The Yarcombe Inn

Click here for:    The Yarcombe Inn's website      (old)

 

Contact email address:   theyarcombehorse@proton.me

The Yarcombe Inn opening date has yet to be announced.

For the latest news see Recent History below.

 

 

 

ASSET OF COMMUNITY VALUE CLASSIFICATION

The Parish Council's application for the pub to be classified as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) has been approved and the ACV now remains active until 2025.

 


CURRENT OWNERS

The pub is currently owned by Eagleyed Ltd, a company with no apparent internet presence, run by Martin Bayntun.   Blue Alpine have also advertised - both companies have addresses in Pinner.   SLS Properties in South London and Guy Simmonds (Facebook) have also acted as agents.

 


A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE YARCOMBE INN

Your attention should be drawn to the historic significance of The Yarcombe Inn within this community and indeed nationally.   Since the time of the listing of The Yarcombe Inn (formerly known as The Angel Inn), much archeological research has taken place.   Mrs Ruth Everitt, historian and author of the book From Monks to The Millennium, spent many years after the publication of her book continuing her research into the history of the Parish of Yarcombe.   It was clear from ancient documents both in the public domain and in private ownership that The Yarcombe Inn was in use some 900 years ago as a Church House providing succour for wayfarers, a tradition that has continued to this day.   Sadly Mrs Everitt is no longer alive to provide the precise details of this research; however, she found conclusive evidence that this Church House provided shelter in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries for the many pilgrims who came to visit and pray at the monastic house of St Michael Hall that stood near the river Yarty, before travelling to Newnham Abbey, Glastonbury, Salisbury, Winchester, Chichester and finally to their destination at Canterbury.

During internal building repairs to The Yarcombe Inn in the mid-1990s The Yarcombe Horse was discovered. This important corbel made of Ham Hill stone is of a horse wearing a halter made from twisted rope.   It is very rare evidence for the style of horse equipment used in Devon during the Norman period and is one of the earliest depictions in stone within the British Isles of a horse wearing a rope halter.   It is thought that it has its origins either in the church previous to the present medieval Church of St John the Baptist, or is from St Michael Hall.   The sculpture resides at present in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.

Our historic buildings, be they stately or vernacular, are an integral part of our national identity.   Certainly much of the fabric of The Yarcombe Inn is perhaps no more than four hundred years old but there are parts of it which together with its history make it a building of significant historical interest and importance, not just within the Parish of Yarcombe and the County of Devon but nationally as well.



RECENT HISTORY

2000s / 2010s / 2020s
 

In late October 2009 after a closure of several years, the Yarcombe Inn became Community-run following an appearance in an episode of Jay Smith's TV programme "Save Our Boozer" broadcast on Channel Dave.   A lease agreement was reached with the owners and forty or so volunteers from the village and surrounding areas donated their time and energy to reopening and running the pub.   Food was initially provided by volunteers but later, paid catering staff were hired, raising the standard to the point where the pub was deservedly ranked number one in the Honiton area on Trip Advisor.

       
 
Above:   The Yarcombe Inn during the Community-run period, 2012.      Below:   Interior snaps
 
       
       
       
Below:   Volunteers and guests celebrate at the Community Inn's 3rd birthday party in 2013.
       
       
       
       
       

The pub remained Community-run until mid 2013 when the then chef took on the lease, but in August 2014 the pub sadly closed once again.   Shortly afterwards, villagers prepared an application for an Asset of Community Value (ACV) for the building, gathered the requisite number of signatures and passed it to the Parish Council.

In mid 2015 hopes were raised when new owners vowed to open and bring the pub back to life, but they very quickly, too quickly some would say, backtracked and applied to convert the building into a residence.   The Parish Council then belatedly sent the ACV application to EDDC and the villagers submitted enough objections to thwart the change of status.   The ACV was granted by EDDC and remained in place until its expiry in September 2020 (since extended to 2025).

During this time negotiations with the owners failed to reach an agreement regarding the future of the pub which remained closed once more.   However in July 2017 the Parish Council teamed up with villagers to formulate a business plan and to raise enough money through Crowdfunder donations and grants to purchase the building.   A special July 2017 issue of the village magazine containing plans, relevant facts and history of the Inn is archived on the Yarcombe Voices page.

Click here to access the Yarcombe Voices Archive folder

Social media was also used to good effect.   Below are some of the Facebook and Twitter postings used in 2017.

 

       
       
       
       
       
       
 

 

Above:   Some of the advertising used to encourage donations to the Save The Yarcombe Inn campaign.

 

Left:   Volunteers outside the Save The Yarcombe Inn tent at the Yarcombe Terrier Racing event in August 2017.

     

The Crowdfunding efforts continued and enough was raised via donations and grants to purchase the building, but despite realistic offers from the Parish Council, matching then exceeding the market value assessed by independent valuers at the time, the owners still refused to accept and the pub remained unused for some time.

Then in mid 2019 a local couple bought the pub.   Yarcombe Voices reported, "Their vision is to see the pub restored to the glory of its former days, their wish is to give the village back its heart".   But despite hiring excellent staff, the best ever seen here according to some, the pub floundered once again and was closed before a year had passed.   COVID, several months into its evil spell, was partly responsible.

The owners, via e-Voices (a local news-via-email service) announced in July 2020, "We have instructed a commercial agent who specialises in public houses. Their advice is to market the pub ‘To Let’ and to also include the opportunity to take the freehold, as it is not uncommon for a tenant to require the option to buy after a couple of years in their lease."

In the very next edition of Yarcombe Voices (our village publication which had a deadline for articles of 15th July) the Parish Council Chairman wrote "Following the message in e-Voices on 3rd July that a new tenant landlord was being sought to take over The Yarcombe Inn, we now learn it has been placed on the market with a selling agent. It is hoped that a buyer will soon be found and that The Yarcombe Inn will be reopened in the near future. The Parish Council discussed this development along with the current ACV (Asset of Community Value) and have decided to apply to East Devon District Council to have this listing extended. The primary purpose of this action is to protect the property for the community and ensure that it remains a public house."

The extension to the ACV was granted by EDDC and remains active until at least September 2025.   In the meantime the owners sold the building and an advert was subsequently spotted on the website of an estate agent / financial investor.

As the COVID crisis slowly eased, the new owner found tenants who tried hard between mid 2021 and mid 2022, but it was their first attempt at running a public house and, following a hefty rent increase, they understandably declined to continue at the end of their one year lease.

The outcome and current situation as of February 2024 is that the inn is believed to be occupied by tenants since November 2022 claiming they are about to open for business, but  this is now looking less and less likely.   A May 2023 opening date was originally announced but questionable problems, initially with the electricity supply, then with phone and internet connections, have adversely affected progress, causing a slippage which seems to have occurred for all recent tenants just as the vital summer trade begins.   A recent statement suggested that everything that could go wrong has, although full details are hard to obtain.

Just as the delays seemed to be nearing their end it was surprisingly announced that cellar relocation was to be scheduled and that this work would rule out an opening date in the month of August.   Relocation of the cellar was reported to have been completed around 24th August, so locals eagerly waited for the announcement of an opening date!   However in response, it has been stated:   "We are in no hurry now as the summer season is pretty much over."     Also a Facebook post dated 26th August detailed further ongoing and future work on interior painting, exterior plants, the kitchen and recruitment.

In mid-September 2023 several villagers reported that they'd heard a chef was about to take up residence and that the pub will be opening "in a few weeks", presumably ruling out a September opening date.   No sign of a chef has been seen.

Further time passes and by early November 2023 an opening date had still not been announced.   Villagers, many of whom were involved in the running of the pub as a Community Inn and have at least some knowledge of these matters are puzzled and suspicious about the lack of progress and financial viability but can only wait and hope there are no further "problems".

Christmas 2023 / New Year 2024 passes by with no significant news or opening plans and a designated premises supervisor, essential for the sale of alcohol, has still not been appointed.   It has been mentioned that much of the kitchen equipment has been condemned although it was in good condition during the last tenants' reign.   Recent delays, it is claimed, have been caused by the opening of another pub which the tenant has so far declined to name.   One possibility is The Royal Oak in Hawkeridge, Wiltshire.   Another associated pub, The Market House Inn in Bridport, has now closed after reopening only a year ago in late 2022.

Check here for further updates.

     

 

Left:   In December 2012 during the Community-run period, Primrose Baker (nee Sweetland) returns to the Yarcombe Inn where she and her sister Pam were born.

Click to read full article

     

1980s:

     
   

The Inn in the early 1980s

   
     
     

1970s:

     
   

An aerial snap of The Inn taken in 1975

   
     
     
1960s:
     

 

Thanks to Sue Barrass from Great Yarmouth for this 1960 postcard (above & left).

Reg Bullett was landlord in 1960-69 at which time the pub was owned by Brutton Mitchell Toms, a Yeovil based brewery later taken over by Bass Charrington who had a Chard Depot.   Reg Bullett was responsible for renovations, perhaps the fireplace in the old inglenook.

 

     
1950s:
     
 
     
 

Thanks to Mandy Field from Bedford who came across these as she was sorting through her parents' photographs.   She believed they may have visited back in the 1950s.

     
     
     
1930s:
     
 

Circa 1935:

Left:   Local farmers queue at the Yarcombe Inn to pay their land rent.

Above:   Shirley Briant's grandfather.

Above:   Gladys, Rita & George's father Sid Pidgeon.

     
 

A photograph (left) apparently taken shortly after the one above.

     
     

 

Postcards, believed to be from the mid 1930s

     
 

Two shots of the Inn, believed to have been taken in the 1930s.

     
 

Left:   The Yarcombe Inn, or "Inne" depending on which sign you read!   Year unknown but in the days when accommodation was offered.

     
     

 

A postcard letter from a time similar to the above. The pencil sketch is very finely carried out. The writing is in blue pen, with a side note “written in car!"   The message reads:
Dear Keith,
You should try this pub sometime, the food is terrific and our host is full of the joys of spring i.e. Beer and poker dice, lots of cider.   We were up with him till 2am and got as sloshed as billie goats. We are now on the way to Exeter.
Lots of love from us both,   Tom and Sue

     

The Yarcombe Inn tariff at the time of "Tom and Sue's" stay (above)

     
1910s:
     
 

Taken outside the Yarcombe Inn during WWI.

 

The Yarcombe Inn in 1915

     
1900s:
     
 

The Yarcombe Inn in or before 1904.

 

Probably the earliest picture of the Yarcombe Inn, judging by the quality!

     

Taken in front of The Yarcombe Inn circa 1900.   Not a hatless head in sight!

Standing, Top: Fred Palmer & Tom Gready

Sitting Left to Right:      William Clarke, Sidney Clarke, John Palmer

Standing:     Tom Goodland, Mr Matthews, Robert Gready (Woodhayne), _, _, Mr Clarke (Newcott), R Wyatt (Hillhouse), Sam Phillips, John Matthews(?), Tom Spiller (Livehayne), _, _, Mr Edwards, Sam Wyatt (Pithayne), John Bright (Stockland).

 

Steve Horner remarks:     Robert Gready (born 1846 and died in Buckland St Mary, 1926) was a tenant at Woodhayne from 1870 to 1926.   Tom Gready his son, standing at the back (r), was born in Yarcombe in 1876.   Robert's nephew Dennis (Dan) Gready took over from 1926 to 1933.