Home       Podcasts       Tithe Tábhairn       Pubs       Seisiún       Reflections       Footie       About us       Contact us

A Celebration and a Resource
for the Irish Pub Community

Bygones by the Bay

Story and Photographs by Chris Poh

As soon as you receive this, I request you will send 20 live bullocks with a proportionate quantity of vegetables and hay to the Poictiers for the use of Britannic Majesty's squadron now at this anchorage, which will be immediately paid for at the Philadelphia prices. If you refuse to comply with this request I shall be under necessity of destroying your town. I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient servant."
                             - J. P. Beresford Commodore and commander of the British Squadron in the Mouth of the Delaware.

The bar at The Rose and Crown in Lewes, DE as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
The Bar at the Rose and Crown in Lewes, Delaware

On March 16, 1813, the chief magistrate of Lewes(Lew-is), Delaware received the aforesaid ultimatum from Captain Sir John P. Beresford of HMS Poictiers. This would not be the first instance of British unkindness toward those souls who took up residence on this portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. Two former Dutch settlements at this location were destroyed by the English during the 1600s. But the hardier American stock would not easily yield to the demands of His Majesty’s naval forces. Militia units under the command of Lt. Colonel Samuel Boyer Davis took up the task of reinforcing the town’s defenses, and were ready to trade salvos when the British commenced their attack during the daylight hours of April 6th. 

Cannon used in defense of Lewes as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com
Cannon used in defense of Lewes during the Revolution and the War of 1812

For two days the British unleashed a barrage of shell, shot and rockets. But the defenders of Lewes would by some accounts quite literally give back as good as they got. With their own ammunition in short supply, American troops retrieved a portion of those British cannonballs that had fallen short of their intended target. And if the caliber of the shot were compatible with that of their own guns, the recycled hot iron was promptly sent back in the direction of those offending elements of the Royal Navy. When Captain Beresford finally realized that he would be unable to acquire provisions by way of force or Philadelphia prices, he withdrew his ships to safer waters. As to the fate of Lewes and its citizens, they had sustained a fair amount of damage to private property and a protracted loss to commerce as a result of the continued British blockade of both the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay. But there was little reported bloodshed other than minor wounds suffered by military personnel, including Colonel Davis, the death of one chicken, and the maiming of a pig.

And as is many times the case, in the midst of great human conflict there are those instances when our better instincts shine through. Out of respect for the strategic and tactical skills of his adversary, Commodore Beresford requested that he and Colonel Davis might get together under less confrontational conditions. That pleasant parley allowed both men to explore their mutual appreciation and talents for fine art—and both presented the other with their own personal works in watercolor at that particular meeting. In many ways that small slice of history reflects the spirit of Lewes and that of its good-natured population

Sunset at Lewes, Delaware as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com

Courtesy of the Hotel Rodney     
View of the canal at Lewes, DE as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com

Harbor view at Lewes, Delaware as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com

On this stretch of Mid-Atlantic coastline, that is host to spectacular sunrises and remarkable natural beauty, there is a bayside community that embraces our diversity and differences, and provides a number of excellent locations from which one might choose to commiserate or celebrate on common ground. For many years a much preferred haunt for such carryings-on was the Rose & Crown. That was until this well-regarded Anglophile oriented institution closed its doors in 2005. Now just in time for the 200th anniversary of Commodore Beresford’s foray into Lewes, the Rose & Crown is once more in full bloom. But this current incarnation finds it relocated within the elegant confines of the Hotel Rodney. James O’Hare, who also owns The Red Star in Baltimore, has partnered with locally renowned chef Jay Caputo to create this stylish and handsomely appointed pub. And in keeping with the English tavern tradition, there is always an ample selection of superlative spirits, quality craft beers and an appetite pleasing bill of fare.

Lobby of the Hotel Rodney in Lewes Delaware as seen in PartingGlsaaMedia.com
The Rose and Crown is housed in the Hotel Rodney. Pictured here is the hotel's alluring lobby

Bar at The Rose and Crown in Lewes, Delaware as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com

The Rose and Crown in Lewes,DE as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com

During my last all too brief holiday in Lewes, I spent most of my allotted daily tippling time at the bar in the Rose and Crown—attesting to my overall satisfaction with an establishment that has an abundance of wonderful watering holes within walking distance. In the course of one of those visits, I spoke at length with Chris O’Hare, a member of the management team and the brother of owner James O’Hare. We quipped about the obvious incongruity of a family with such a rich Irish pedigree being associated with anything British. But this was just another testament to the curative forces at work at this Delaware coastal retreat—a place where we can raise a pint of Guinness, Bass or some comparable American offering in veneration of those qualities that bind us together—and a place where we can let bygones be just that.

Hotel Rodney, home to the Rose and Crown in Lewes, DE as seen in PartingGlassMedia.com

Rose and Crown

142 Second Street
Lewes, Delaware 19958
302- 827-4475



Home       Podcasts        Tithe Tábhairn       Pubs       Seisiún       Reflections       Footie       About us       Contact us

© PartingGlassMedia/ all content contained herein.