A historic pub interior of regional importance
Listed Status: Not listedForty Green Road
This is an extraordinary amalgam of nooks and crannies with lots of exposed timber-work but, from our point of view here there is one particularly special feature – a spectacular old settle bulging out into the entrance corridor (which has an old, very worn red tile and brick floor). This settle formed one side of a room with a quarry-tile floor and open fire. The space has suffered from being opened up towards the rest of the pub. In 1963 there was a number of changes including the installation of some quality fittings, including two bar counters, but with the removal of parts of partitions. This has meant that all the various spaces are interlinked apart from a room on the left which does retains its door. The pub website and inn signs make the nonsensical and unverifiable claim that this is the oldest free house in England.
Two-storey brick and half-timbered inn which may have parts that date back to Tudor times but has seen many changes over the years. The entry on this inventory is for the room created by a spectacular settle whose back bulges out into the entrance corridor. The original pub consisted of the settle room, corridor, front left room (first part) and rear left room. The remaining parts of the building to either side of the bar were used as store rooms. Now it is an extraordinary amalgam of nooks and crannies and lots of exposed timber-work. In 1963 there was a number of changes including the installation of some quality fittings but with the removal of parts of partitions. This has meant that all the various spaces are interlinked apart from a room at the rear left, which does retains its door.
Left-hand door leads into a corridor with an old, very worn red-tiled floor, the right hand side of the corridor being created by the mighty bulging settle. Just before the settle there is the original door into the settle room. The room has a red tiled floor, an old brick, tile and wood surround fireplace with a log fire, the bay window of this room was added in 1913 – the floor indicates the change – and the old wall benches here and the cabinet, were added at this time. Above the impressive curved settle are old wood panels that reach the ceiling. Sadly, the partition at the rear is lost creating a widish gap into the room.
On the left of the corridor a doorway (gap reduced by the positioning of a high backed settle) leads into a small two-part room with new flagstone-like floor, also with a bay window also added in 1913. This was originally a small saloon bar according to old postcards in a frame on the back of the settle and therefore has been doubled in size by knocking through to another small room in 1963. The snug part at the rear has a brick fireplace with an old fireback now situated above it which does look like 1963 work.
At the rear left is another small low, beamed room with a door and screeded floor – this is another original room (called the Candle Room?). The entrance passageway continues with a red brick floor and leads to a piece of bar counter made of ancient timbers and brick and dating from 1963. Beyond the settle room is an area in front of the servery with a flagstone floor having been moved back to create greater space. The original serving hatch was approximately 4ft from the back of the snug – the bar fittings date from 1963 or later.
On the right is the King Charles Room, a large ‘barn-like’ room with open rafters and nooks and crannies which were brought into use in post-war times – see a newspaper article on the back of the settle which indicates it was in use in the 1950s. Some of the stained glass was procured from the Blitz, however this will soon be relocated to a new dining area. It had an old brick fireplace but this was lost when this room was sympathetically extended to the right in 2017 and modern fireplace added as well as new toilets at the rear right (also lost was three big urinals in both gents). The fielded panelled bar counter dates back to 1963 but the bar-back was replaced much more recently.
For some unaccountable reason the main bar back sports a wooden carving of the Last Supper! Equally unaccountable is their website's imaginative and unverifiable claim to be the oldest free house in England. In 2017-18 the building was being extended to double it existing size to add 12 bedrooms and a new dining area.