The only pub left in a village that was once home to four watering holes has unexpectedly closed without warning.
People in Northchurch were shocked to to learn the news when they turned up to find a sign outside announcing that the George & Dragon had shut down.
The notice – written in chalk on a blackboard at the back of the watering hole – said: “It is with regret, but this pub is closed.”
Villager Jackie Champniss said that Northchurch ‘just wouldn’t be the same without the pub’.
She said: “It must be hundreds of years since Northchurch didn’t have a pub! We’ve lost the Old Grey Mare, and in years past – the Compasses and the Pheasant.”
A spokesman for Punch Taverns – the brewery that owns the George & Dragon pub – said that it was closed ‘on the basis of personal reasons’.
He said: “We will be consulting the licensee within the next few weeks and hope to get the pub reopened as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience to the local customers.”
Phil Waller, 67, of Granville Road, Northchurch, said that he thinks the George & Dragon will reopen, as it has always been a profitable community pub.
He said it will be ‘greatly missed’ in the meantime, as it was very popular – especially during its quiz and live music events.
He said: “It was our local village pub - and now we don’t have one.
“We had four at one time – but that was before my time. Then we had two two, when there was also Old Grey Mare – which is now flats.
“And now we have lost our last one. I hope it will be back soon.”
The Gazette rang a mobile number it has for landlord of the George & Dragon Mick Owens and left a voicemail.
But he had not responded to the call at the time when this article was published.
A message posted on the pub’s website says: “No forthcoming events due to the temporary closure of the G&D.”