The Heywood Tavern, located at the site of the current deadhorse hill restaurant, was owned and operated by Daniel Heywood, whose family had operated the tavern since 1722. Its clientele was mostly Tory in outlook. It was one of the oldest taverns in Worcester, having been established in 1722. Standing three stories high, it was the largest and by most accounts the best equipped tavern in town.

On Sept. 6, 1774, the Worcester County militias kept the judges, justices of the peace, lawyers, and sheriff of Worcester County from entering the courthouse. The officers of the court gathered at the Heywood Tavern to decide their course of action and how they might respond to the demands of the militia outside. The demands were not long in coming. First, the judges had to sign a promise that they would not open the courts. Second, the officers had to publicly recant the Tory Protest of three months earlier. That protest against the Patriot non-importation covenant had been illegally entered into the Worcester town book. Although the town clerk already had been forced to blot out the Protest [link to B8] the militia demanded a public recanting of the document.

From the Heywood tavern the officers of the court had to walk the gauntlet several times, repeating their promise and recantation until they reached the courthouse. Although Heywood’s tavern was a known Tory meeting place, the Heywoods adjusted their politics to fit the prevailing winds. In subsequent years the tavern was a center of Worcester’s Fourth of July celebrations.