Most of this country pub consists of modernisations and extensions introduced between 1976 and 1980 but to the right of the main entrance is a gloriously simple rustic snug retaining its quarry-tiled floor, fixed bench seating and a baffle by the door. Thousands of such basic pub rooms existed until not that long ago, but now only a handful are still with us. Above the fireplace is a gun-rest for three guns, no doubt put to good use by those about to go to or returning from a shoot around this once remote Chilterns village. The rather crude hatch cut to the servery is an unfortunate recent feature, as is the brick infill to the fireplace.
Dating back to the early 17th century this pub has been in Mrs Barbara Greens family for over 40 years. It is included in this guide for its barely altered 19th century Tap Room on the front right hand side. There are only a handful of similar rooms or snugs formed of two or more high backed settles left in the whole of the UK. They can be found at the following Heritage Pubs – the
Holly Bush, Mackeney, Derbyshire;
Malt Shovel, Spondon, Derbyshire;
Red Lion, Kenninghall, Norfolk;
North Star, Steventon, Oxfordshire;
Kings Head, Laxfield, Suffolk;
Bell & Cross, Holy Cross, Worcestershire;
Old White Beare, Norwood Green, West Yorkshire;
Red Lion, Llansannan, North West Wales;;
Crown, Snape, Suffolk;;
Wheatsheaf, Raby, Merseyside;;
Galway Arms, East Retford, Nottinghamshire;;
Anchor, High Offley, Staffordshire .
Built-in high backed bench seating forms a passage into a small quarry tiled floor room. It has basic bare seating attached to very old dado panelling all around the room, two old long tables with Formica tops added to them, and two basic low benches. Old brewery posters from Cannon, Taylor Walker and Benskins add to the atmosphere. There are only two minor changes to the room in over 100 years - as indicated in the 1940s photograph of the locals listening to a wartime broadcast hanging above it, the open fireplace has had a brick infill to reduce it to a standard grate; also a small hatch has been inserted for service to the bar.
The unusual shaped pieces of wood positioned between the mantelpiece and the ceiling look like the tilting devices for casks and would have been used in the cellar when beer was served from the cask and brought to your table in the past. (Or is a triple gun-rest!). The pub was extended to the left and rear in 1980 and the second original small room is one of three linked rooms all with new fittings. Two famous customers who would have known this room are Joachim von Ribbentrop and the spy Guy Burgess. The former was Nazi Germany’s ambassador until 1938 and had a weekend home nearby at Latimer, while the latter made his last-known British appearance here in 1951 before defecting to the Soviet Union.