for independence and even if they opt out of the union, they will leave England with a lasting memory of a Scottish king.