The Flying Inn

The Flying Inn

The Flying Inn is the novel that Chesterton says he most enjoyed writing, after the essay Orthodoxy. The prohibition has also reached England, and inns and pubs can no longer sell wine and spirits unless they have a sign. Patrick Dalory, an Irish soldier, and Humphrey Pump, a former inn-keeper, embark on a crazy adventure armed with an inn sign, a rum barrel and a large wheel of cheddar cheese. Their mortal enemy is Lord Ivywood, the politician who devised the oppressive law.

Lord Ivywood represents, in Chesterton’s view, the embodiment of the great scourges that haunt our Western world: the Big Government and the Big Business, the loss of the old Western religion and its replacement by a radical form of Islam, and the loss of traditions and their replacement by the modernist mood in philosophy, social relations, and public policy. “I see the breaking of barriers,” says Lord Ivywood. “Beyond that I see nothing.”

Dalory describes the four stages of the British Empire and civilization as follows: “Victory over barbarians. Employment of barbarians. Alliance with barbarians. Conquest by barbarians.” The revolt of the two unlikely heroes turns into an epic adventure full of joy, cheerful songs and poems, and memorable characters; at a deeper level, the novel explores a series of major themes, related to the value of tradition, faith, the everyday joys of life and the condition of the common man.


  • Author: Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)
  • Original title: The Flying Inn
  • Original language: English
  • Genre: Novel
  • Publication year: 1914
  • Public: Adults
The Flying Inn