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A pub with a nationally important historic interior
This pub is taken from the national inventory of historic pub interiors, CAMRA's pioneering effort to identify and help protect the most important historic pub interiors in the country.
SOMERSET - Witham Friary, Seymour Arms
An historic pub interior of national importance
Friary Close, Witham Friary, BA11 5HF
Tel: (01749) 850742
Opening Hours: 11-3, 6-11 Mon-Fri; 11-4, 6-11 Sat; 12-11 Sun
Real Ale & Cider: Real Ale and Real Cider
Listed Status: Grade II
List Entry Number: 1390963
Listing Date: 2004
Owned by the Douel family since 1943, this pub is a wonderful survival. It was purpose-built, along with farm buildings in 1866 or 1867 for the Duke of Somersets estate, and thus shows how rural pubs were often combined with farming or other functions (see p. 45). The farm was sold in 1980. The pub has a plain but dignified exterior with a splendid wrought-iron inn sign on one corner, and a surprisingly spacious interior of two rooms astride a large flagstoned corridor leading up to a glazed servery with horizontally sliding windows. Within the servery is a bank of four brass taps formerly used for service and a number of built-in drawers, all no doubt dating from the building of the pub. Off to the left is the ground-floor cellar. At the front on the left is the main public bar with simple bench seating and service via a hatch from the cellar. To the right is the Commercial Room. The only major change has been the addition of inside toilets in 1981. As much cider is sold as beer something that would have been true of so many rural Somerset pubs until the mid-20th century. A very similar pub, the Somerset Arms at Maiden Bradley (over the border in Dorset), complete with farm buildings, was also built for the Seymour estate, but is completely modernised.