Family aiming for success after taking charge again at historic Shropshire pub

A Shropshire pub getting back on its feet was forced to close just days after reopening, and owners say they welcome the day their brief stint of success can continue.

Ollie Jones is pictured with chef Anna Merricks and fellow staff member Jodie Betton
Ollie Jones is pictured with chef Anna Merricks and fellow staff member Jodie Betton

'Home of the famous Crown Pie', The Crown Inn at Wentnor, west of Church Stretton, closed in October last year when its landlord and lady left, leaving it in the hands of the family that bought the venue in 1983.

Set on ensuring they could continue the legacy their parents started at the 16th Century country pub 38 years ago, Sally-Anne Jones and Andrew Richards, along with Sally-Anne's son Ollie, decided they would reopen the venue while continuing their day-to-day jobs as a teacher and builder respectively.

After months of hard work to reopen the venue on December 18, it was forced to close just 12 days later after a "manic period" of trading.

Now, offering their well-known pies through a takeaway service only, the pub owners say they look forward to welcoming back customers when coronavirus restrictions allow.

The Crown Inn at Wentnor

Ollie, 24, pub licence holder, said: "We had the choice of reopening it or leaving it empty.

"We felt we had a moral obligation to reopen the pub and we managed to do so in December.

"It was a brief, successful, manic period, before we were forced to close on December 30.

"We've since launched our pies through takeaways which are going really well, but it certainly was a great shame to have to close.

Inside the Crown

"We took great pride in taking it on, reopening it and welcoming in all the customers but we can understand the need to close given what's happening unfortunately."

The pub received an order of beer from Wye Valley Brewery the day it had to close, a substantial amount of which will go to waste.

Ollie, who is a town planner in his day job, added: "It's been difficult throughout the pandemic in regards to ordering food and beer and knowing how much to get in.

"The day we closed we had an order from Wye Valley of new casks, and it was a case of 'well, what do we do with this?'.

"We'll be using as much as we can in our pies but we'll still have some left over which is essentially going to be wasted."

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