North Star

Oxfordshire - Steventon

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II

2 Stocks Lane
Steventon
OX13 6SG

Tel: None

Real Ale: Yes

Real Cider: Yes

Public Transport: Near Bus Stop

Bus: Yes

View on: Whatpub

The main bar is one of the great village pub rooms of Britain. Its arrangements would have once been common enough, but are now incredibly rare. It has settles in the centre, focusing on the fireplace: the attached ironwork formerly carried curtains for greater privacy and warmth. There is no bar counter and this too is a great rarity. Service is via a stable door from the ground-floor ‘cellar’ plus service from a hatch to the garden. Many locals drink in the passageway and, at busy times, getting a beer can be a challenge. The second room (rather more modern) is served from a hatch to the cellar. There is another plain room across a corridor further back in the pub. The timber porch has some fixed seating and now doubles as the smoking shelter. Outdoor toilets. The pub name derives not from the heavenly body but one of Daniel Gooch’s broad gauge locomotives introduced into service on the GWR in 1838.

This is one of the truly great country classic pub and is named after an 1837 GWR locomotive, not the heavenly body - former long term licensee Jack Cox changed the pub sign as he liked trains! A timber porch with some fixed seating - now the smoking shelter! - leads into the core of the pub, a room with three settles in the centre focusing on the fireplace - an extraordinary characterful survival. 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; Green Dragon, Flaunden, Hertfordshire; Red Lion, Kenninghall, Norfolk; 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;; and Anchor, High Offley, Staffordshire .

Ironwork on the settles used to carry curtains for greater privacy and warmth. Quarry tile floor - look for the figure '4' to the right of the gap between the settles. There is also one full height short partition. The fire surround looks possibly inter-war or immediate post war (infill looks more 1950s).

There's no bar counter: the main bar has service via a stable door from the ground floor cellar. This is one of only eight traditional pubs left in the whole of the UK without a bar counter including the other Heritage Pubs the Cock, Broom, Bedfordshire; Milbank Arms, Barningham, Co. Durham; Red Lion, Ampney St Peter, Gloucestershire; Tuckers Grave, Faulkland, Somerset; Rose & Crown, Huish Episcopi, Somerset; Kings Head, Laxfield, Suffolk; and Manor Arms, Rushall, West Midlands.

The cellar area was much modernised following the death of Jack Cox whose family ran the pub for 150 years. There is still some old shelving and extra ones added, casks are on a modern stillage as the photo above the door shows - in Jack's day the casks were on a stillage on the right hand (window) side. Many locals stand drinking in the passageway around the settles so it can be a challenge to get to the cellar if busy! The second room with a number '2' on the door has a bare wood floor, a 1950s brick fireplace, some dado panelling could be modern and is served from a hatch to the cellar.

There is a plain further room (numbered 1) room across a corridor further back in the pub which has a 1950s brick fireplace and is used for shooting dinners and darts. There is a plan to extend the rear room so as to make it more attractive for functions. Outdoor Ladies' and Gents' - in the gap between the gents urinals which are attached to the the pub and the WC's are two Aunt Sally pub game pitches as the pub sports two teams.

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