There's a sense of discovery when you find the Olde Mitre Tavern. It's hidden down an alleyway between 8 and 9 Hatton Garden, marked by an old crooked street lamp and a small sign in the shape of a bishop's mitre, the arched alleyway entrance has a sign above stating "Ye Olde Mitre 1546". Despite these clues many who work in the area don't know it exists.
The original tavern was built in 1547 for the servants of the Palace of the Bishops of Ely (Cambridgeshire). The palace was their London base, they had power and riches and played host to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. After the reformation Elizabeth forced the bishops to rent some of their land to Sir Christopher Hatton, one of her courtiers. The area became known as Hatton Garden, and is famous as the centre of London's diamond and jewellery trade.
Both palace and pub was demolished in 1772, although the pub was soon re-built. A stone mitre from the palace gatehouse is built into a wall. The preserved trunk of a cherry tree in the corner of the front bar marked the boundary of the diocese and the land leased to Hatton, and legend has it that Elizabeth I danced the maypole around it.
Technically this tavern and the lands around Ely Place are in the control of the Diocese of Ely, Cambridgeshire and until the last century the pub licence was issued there. Even the City police has no jurisdiction here.
Continue past the Old Mitre and emerge in Ely Place where you will find the 13th century St. Etheldra's chapel, the oldest catholic church in Britain. It was named after a queen of East Anglia, who in the 7th century, became a nun, founded a monastery at Ely and was the first Abbess.
Reproduced by kind permission of pubs.com