The Haunch of Venison, or the Haunch – as it is affectionately known to its customers and many visitors, is unique.

The pub’s history and some of its many secrets will shortly be uncovered with the publication of a new book by Ruby Vitorino Moody, who has spent many years researching the famous old establishment.

This tavern has been serving customers and making friends for hundreds of years. During the centuries the building has spread and gradually evolved into its present odd, haphazard, but cosy, architectural shape.

There can be little doubt that in spite of necessary restoration at various times, much of the interior timbers, doors and frames are very many years old.

James Beret was its host in the early 18th century. He is said to have died raving mad. It might have been the Grey Lady who is supposed to walk the churchyard and alleyway behind the Haunch or it might have been the remarkably raw spirits Beret sold as gin by the pint or quart “as cheap in proportion as by two gallons.”

In 1903 a gruesome discovery was made at the Haunch of Venison. In a recess were found some playing cards together with a hand severed at the wrist – the hand is believed by many to have been that of a man caught cheating during a game of cards. It adds to the historical interest of the pub and has become a real tourist attraction,

Other finds that have come to light during restoration work include a 17th century rat-trap, various ancient leather shoes and a 17th century sack bottle.

The official book launch takes place at the Haunch on Thursday, August 27, from 5.30pm continuing into the evening. Also at the Rocketship Bookshop, August 27 from 4pm.