Wiltshire Publications

Westbury woman’s role in saving Warminster pub

AWESTBURY landlady hopes to be the driving force behind a successful relaunch of one of Warminster’s oldest pubs.

Jacquie Young, who runs the Ludlow Arms,  will be teaming up with local pub enthusiast Chris Pitcher, to save Warminster’s Bell and Crown.

The Bell and Crown closed at the end of last year, and many thought that after 300 years’ service, the pub on Bell Hill had served its last pint.

Jacquie will be running the pub, and hoping to bring it up to the award-winning standard Chris is used to.

Jacquie said, “I’ve been warmly welcomed by the locals but I’m no stranger here – in fact it’s almost like reliving my youth.

“I’m Westbury born and bred and when I was a lot younger some of the girls regularly used to come over to the Bell and Crown to enjoy the discos that used to be held upstairs in the 1970s.”

The pub dates from at least 1675 as it was featured in Ogilby’s map of the coach road from London to Barnstaple in 1675, which lists the Bell as one of the inns on route.

The Bell and Crown used to have its own brew house, and at one time the landlord had the right to put drunks in stocks on the other side of the road opposite the inn.

New owner Chris Pitcher has run the nearby Fox and Hounds in partnership with wife Marion for the past 11 years.

Chris said, “I’m investing in the future of the Bell and Crown. I saw there was a business opportunity, but there was more to it than that as I don’t like to see pubs closing down left, right and centre, and I know this will be a valuable facility for the south of the town in particular.

“We already have teams lined up to take advantage of the remodelled skittle alley upstairs.

“The plan is to provide a clean, tidy and welcoming facility, well run and serving products in the manner that helped us win the Bath and Borders ‘CAMRA Pub of the Year Award’ in 2012.”