Courtenay Arms

It’s front door opened out on a site that today would have you standing right outside the Drum side entrance to the Theatre Royal in Royal Parade. Back then it was just yards from the Bank of England Place and the eastern end of Union Street on the corner of George Lane and Courtenay Street – hence the name, the Courtenay Arms.

The street, in turn, appears to owe its name to the Courtenay family, in whose hands the earldom of Devon has rested since 1335 and it is still with family, who are based at Powederham, today. Interestingly enough there is a suggestion that the name itself may owe its origin to the suggested father of the dynasty, Guilliae au Court-Nez, that is William little nose!

With its beginnings traceable to the middle of the nineteenth century, time was called at the Courtenay Arms just before the start of the First World War, after which the premises was taken on by a pawnbroker.


1862 - Mrs Martin
1865 - H Martin
1873 - WHT Martin
1877 - Mr Eslick
1880 - A Strike
1885 - James Huxtable