Red Lion Avebury from This Is Wiltshire
Fire At Red Lion, Avebury from This Is Wiltshire

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Red Lion in Avebury — it’s the most typically English thing imaginable — a half-timbered, thatched pub situated right in the middle of one of the most significant ancient sites in the world — the famous stone circle.

In a typically English prosaic touch, the pub isn’t preserved in an idyllic garden but has a busy A-road passing right by the front door — and, when I’ve visited, this had brought a load of bikers stopping off to provide the pub’s clientèle — not ruddy-faced yokels.

In the current draft of the novel, it’s mentioned at least twice (Kim and Emma are into the stones’ energy) — and the exterior looks quite like I imagine The Angel itself to look — particularly the thatching.

As the photo shows above, the Red Lion became one of the many thatched hostleries to catch on fire — fortunately this was contained in the Red Lion’s case but I know at least three pubs (at least two that were thatched) that have burned down into a shell in the last ten years within 15 miles of where I live: the Woolpack, Stoke Mandeville — rebuilt extraordinarily quickly; the Bottle and Glass, Gibraltar (between Aylesbury and Thame); and the Rising Sun, Ickford (a village in the wilds up near J8 of the M40). Fortunately all have been rebuilt and all are thriving.

So, thinking of plot ideas, if I have a lovely thatched pub in my novel, it wouldn’t be too improbable for some similar catastrophe to hit the building, would it?

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