Square & Compass

Dorset - Worth Matravers

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II

Weston Road
Worth Matravers
BH19 3LF

OS ref: SY974777

Tel: (01929) 439229

Email: kevin@squareandcompasspub.co.uk

Website http://www.squareandcompasspub.co.uk

Real Ale: Yes

Real Cider: Yes

View on: Whatpub

This renowned pub, established in the late-18th century, has been run by the Newman family since 1907. Picturesquely situated on the world-famous Jurassic Coast, it has stunning views out to sea and is also one of only five pubs to have appeared in every edition of the Good Beer Guide since it was first published in 1974. A flagstone passage leads to a servery/cellar at the back where service is via a hatch/doorway (this is a rare example of a no-counter pub.) To the left is a further hatch then wooden partition walls mark out the venerable tap room, entered by a (once) sliding door. This too has a flagstone floor plus solid benches and a large fireplace (opened up in 1990 and a wood-burning stove installed.) To the right is the ‘Big Room’ which was a small parlour before 1935 when it was extended into the stable block, hence the different ceiling heights. It is fitted with a continuous wood-block floor, fielded panelling and, on the left, a hatch for service (the big opening behind the curtains is from 1978). The pub still has outside toilets and sells as much real cider as beer. A museum of local fossils is housed in a room to the left. Food confined to pies and pasties

18th century pub built as two cottages it has been a pub since 1793. Run by the Newman family since 1907, this ancient Purbeck pub has just two rooms, flagstone floors, panelling, benches round the walls, serving hatches and splendid views of medieval field patterns and the sea beyond. An uneven flagstone passage runs from the front door and leads to a cellar servery situated in a lean-to added to the original building. Service is via the hatch/doorway into the servery (originally the back door) and a hatch further down the passageway on the left. The servery consists of a row of barrels on a stillage and numerous old shelves with no proper bar - one of only 20 such pubs left in the country.

Continue along the passageway and on the left is the tap room created by partition walls and is a truly venerable one. This small room has a flagstone floor and the seating is solid bare wood benches attached to the walls. The large old brick fireplace has a mantelshelf almost touching the ceiling. Between the shelf and the ceiling are display cases with old bottles. The room has three old tables and some stools made from logs. The fireplace took its present style when the stone interior was removed in 1990 to open it up and a furnace replaced the old hearth.

On the right of the entrance passageway is what is called the 'Big Room', which was a small parlour prior to 1935 and service was via the hatch formed by two tiny doors hidden in the panelling in the first half of the room. In 1935 the parlour was expanded to the size of the room we see today by extending into the stable block as signified by the two different ceiling heights. The date is confirmed by a large photograph in the Big Room captioned 'Reconstruction by Hayter and Son, the builders of Swanage, November 1935'. The room has a figure '1' on the latch door, a wood-block floor, fielded panelling on the walls and a false beam all dating from 1935. There are loose benches and at the far end of the room a stone fireplace with a log fire and a couple of small window seats. There is a large hatch cut in 1978 in the far section of the room which is now permanently hidden (fortunately) behind curtains.

Look for the spangle work inscribed to commemorate the 70th Newman anniversary. A Strongs of Romsey pub for many years, it passed to Whitbread then in 1994 it was purchased by the family. Amongst the items on the walls, the pubs most striking image is the Leon Heron cartoon in the tap room entitled 'Got to be cruel to be kind' - dated 1936 it shows a chimney pot on the former stable block i.e. after the conversion into 'the big room'. The pub still retains outside gents’ and ladies’ toilets which have been modernised.

On the far left of the pub in an extension built in about 1850 there is now a museum containing a collection of fossils, stones etc. Opened in February 1998 and dedicated to Raymond Newman, who started the collection and now carried on by his son Charlie - admission is free and it is open pub hours. The room was originally brought into use in the mid-1970s as a children's room. The square and compass are stonemasons basic tools - the pub holds a Stone Carving Festival in the last week of July and the first week of August. It is a forum for professional carvers who are at the pub each day and, originally held in Swanage, it moved here 10 years ago when the council stopped funding it and so Charlie invited them to hold it at the pub. The climax is Square Fayre at the concluding weekend and during this time the pub is open all day every day.

Has a Beer and Pumpkin Festival the first weekend in Oct when up to 40 real ales from small breweries are available, Cider and Sausage Festival the first weekend in November when about 20 ciders are available. They usually sell as much real cider as real ale here. The big old 1953 AC car in front of the pub has featured in two films and the TV series Midsomer Murders.

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