The White Lion

Pub names continue to fascinate me. I have previously written about the Golden Lion and the Red Lion; at Cray in North Yorkshire, I was delighted to discover the White Lion. Although it quite sensibly closes for the winter, I have little doubt that it proves a most pleasant venue at which one’s whistle may be wetted and one’s belly nicely filled. So why the name?

According to the Dictionary of Pub Names, which cites this very establishment, the white lion has less to do with Edward IV, the Yorkist king whose emblem it was, and more to do with the place’s natural geography. A nearby waterfall, to the tavern’s right, roars after heavy precipitation. The waterways were certainly busy the day I visited. Later on, my party and I called at the Dales town of Hawes. Through the centre, Gayle Beck rushed and roared, preventing honest folk atop the town bridge to even hear themselves speak. The sheer volume, strength and locomotion of that mass of water combined to give it a thunderous resonance. Well might the White Lion be so named, as it sits by the rushing River Wharfe.

In the Bible, the glorified Christ, called the Lion of Judah, is arrayed in white and described thus:

His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters (Revelation 1:15)

A voice so powerful and deep, that it drowns out all distraction and washes away all noise and clamour. Hear Him now, therefore, while His speech is gentle and earnest:

Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my speech. Isaiah 28:23

Above and below, the River Wharfe, by the White Lion, below left