1) In the early history of the alehouse, probably before signs were generally in use, a pole or rod was set up in front of a house to indicate that ale was sold there.
The term used for this varied from one region to another and even from one period to another. In Methley, for example, in 1465, two married women were indicted for not placing signs called Ale-stakes before their houses. In similar offences in the same rolls brewers were required in 1498 to have an ailswispe before the door in 1498 and a pole in 1559. In a north Yorkshire court case, in 1613, a Coxwold woman was said to have come out of her house with a pitchfork and beaten away a man that was cutting down her Ale-rodd .