It was formerly the custom in this, as in all other towns, to paint on the door posts of every public House a square of red and white compartments like a chess board. This was a very ancient symbol extending so far back to the Roman empire; but its meaning at that time has never been clearly ascertained. It may still be seen at Pompeii.
The Chequers became a common sign for country Inns; and the probablity is that the custom was adopted to denote that the house had been duly licensed, a field cheque arg and gu being the arms of the ancient family of Fitzwarren, the head of which house. In former times, had the privilege of licensing the houses of vintners and publicans.