Norfolk pub where Nelson drank closes
- Credit: Ian Burt
Villagers fear settles which our greatest hero sat in have been removed from the Lord Nelson at Burnham Thorpe.
Today brewery Greene King, which owns the premises, re-possessed the 17th Century pub, which was named after Nelson in 1798 after his victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile.
A spokesperson for Greene King said: 'It would be inappropriate to comment on any specifics of the relationship with the previous occupiers at this time, but we wish to reassure guests that our focus is on the best possible outcome for the Lord Nelson and its future as a pub.
'After repossessing the building today, the pub will be temporarily closed. It is our intention to reopen for trading as soon as possible and we are seeking a new licensee to take the business forward.
'The pub's fixtures and fittings were owned by the departing operators. We regret their loss from the pub, but these were not items belonging to Greene King. We asked about purchasing the items, but our request was declined. We will ensure that we replace them appropriately as part of our planned refurbishment and relaunch.'
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Landlady Debbie De Groeve, who took over the pub with her husband Peter and two other partners who later left the business 10 years ago, said she had not removed anything from the property which did not belong to her. The De Groeves left the property shortly after county court bailiffs arrived.
The sign outside the pub, on Walsingham Road has been removed and sheets cover its windows today. Villagers fear it has been stripped of its fittings and memorabilia of Nelson, who was born in the nearby Parsonage in 1758.
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Nelson lived in the village between 1786 and 1793, frequenting the pub which was then known as the Plough before becoming the first in the country to be named after him.
'It's terribly sad,' said Di Black, who has lived in the village for 20 years. 'This pub has been and should be a hub because it's a great village.
'There used to be people playing music in the snug, the shantymen on a Monday, when we've had village things in the past it's been the centre.'
Fellow regular Judith Neeves said: 'I'm not interested in the political and legal ins and outs of Greene King and the lessees.
'Those settles must be returned - even if the lessee agrees to sell them and I personally agree to buy them.
'I'm mystified they have been able to strip the pub of all its memorabilia.'
Mr Ingram told Mima Garland, who lives next door to the pub, that the brewery intended to re-open it.