Rory McGrath digs St Albans pub

TELEVISION presenter Rory McGrath visited a St Albans pub last week as part of filming for a future programme.

Oxford Scientific Films and a team of archaeologists spent four days excavating two trenches dug into the car park at the Six Bells pub, on St Michael’s Street, as part of a programme to be shown on the History Channel in November.

The programme focuses on Roman archaeological finds and on the pub itself, with filming taking place in and around the Six Bells. Delighted licensees Patrick and Jo Remmington were also filmed.

Jo, 48, said: “It was a brilliant week. They found all sorts of exciting things, like pottery and coins, as well as the remains of a huge building which they believe to be a hotel.

“It’s going to be fascinating watching the programme and finding out things we never knew about the pub.”

Another significant aspect of the project was an attempt to recreate a Roman ale. Kevin Yelland, head brewer at St Albans’ award-winning Verulam Brewery, was charged with the task.

He created his ale recipe using the limited archaeological evidence available, as well as information on agriculture around Roman St Albans.

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Ingredients from St Albans were used throughout the process, including water from the River Ver and plants from the riverbank. Wild fruit from a local garden and honey from an apiarist were also used.

Kevin said: “We made two beers; a small beer, which would have been drunk by peasants, and a strong beer and we were very pleased with how they turned out.”

Rory McGrath joined Kevin in sampling the ale last Thursday, along with the archaeologists and the crew.

“It tasted really good,” said Kevin. “We were all quite surprised that we managed to do it and that it tasted so pleasant!”

Kevin now hopes to re-brew the beer and take it to beer festivals.

The programme, which has yet to be named, will be presented by Rory McGrath and is due to be shown on the History Channel at 10pm on November 1.