Stag Inn

West Sussex - Balls Cross

A historic pub interior of national importance

Listed Status: II


Balls Cross
GU28 9JP

This was a simple beerhouse in the late eighteenth century. The two rooms in the centre of the present pub form its historic core. This was extended in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century when the former post office-cum-cottage of 1880 (on the right) was added, whilst the fourth room (left), the former beer store, became a games room in the mid-1990s. The public bar is floored with large Horsham flags and has an inglenook fireplace and half-height panelling. The counter is interwar as is the quarter-circle counter in the second room to the right (it appears in an old newspaper photo of 1938 on show here). The post office/cottage was converted to dining use in the 1990s. Outside toilets.

Behind the stone and brick 18th-century facade lies a four-roomed village pub. The original two main rooms are little altered for over 70 years. In the late 19th/early 20th century the post office cottage dating from 1880 to the right side was added. The fourth room on left-hand side side was the former beer store, becoming the games room in the mid-1990s. The pub was in family ownership until 1966 when it was acquired by King & Barnes and is now owned by Hall & Woodhouse. The main door leads into the public bar with large Horsham flagstones - some 3ft x 4ft but all irregular shapes. Folklore has it that these were laid first, and the building constructed around them! Old half-height panelling painted a pale green colour. Part of the bar, from the entrance to the bar counter, was a Bottle and Jug until the 1920s. A small indentation in the ceiling running diagonally from left of the door indicating the position of a former partition is the only key to this former layout. Old inglenook fireplace essentially unaltered - a posed photo of a hoop shaver sitting in the inglenook, dated March 1939, confirms. Note the 17th-century fireback. Bar counter most definitely original from 1920/30s. Simple back shelves were, reputedly, fitted when the stillage was done away with and this was believed to be 1950s. Door frame between main bar and small right-hand bar was replaced (old one rotten?) by K&B in 1966 with a varnished oak door-frame as a 'feature'. A replacement beam above the bar counter was also fitted in 1966 (to strengthen the ceiling?).

To the right is the another small bar with original wooden floorboards. Old dado panelling. Quarter-circle bar counter dates from at least 1920/30s as evidenced by a photo from Southern Weekly News dated 9/4/1938 in the bar. Behind the bar is an old low door, now painted over and out of use. Simple bar back wooden shelving behind again from 1950's. Fireplace in this bar is from 1930s and appears in the 1938 photo - it is now covered by a bench. There is just one large table in this small room and an illuminated display case in the wall. The third room was originally the cottage and was incorporated into the pub late C19th/earlyC20th, being originally used as the games room and converted into a dining area mid-1990s. Local recollection from the 1930s is definite on this point. Original fireplace (from 1800s) and wood panelling from 1920/30s plus original door-frame linking bars 2 and 3. On the front left is the small games room in a former beer store brought into use in the mid-1990s. Clearly done out in sympathetic style with dado wood panelling etc. This totally discrete room it is approached by step and door from main bar - the exterior door is kept locked. The outside gents' on the left has been that forever but the outside ladies' occupies the former garage on the right and dates from the mid-1960s.

Read More