Seven Stars Lane

It’s not that unusual to have a pub sharing the same name as the street that it’s located in – there’s the Hyde Park, the Pym, the Wellington, the Stopford, the Boringdon and so on – but somehow the Seven Stars seems different. Perhaps it’s because, of all of them it’s the least like a proper name, as in a surname or a place-name, and perhaps, too, this could be one where the pub name came first and the street name second. There’s reason to suppose that there was a building on the pub site in 1066 and it’s quite likely that the Seven Stars is the oldest pub building in Plymouth.

What is less clear is exact nature of the Seven Stars in question, seven has long been a mystic or sacred number, and the seven sacraments (or sacred mysteries) are Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Orders, Matrimony and Extreme Unction. One theory suggests that the pub had the sign “Seven Stars” to indicate that the sacraments were available here or at the church nearby – St Mary’s.

Another theory embraces the notion that the seven stars were the five planets known to the ancients – Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, plus the Sun and the Moon – Uranus, the first of the more recent discoveries, was found in 1781.

Certainly, whatever the reason the Seven Stars was a popular religious sign in the middle ages.