Historic Cotswolds inn reopened after refurbishment
HISTORIC hotel The Royalist, believed to be the oldest inn in England, has re-opened under a new name after a major refurbishment - creating up to 25 new jobs.
The Royalist in Stow-on-the-Wold and its adjoining gastro pub The Eagle and Child has opened again under the name The Porch House.
The new name is believed to have been in use during medieval times, with parts of its timber frame dating back to 947AD.
The Grade II listed building on Digbeth Street was bought in July last year by Henley-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear.
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It has invested in a major refurbishment of the place, preserving the inn’s centuries-old heritage while updating parts of the pub.
Its 14 en suite rooms are also once again open to the public.
An inscription over the ancient porch reads TS 1615, thought to refer to Thomas Shepham, a benefactor from the area.
James Rogers is the new manager at the Porch House, after working at the Old Bell in Hurley, Berkshire, a large, five-star restaurant with a reputation for good food.
The Porch House has a new menu too, with locally sourced food, and an updated wine list.
Stephen Small has been brought in as head chef.
James is now looking for recruits for the bar and restaurant as well as housekeepers, with up to 25 jobs up for grabs.
He said: “We’re all delighted with the way the Porch House is looking now. The staff team is also shaping up nicely and all our recruits will undergo thorough training before we open, so our customer service will be outstanding from day one.
“We’re determined to make the Porch House Stow’s top destination for drinking, dining and overnight accommodation.”
The inn was first established by the Saxon Duke Aethelmar of Cornwall, and the left-hand side of the inn is the oldest part of the site.
Over the centuries, the Porch House has been more than an inn. It is believed to have been a hospital in the 16th and 17th century, and a monastery.
Around 1880, a woman named Jenny Lee lived there and sold home-made sweets from the porch. And the medieval fireplace in the function room still bears witches’ marks, meant to ward off evil spirits and spells.
During the Second World War, the Porch House was used by military personnel, who found underground passages connecting the building to the nearby Maugersbury Manor.