Village pub closed for two years brought back to life by locals

The Rose and Crown
The Rose and Crown

A popular village pub has come back to life after being closed for two years.

Hundreds of villagers turned up at The Rose and Crown, Fletching on Wednesday night (March 7) to celebrate its re-opening.

One of the first through the door was Barry Dickens, Fletching Parish Councillor and prime mover in making it possible for the pub to open its doors.

Barry said: “It closed two years ago and owners had hoped to convert it into a private house. We all loved the pub and didn’t want to see it go - there is only one other pub in the village.

“We put forward a scheme to get it designated ‘an asset of community value’ but that was opposed. Eventually we re-applied to Wealden District Council and they agreed to go ahead.

We were told that it had been run down and was not making enough money to keep open. We believed that was not true so decided to push hard, find a suitable tenant and work to get it back into first-rate condition.

“Last night was the icing on the cake. It was packed out. It was great to see many familiar faces there and we know it’s going to pull in thousands of customers, particularly in the summer when there’s a lovely garden to sit in.”

The Rose and Crown is now being run by Simon Hancock and his daughter, Samantha.

Samantha, (39) said: “Dad and I have been in the pub business since 1976 so we think we know what we’re doing! We currently also run pubs in Cowfold, Halland and Newick. We believe in doing great food, most of it local and home-cooked.

“We aim to keep the pub really spruced up and welcoming and it was great to see such a crowd on Wednesday.”

The Rose and Crown dates back to the 12th century to the reign of King Stephen. During renovations in 1939 the back wall was discovered to have been constructed of Norman wattle and daub, a structure which stood for over 800 years. A sample is exhibited at the side entrance to the inn. The smartly furnished main bar has original oak beams.

The pub is one of several in Sussex which have been brought back from the brink by the efforts of villagers, although several, such as The Lamb, Ripe, closed and last October villagers in East Hoathly lost their battle to retain the Foresters’ Arms.