They are a Norfolk institution who have been entertaining crowds with their songs of the sea for decades.

But the Sheringham Shantymen seem to have struck a note of discord in their hometown.

The group has become embroiled in an extraordinary row with the pub where they have been drinking for more than 30 years after its new management told them to tone down their usual singing shenanigans in case they upset customers.

The request infuriated some of the singers who walked out, vowing not to return, saying they were no longer welcome there.

Eastern Daily Press: The Sheringham ShantymenThe Sheringham Shantymen (Image: Jane Davies)


The disharmony dates back to Thursday last week when several of the Shantymen decamped to the Lobster, their regular haunt, after a rehearsal session.

The group - which has toured around the world and appeared on the BBC several times - were singing some of their shanties when they were approached by staff.

They asked the group to turn down the volume as there were guests, including a young family, staying in rooms upstairs.

The request did not go down well and some of the Shantymen left the pub, although others stayed.

READ MORE: Famous Norfolk lifeboat museum set to close

Eastern Daily Press: The Lobster pub in High Street, SheringhamThe Lobster pub in High Street, Sheringham (Image: Adam Barker)


One of the group posted about the incident on Facebook shortly afterwards saying: "Tried the Lobster tonight for the first time since [previous landlord] Graham left - wish I hadn’t bothered.

“A good number of long-term local folks from a well-known Sheringham singing group were made to feel very unwelcome.

“We won’t be going back. What a sad state.

“Let’s hope the tourists aren’t too discerning as that’s the only client they’ll have with that attitude."

Eastern Daily Press: A Sheringham Shantymen promotional video filmed at The Lobster as part of the group's 'Sail of The Century' show at Cromer Pier last yearA Sheringham Shantymen promotional video filmed at The Lobster as part of the group's 'Sail of The Century' show at Cromer Pier last year (Image: Sheringham Shantymen)


The High Street pub at the heart of the town has been the Shantymen's favoured watering hole for years.

The group previously filmed a promotional video in its beer garden, with a voiceover from broadcaster Stephen Fry.

However the pub has recently undergone a change of management following the departure of Graham Deans in January, after 22 years.

It reopened in February following a £465,000 refurbishment, which included a new bar, kitchen, guest rooms and outdoor area, and is now run by Oliver McErlain, who also manages the nearby Crown.

READ MORE: The Lobster in Sheringham reopens after £465k refurbishment

“We asked them very politely to just quieten it down a bit as we had all of our rooms full, one of which had a young family with a small child," he said.

"A few of them took displeasure that we’d asked them to do that but the rest of them stayed."

Eastern Daily Press: Oliver McErlain, general manager of The Lobster and The Crown in SheringhamOliver McErlain, general manager of The Lobster and The Crown in Sheringham (Image: Brittany Woodman)


Mr McErlain said he hoped that the row would blow over and said the group remained welcome in his pubs.

He added: “I very much want to be a part of the community, of which I’m very much aware the Shantymen are a big part of.

“We welcome them with open arms. On that particular evening there were young families staying and people who were getting up early in the morning for work staying in the rooms above.

"It was common sense from our perspective, and perhaps it didn’t feel particularly nice from their perspective. But it wasn’t done with any malice or us being rude - but everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.

“I personally, and the rest of my team, are Sheringham locals and we’re working really hard to win over the community.

"I’m acutely aware that the businesses I’ve taken over are from people who have been in those businesses for decades.

"I’m not going to fit in immediately but I’m certainly not afraid of some hard work and I will work tirelessly until I’m accepted because I do passionately love Sheringham.

"I love the businesses I run and hopefully over time I’ll be accepted - but I’m aware that’s not going to happen overnight."

A spokesman for Stonegate, which runs the pub, added: "The individual who initially reported the supposed incident has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

"Our focus remains on fostering positive relationships within our community, and we continue to welcome local guests to enjoy the re-vamped, new-look pub following its recent investment.”

The Shantymen have declined to comment on the row.

READ MORE: Landlord leaves The Lobster pub in Sheringham after 22 years

Eastern Daily Press: The Lobster pub in SheringhamThe Lobster pub in Sheringham (Image: Adam Barker)


The group was formed in 1988 by a group of local lifeboatmen and friends to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Sheringham lifeboat the ‘Augusta’.

They enjoyed the experience and decided to continue.

They formalised the group in 1990, naming themselves the Sheringham Shantymen, and they continue to support the RNLI, raising tens of thousands of pounds for it and other causes.

The Shantymen are the only organisation outside of the RNLI that is allowed to wear the charity's logo on their uniforms.

The group travels widely around the UK and Ireland and has also performed throughout Europe and in the US.