Historic ‘boost’ for village pub near Horsham

A village pub near Horsham - which has its own pet pig - has been given extra historic ‘protection.’

The Blue Ship in Five Oaks has won enhanced protective status by having its ‘listing’ upgraded. It’s part of a major preservation project aimed at protecting rare historic building interiors.

The Blue Ship is one of 11 pubs in England to be upgraded in a scheme being undertaken by Historic England in collaboration with the Campaign for Real Ale Pub Heritage Group.

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And the move has delighted pub landlord Simon Bailey. He said the historic pub - which has no bar counter, only a serving hatch - attracted a number of American and other overseas visitors.

The Blue Ship pub,, Five Oaks. Photo: Steve Robards SR20020703 SUS-200802-152350001

And, apart from its historic interior, the traditional old English pub is also loved for its pet pig - a Gloucester Old Spot named Miss Marple.

“She’s a rescue pig,” said Simon, ”she’s not allowed inside the pub but customers, especially kids, love seeing her next to the pub garden in the summer.”

The Grade 11-listed Blue Ship was originally listed as 18th century or earlier. But new information shows that it was originally a 16th century cottage that was converted into a pub in the 1850s.

It was subsequently remodelled and expanded later in the century.

The Blue Ship pub landlord Simon Bailey with pub pet pig Miss Marple. Photo: Steve Robards SR20020703 SUS-200802-152316001

A spokesman for Historic England said: “It serves as a good example of how modest vernacular buildings were converted into licensed public houses following the 1830 Beer Act.”

The Blue Ship is one of only eight pubs in the UK known to have no bar counter. The updated listing now refers to the pub’s rare, still-surviving tap room ‘servery’ arrangement from the 1850s.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: “English pubs are some of our best-loved community buildings and are often threatened with closure so we are delighted to see 11 historic pubs receiving further protection.

“The 11 pubs range from the Blue Ship in Billingshurst and the picturesque Rose and Crown in Somerset, to a London pub with links to Bartholomew Fair. All of them fully deserve the protection given by listing.”

The Blue Ship pub in Five Oaks has no bar counter, just a serving hatch. Photo: Geoff Brandwood SUS-201002-102601001

Paul Ainsworth, chairman of CAMRA’s pub heritage group, said: “So few of England’s 40,500 pubs retain interiors which have not suffered major alterations over the years.

“CAMRA has identified 230 pubs whose interiors it considers to be of national historic importance, and we feel it is vital for these precious survivors to be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

“The majority of these pubs are listed and the new detailed listing descriptions will enhance their protected status and give the public more information about the delights they contain.”

Although the term ‘public house’ can be traced back to the 1600s, the ‘pub’ as a distinct building type emerged in the mid-1800s. It brought together and developed three earlier types of building - the inn, tavern and alehouse.

The National Heritage List for England is held and managed by Historic England on behalf of the Government and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

It identifies buildings, sites and landscapes which receive special protection so they can be enjoyed by current and future generations.