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The Shoulder of Mutton

The Adams family originally ran this pub, as well as a butchers, hence the name.

2 Market Street, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, LE65 1AF
This historic inn is first recorded in 1757 in the will of a butcher named Samuel Adams. It was later run by his son, also a butcher, and stayed with the Adams family until 1838. Originally, it occupied just 1 Market Street. In 1841, no.3 was occupied by a saddler, then a plumber, ironmonger and bootmaker. During the 1930s, it was a wool shop and became part of the pub only in the late 20th century.

A print and text about The Shoulder of Mutton.


The text reads: This piece acknowledges not only the longevity of the inn but also the success of our agricultural heritage. The first mention of The Shoulder of Mutton is in the will of Samuel Adams in 1757. The inn was run by two generations of the Adams family over a period of nearly 80 years. As well as running the inn the family were established butches, hence the original inn’s name.

A painting entitled Statutes Fair in Ashby 1938.


The text reads: Every year in September, Market Street is closed so that the Statutes Fair can be held. Here we see that people have come from far and wide to enjoy the sun. Many shops have changed ownership since 1938 when this scene is pictured. You will see that The Shoulder of Mutton was still thriving then though.

The artist Di Lorriman lives in Ashby.

A painting entitled Market Street in Ashby 1910.


Here The Shoulder of Mutton welcomes visitors in 1910. At this time a corner of the pub building was Elizabeth Trussell’s shop but later on this shop became part of the pub itself. The Light Railway brought visitors to the town from 1906 to 1927. Here some visitors arriving in a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost cause something of a stir.

A painting entitled Civil War and Ashby 1644.


Here we see Parliamentary forces attacking Royalists at Ashby Castle. Henry Hastings, second son of the 5th Earl of Huntingdon, supported King Charles I and had established his military headquarters in Ashby at this time. The siege of the castle lasted intermittently from November 1644 to February 1646 when the castle finally surrendered.

An illustration and text about Adrian Mole.


The text reads: Adrian Albert Mole was born in 1967 and grew up with his parents in Leicester before moving to a fictional town in Ashby.

This original pencil portrait has been drawn using a cast photo from the ITV television series based on the series of books. The series ran from 1985 to 1987 and starred Julie Walters as Adrian’s mum Pauline and Gian Sammarco as Adrian.

A painting entitled End of Shift, a Pint and a Fag, by John Smith.


This original painting relates to our local mining history. After a hard shift down the pit colliers would have enjoyed a pint and a fag in The Shoulder of Mutton.

An original mantel piece.


Although not in its original location this mantel piece, built of terracotta surrounding carved timber panels, is one of the most significant elements of this grade II listed building. It is reputed to have been created by French prisoners of war of the Napoleonic period c1799-1815. Ashby-de-la-Zouch was one of a small number of towns where the prisoners were held ‘on parole’. They were allowed to seek employment and many were paid a small subsistence allowance. Links with masonic lodges were common, Ashby was unique in that it was one of probably only two lodges accepted and recognised by the English masonic order. Leading more intrigue to this story is the fact that the local Earl of Moira, 1793-1816, Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings, an Irish-British military officer and politician, who advocated securing peace with France, was also the acting grand master of the English masonic order at the time.

External photograph of the building – main entrance.


If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk