From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
early 13c., “doughty fighting man, valorous combatant,” also (c. 1300) “one who fights on behalf of another or others, one who undertakes to defend a cause,” from Old French champion “combatant, champion in single combat” (12c.), from Late Latin campionem(nominative campio) “gladiator, fighter, combatant in the field,” from Latin campus “field (of combat);” see campus.
The word had been borrowed earlier by Old English as cempa. Sports sense in reference to “first-place performer, one who has demonstrated superiority to all others in some matter decided by public contest or competition” is recorded from 1730.
“to fight for, defend, protect, maintain or support by contest,” 1820 (Scott) in a literal sense, from champion (n.). Figurative use, “maintain the cause of, advocate for” is by 1830. Earlier it meant “to challenge” (c. 1600). Related: Championed; championing.”
From the Historic England entry:
“Corner public house. c.1860-70. Gault brick with stucco dressings, slate roof. Lively classical detailing. 4 storeys. 3 windows wide to each front and inset stuccoed quadrant corner. Ground floor has bar front with corner and side entrances
and fronted bar windows framed by crude pilasters carrying entablature- fascia with richly decorated modillion cornice. Upper floors have segmental arched sash windows, those on 1st floor with keystones and marks. Heavy moulded crowning cornice and blocking stuccoed. Large ornamental cast iron lamp bracket to corner. Interior bar fittings original in part with screens etc, some renewal.”
“…This is indeed Sam Smiths by numbers, with the usual limited range of draughts (better buy bottles), hearty comfort food, and a gorgeous, timeless interior.
But it’s all about those windows. Each shows a Victorian champion — using the widest definition. You may recognise hirsute batmeister WG Grace, for example. Other champs include Channel swimmer Matthew Webb, boxer Bob Fitzsimmons and jockey Fred Archer.
Further Victorian celebs such as Florence Nightingale, David Livingstone and Edward Whymper — the first person to climb the Matterhorn — grace the corners.
You might imagine these to be an original feature, but in fact they date only to 1989 and are the work of Ann Sotheran.
The light from those windows can play strange tricks, and you can lose all track of time. There are worse places to do so.”