Villagers have rallied to save an historic Staffordshire pub – with a £199,000 whip round.
Residents at Seighford, near Stafford, were so fed up at the prospect of losing their local pub the Hollybush Inn, which dates back over 300 years, they decided to buy it.
A group of 26 investors won out when the hammer came down at CP Bigwood’s latest auction at the Holte Suite at Villa Park.
The Hollybush, on Main Street, had a guide price of £220,000 but the consortium managed to get it for £199,000.
Now they hope to re-open the Grade II Listed hostelry this year. The only pub in the village, the former Hollybush had been trading as an Indian restaurant known as the Spice Bazaar for the last three years.
CP Bigwood director Ian Tudor said: “This courageous group of villagers have scrimped and saved up to keep their local village pub and even up to the night before were still unsure whether they had sufficient funds in place.”
Farmer Robert Eld, who leads the group, said he was “very pleased” to have done the deal.
“It remains to be seen whether we can make a go of it but we certainly hope to do so.
“We have had a lot of local assistance but need further investors to commit. Hopefully that will happen.
“We have a thriving school and a church, but had lost the village shop and the pub. We are trying to restore these services.
“We are looking to re-open the pub later this year selling good value food with well-kept local beers in a friendly welcoming atmosphere.
“And we are working on launching a mobile shop and mobile post office.”
The timber-framed Hollybush Inn was built in 1675, probably as a dwelling, but possibly originally serving as a house incorporating a beerhouse.
The Hollybush Inn was one of six pubs offered at the auction by CPBigwood from places as far afield as Norwich and Leicester, with five selling either on the day or prior to auction.