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Popular Norfolk pub rises from the ashes after Beast from the East devastation

Saracen's Head pub and restaurant at Wolterton has re-opened. Landlady, Jane Elwes.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Saracen's Head pub and restaurant at Wolterton has re-opened. Landlady, Jane Elwes. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

The Beast from the East had been blamed for many things, but the damage it caused to a popular Norfolk pub is only now being put right.

A burst pipe caused by the cold spell earlier in the year left the Saracen’s Head in Wolterton, near Aylsham, under water with its rooms, bar and parlour all flooded.

Owners Tim and Jane Elwes set about repairing the damage, and the pub and restaurant reopened on Wednesday (29) night.

The restaurant, which has about 50 covers, is booked up for the next few days with work on the guest rooms set to be finished by the end of September.

Mrs Elwes, who has run the pub with her husband for seven years, said she was very relieved they were back.

Saracen's Head pub and restaurant at Wolterton has re-opened.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYSaracen's Head pub and restaurant at Wolterton has re-opened. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“It feels fantastic to be open again. We thought we would be open within a couple of months. But it’s a Grade 2 listed building and we had to work with the council conservation officers.

“Our focus was getting the restaurant back and the feedback we’ve had from customers has been amazing.”

One of those customers is June Keats, from Aylsham, who said: “It’s great that it’s back. We felt deprived when it was closed.”

Her friend Judith Meredith, also from Aylsham, added: “We were counting down the days until it reopened.”

Flood damage at the Saracen's Head. Pictures: Jane ElwesFlood damage at the Saracen's Head. Pictures: Jane Elwes

Mrs Elwes said the flooding and destruction to the property had been “heartbreaking”.

She added: “Luckily, we were insured, It has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair everything.

“We were so shocked about the whole thing. We had to refurbish all the rooms at the front of the building. Four rooms were flooded. The ceiling had fallen in the bar. The bar and the parlour were flooded. All the plaster had to come off. It took two months to dry it out and then five to six weeks to clear it out.

“We have given it a more modern feel and re-decorated it. We paid our staff for the whole five months we were closed.”

The pub dates back to the early 1800s and was built by the Walpole family for nearby Wolterton Hall.

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