Less than 24 hours after taking over the tenancy of The Rose & Crown at Lea near Malmesbury, Mark Green and Sarah Smith found themselves providing breakfast for 44 members of the church, next door to the pub.
However, it was a welcome introduction to village life for the couple who have two pre-school children. “The first thing we unpacked was packets of bacon – almost before the children’s suitcases,” said Sarah.
Mark and Sarah are experienced publicans – they even met in pub and both sets of parents were publicans themselves. Most recently Mark and Sarah ran The White Hart at Broadoak in the Forest of Dean but decided to bring in a manager to run it after deciding to find a village pub where they can settle down and bring up their family.
“The church breakfast is a regular event, apparently, and it a great way to meet our new neighbours,” said Sarah. “The pub also hosts a Friday toddler group in the pub skittle alley so I can’t wait to meet some of the local mums and dads there too.”
The couple spent months looking for their perfect pub, but fell in love with The Rose & Crown after contacting Arkell’s who said that the previous tenants were moving to New Zealand.
“It’s got a lovely feel to it, a big pub garden and a little private one for our family too – we love it, even if we’ve moved in during the depths of winter,” added Mark.
George Arkell, director at Arkell’s Brewery, is delighted that such experienced landlords have taken on the pub. “It’s great for the brewery and for the villagers and pub regulars,” he said. “Mark and Sarah understand the industry inside out and know how to deliver a really good night out.”
Mark is well aware that people have to have a good reason to come out in the current economic climate: “If you want people to come in, you have to give them a reason to do so. We pay a lot of attention to the quality and value of our food, so we’ll have plenty of regular menu choices – but a specials board too, which will really mean special.”
In the meantime, the family are starting to find their way around the area. “Malmesbury is lovely, and less than five minutes away, so we’ve enrolled the children in a nursery there twice a week. Hopefully it won’t be long before we’ve built up a new network of friends,” added Sarah.