The old main road past the 'World's End' in about 1930.

The World's End is the older of the two, having been mentioned in 1678, when it was called the Globe. Old maps show the original inn facing what is now Northampton Road. The present building was described by John Cole in 1825 as having been built about sixty years before, which would date it to about 1765; he noted that: the accommodations here are superior to those of the generality of village-inns, and the stabling extensive.

At some time its name was changed to the World's End, a name which many inns on the outskirts shared, although their out-of-the-way location was often the cause of their not enjoying the best of reputations. Another hypothesis is that the name derives from its possible use as a compound for royalist prisoners captured after the Battle of Naseby in 1645.

Perhaps Cole is to blame for the numerous stories linking Hogarth with the World's End with his comment that it is probable that it received its sign from that celebrated artists curious emblematical production under the same title. It is true that Hogarth had connections with Ecton - he painted a portrait of John Palmer and may have stayed at the Rectory - but most of what has been written about Hogarth and Ecton does not appear to be supported by much evidence.

In former times there were two traditional signs for World's End inns; one was an exploding globe with fire and smoke bursting out, as Hogarth depicted in his last print Bathos, produced just before he died. The other was the one which Cole described at Ecton in 1825 - a horseman whose steed is rearing over an abyss on the edge of the world. This was the image on the sign until quite recently.

Landlords of the World's End have included the Hensman family and William Perkins, a long time member and chairman of the Parish Council in the early 1900s and a JP. He refused to take paper money, terrified village children who tried to scrump his walnuts and once, in a celebrated case, had a very public argument with the rector Canon Jephson after consulting his watch during one of the rector's sermons and being told, I shan't be very much longer, Mr. Perkins.

The inn used to be the venue for official and social events in the village - the enquiry into the Enclosure of Common Fields was held there in 1759 and Hiring Fairs, where farm workers and servants would meet and agree terms with a new master, used to be held in the paddock; fairs were also held there.

The World's End today is a much changed place; it was gutted and extensively altered in 1990 although the front of the building remains largely unchanged. It now has a large restaurant with a carpark to match and attracts customers from near and far.