Pub of the week: The Victory Inn, Clenchwarton

PUBLISHED: 14:48 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 14:48 27 May 2015

Pub of the Week - The Victory in Clenchwarton. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Pub of the Week - The Victory in Clenchwarton. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2015

Landlord and regulars in perfect harmony

Pub of the Week - The Victory in Clenchwarton - Landlord Wayne Howard. Picture: Matthew Usher.Pub of the Week - The Victory in Clenchwarton - Landlord Wayne Howard. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Villagers in Clenchwarton, near King’s Lynn, know what makes a good community local – and appreciate what the landlord, Wayne Howard, is doing at the Victory Inn, which is the village’s only pub.

He took over more than three years ago and regulars rate him as their favourite for many a year.

This is despite him having no experience of running pub when he arrived. Previously he ran factories, and he said being in charge of a pub was like running a “small factory”.

He has listened to what the regulars want and the current set-up seems to be a mutual appreciation society.

The history of the Victory Inn in Clenchwarton

Built in 1838, the Victory Inn was extended in the 1960s.

Landlord Wayne Howard does not know much about its history, but believes that the name would certainly have commemorated Admiral Lord Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

He said: “With Nelson being a local man, coming from Burnham Thorpe, and the battle being in recent memory when the pub was built, I’m sure that’s where the name comes from.

“I have not been told that the pub has ever been known under any other name.”

The Battle of Trafalgar, on October 21, 1805, was a naval engagement fought by the Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the Napoleonic Wars.

It was the most decisive naval victory of the war. Twenty-seven British ships, led by Nelson aboard HMS Victory, defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships in the Atlantic off the southwest coast of Spain.

“It’s very much a community local,” he said. “We sponsor the Clenchwarton men’s football team and the school’s PTA meets here. And we fundraise a lot for charities.”

He said he knew before he took it on that it would be tough running a pub, but it’s something he always wanted to do.

“When I took over, the pub had been struggling and it had been closed the Christmas before I came in the January.

“It had also been closed earlier that year. It needed a new kitchen, cellar and storeroom, so the interior has had a major refurbishment, and the garden needed landscaping.

“I had been living in Wisbech and did not know where Clenchwarton was, but I saw the big car park and the potential for a beer garden.”

He enjoys meeting new people from all walks of life each day and added: “It’s nice when you serve good food and see happy people leave – that’s very satisfying.

“It’s not really a job, it’s a way of life.

“You have to be prepared to get your hands dirty and do everything from unblocking toilets to whatever.”

A new phase of building work will start at the Main Road pub this year with the expansion of the restaurant.

In the meantime, regulars seem more than happy with the present situation.

Former fisherman Brian Minister, one of the regulars, said: “This village needs a pub, and we’ve got one.”

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