‘England’s oldest pub’ to close

Landlord says he is ‘heartbroken’ at the news

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 06 February 2022 11:32
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<p>Ye Olde Fighting Cox in St Albans is closing down</p>

Ye Olde Fighting Cox in St Albans is closing down

A pub that claims to be the oldest in England is closing down.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in Hertfordshire, which was built in the 11th century, announced it had gone into administration.

The landlord of the St Albans pub announced the news “with great sadness” on social media earlier this week.

“Along with my team, I have tried everything to keep the pub going,” Christo Tofalli wrote.

“However, the past two years have been unprecedented for the hospitality industry, and have defeated all of us who have been trying our hardest to ensure this multi-award-winning pub could continue trading into the future.”

The Covid pandemic has led to pubs being shut for months on end or opening with restrictions in place.

During Plan B restrictions last Christmas, sales plummeted as customers kept away amid rising cases and caution over socialising.

Writing on Facebook, the landlord of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks said: “The Covid-19 pandemic was devastating and our already tight profit margins gave us no safety net.

“This resulted in us being unable to meet our financial obligations as they were due, creating periods of great uncertainty and stress for all who worked for, and with, the pub.”

The pub dates back to the 8th century and has tunnels linking its beer cellar to the St Albans cathedral.

Mr Tofalli said he was “heartbroken” about having to close the pub, which claims to date back to the eighth century.

Other pubs and pub chains have reported suffering due to the Covid pandemic.

JD Wetherspoons announced its biggest loss on record as the business suffered heavily due to restrictions.

Towards the end of last year, pub chain Fuller’s closed its busiest London pubs “indefinitely” as they criticised government support for hospitality amid the pandemic.

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