The following story was originally published in the Globe, and subsequently republished by Notes & Queries for Somerset & Dorset in 1907.
A Dorset Correspondent sends the following interesting story to ” P.T.O.” One of the last stopping places of the London and Weymouth coach was at a little Dorset village, whose principal hostelry was known as The Ass’s Head. So good were the refreshments, so obliging the host, and so reasonable the charges, that the inn did a thriving trade, and was well spoken of throughout the district.
In one of George III.’s visits to Weymouth the Royal party stayed at this inn and had lunch. This was very gratifying to the loyal host, who immediately took down his original signboard and erected a full-length painting of the King in its place. Henceforth the inn should be known as The Royal George. The proprietor of the rival hostelry in the village purchased the Ass’s Head sign for a few shillings, and had it placed over the door of his house.
Now it so happened that the coachman and guard of the Weymouth coach had been changed on the day this alteration of the signboards took place, and they were both strangers to the district; but their instructions had been to stop at the Ass’s Head, and seeing the sign on the rival house they pulled up there. This much annoyed the original owner, who, foreseeing that his pocket might suffer for his loyalty, immediately had nailed to the bottom of the painting of King George a board with these words in large letters, “This is the original Ass!”