A NEW family pub and restaurant will be named after Southend’s Saxon King after pressure from local historians.
Marston’s Inns and Taverns has agreed to name its new 180- seat pub the Saxon King in honour of a royal whose remains were unearthed yards away – after pressure from activists Skipp.
The chain initially chose the name the Saxon Prince for the pub set to open in Priory Crescent, Southend, next month.
However, those who are campaigning for a museum to house the royal remains in Priory Park, insisted the remains are of Saebert, King of the East Saxons.
Mark Sharp, from the group, said: “Last year Skipp approached the company and suggested, given the pub’s proximity to the burial mound, it should be named in honour of the king.
“Following that initial meeting we continued an active dialogue, emphasising the commercial case for our preferred name, as opposed to their initial intention, which was to call it the Saxon Prince.
“It has long been a source of confusion because the grave was called a princely burial by archaeologists, but that only means it is of the highest status – not that he was a prince.
“We were delighted when Marston’s confirmed with Skipp they had decided to change the name to the Saxon King.”
The 2,000 sq ft pub, which will serve spit-roasted chicken and have a children’s play area, will open on Monday, June 9.
Skipp initially accused Marston’s of hypocrisy for using the Saxon royal name, despite only carrying out a limited archaeological survey before beginning constriction.
A spokeswoman for Marston’s said: “When deciding names for our pubs we like to reflect the values and points of interest for the local community.
“We worked closely with a group of local historians and consulted with them, which led to the name change.
“It was felt the Saxon King was the perfect fit and reflects the interests of the community.”