Glasses raised to welcome new bosses at historic Barnham pub

The new managers of an historic Barnham pub have spoken of their excitement at taking over – and of their ambitious plans for the future.

Jennie Cooper and Steve Rowntree have taken up their roles at the Murrell Arms after saying a fond farewell to departing landlady Jane Morgan, who has called time on her duties after 34 years pulling pints for locals.

Now partners Jennie and Steve, residents of Bognor Regis and Felpham for most of their lives, have lifted the lid on their exciting intentions for the Yapton Road hostelry – along with revealing a programme of events, such as comedy nights, live music and quizzes.

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Speaking at the pub, built in 1750 and a drinking establishment since 1864, Jennie said: “We are extremely excited about taking over. We have always loved the pub and have visited many times over the years. Steve has run pubs in Midhurst and Bristol in the past, and I have experience in event management within the comedy and entertainment industry.

New managers at the Murrell Arms, Barnham, Jennie Cooper and Steve Rowntree

“We so excited to be starting their new journey together in the pub.

“We both feel privileged to be able to carry the baton for the next leg in the pub’s history.

“We adore the antiques and collectables that make the interior of The Murrell so special and wish to keep the historical character within the pub unchanged.

“We both believe that a pub should be the hub of the community and there for everyone.

“We look forward to welcoming new people from the area as well as continuing to please the current regulars.

“We have lots of plans for the pub in terms of entertainment.

“We will be reopening the old auction house at the back of the pub and renaming it The Barn Function Room, with its own cash bottle bar.

“And we will be holding monthly comedy nights with professional comedians travelling from London and beyond.

“The first of these will be February 18 and tickets are on sale on our Facebook page and Eventbrite.”

There were also plans afoot for monthly live music, both local bands and tribute acts from all over the country.

Jennie added: “Some will be ticketed and some will be offered as free events.

“The hugely popular local band Petrol Money will be performing in The Barn on February 11, this event will be free entry.

“We also plan to utilise the barn during the day for events such as craft fairs and mini farmers’ markets, this is still work in progress.

“The barn will also be available for private hire.

“New events also within the pub will be a fortnightly pub quiz every other Wednesday starting on the 12th January. Booking a table is recommended.

“There will also be monthly open mic nights for local musicians, the first of these is Tuesday, January 18.

“Also, mid-week live music such as soloists and duos will be booked to perform once or twice a month.

“Neil Ainsby will be performing on January 26 and we have plans for a special Valentine’s evening with live music from Harley Hutchinson on the February 14.”

And the duo want to continue supporting local charities and good causes: “We will be looking to organise events to raise money for both local and national charities.

“Traditional annual events such as Morris dancers in the summer and carol singers at Christmas are all part of our longer-term plans. We plan to bring back food as soon as possible.

“This is just the beginning and we plan to keep developing ideas with the help of suggestions from our customers in order to make The Murrell Arms a friendly, welcoming hub for the community.

“We hope the local community will welcome with us with open arms.”

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