Munroe Tavern


Munroe Tavern in Lexington




Built in 1735, the tavern served as the British field hospital, and headquarters for Lord Hugh Percy, during the Battle of Lexington on 19-Apr-1775.

The tavern is named for William Munroe, who was the proprietor from 1770 to 1827. Munroe was a Freemason, and interestingly, President Washington, who was also a Freemason, chose to dine there when he visited the Lexington battlefield in 1789. An upstairs room contains the table at which Washington sat.

The guided tour provides perspective from the exhausted British point of view.

Associated People

Racial prejudice worked to perpetuate American slavery, even if it was not essential to sustain the institution. Slavery, serfdom, and peonage had existed elsewhere without racial connotations. Indeed, bondage had been so historically ubiquitous one might well ask why, by the 1760’s, it had come to trouble so many white Americans so much. The answer lies in part — and this part help explain why people like Mason did not act more aggressively on their concerns — in the reservations many whites felt about living alongside members of a supposedly inferior race, whether slave or free. The problem was inherent in American slavery, and emancipation, by undermining white control, would only make it worse.

Jeff Broadwater
George Mason: Forgotten Founder (2006)