The George In Hatherleigh
atherleigh probably began as the Saxon settlement of "Haegporn Leah", meaning hawthorn glade
and was first recorded in 981 when it was confirmed as part of the endowment of Tavistock Abbey.
Later, Hatherleigh became a medieval borough and a license to hold a market in the town was first
granted by Henry III in 1220 - the current Tuesday market dates from 1693.
The George Hotel was regarded as one of the most important historic buildings in the centre of
Hatherleigh. It was a 15th century building possibly originating as the court house of the Abbots of
Tavistock, who owned the village and the surrounding moorland.
fter Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries the entire village, including its inns and taverns, was sold
to the Arscott family for £14 1s 6d! The rest of the 16th & 17th Century was a peaceful and
prosperous time for Hatherleigh; the townsfolk grew fat on the profits from wool and apart from a
small skirmish on Hatherleigh Common even the Civil War passed the town by.
In the 18th & 19th centuries the George Hotel was the posting inn for the stage coach from Bideford
to Plymouth and the four horse mail coach travelling from Exeter to Bude. Up until the 1960's the
original stables and cart shed were in the courtyard.
n 1850, Petty Sessions were held at the George Inn by the magistrates of Black Torrington and
Shebbear division. The 1851 census lists the inn as occupied by Thomas Allen & his wife Mary. The
Billings Directory of 1857 describes Mary Allen as the victualler, licensed to let post horses &
carriages. The George originally brewed its beer on the premises before the days of draymen.
During the 20th century the building was owned by a number of parties including Major D Erskine
Ling, who undertook refurbishment & restoration both prior to and after the Second World War. In
1950 Major Ling's restorations revealed sections of historic panelling beneath the later lath and
plaster. This panelling, including a dividing door beneath the dining room and the lounge, all dated
from 1678 and were carved with interlocking circles. These historic features were on display until
the destruction of the building by fire at Christmas 2008. Happily no one was hurt and the blaze is
not the end of the story.
he owners of the pub undertook one of the most ambitious projects the pub industry has seen in
recent years. There was nothing left of the original pub so the project had to start from the ground.
The building has been sympathetically rebuilt using reclaimed materials with around £2.5 million
spent, which resulted in a beautiful building with a newly thatched roof, reclaimed beams, wood
panelling, open fireplaces and the original features kept/copied as far as possible. The careful use of
traditional materials and construction methods created a building that is almost identical to the
original. Although the pubs historic features were lost in the fire, suitable substitutes were found by
combing the salvage yards of the South West. The George reopened at 4.00 pm on Saturday 20
November 2010 to the call of the Town Crier.
here are photographs around the pub showing pictures of what it used to look like and pictures of
the fire, well worth a wander round with a cool pint or a glass of wine!
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