Celebrating 100 years at these traditional Cornish pubs

F lashback to 1922, when Walter Hicks’ daughter, Hester Parnall, began steering the ship with a strong vision for the future. Seven pubs were purchased as part of an offering expansion for the business.

Hester's influence spearheaded the ever-growing hospitality arm of the company. Today, we have a portfolio of more than 190 pubs, inns, and hotels across the West Country.

Raise a pint of Tribute pale ale and join us in celebrating 100 years at these six traditional Cornish pubs, dotted across the county. 

 

Earl of St Vincent, Wadebridge

Hidden away in the picturesque village of Egloshayle, this quaint watering hole has been offering respite to weary travellers since the 17th century. A prime example of one of Cornwall's last remaining traditional pubs, you'll find award-winning ales perfectly paired with locally sourced dishes, showcasing the very best of the county's produce. 

The inn was purchased in 1922 from A Coombes & Son, wine and spirit merchants of Wadebridge, alongside eight additional properties. While the inn then fell under Walter Hicks & Co, the license stayed in the same family between 1892 and 1989 before passing to current tenants, Anne and Edward Conolly. 

Lovingly restored, you'll still find period features dotted about the property, and the inn has remained black - the colour chosen back in 1939. 

 

Golden Lion, Port Isaac

The Golden Lion has been serving the bustling fishing village of Port Isaac since the 18th century. Acting as a community hub for generations of locals across a range of trades, including fish-processing, pottery, and stonemasonry, the property passed to Walter Hicks & Co in 1922 - another pub included in the £800 settlement from A Coombes & Sons. 

You will have no doubt heard of Cornwall's smuggling past, and the Golden Lion played its part in this clandestine period of the county's history. Known as 'Bloody Bones', a tunnel stood connecting the cellar to the harbour and it is likely that its initial purpose required a good amount of storage. Additional interior features from the 18th and 19th centuries still survive, including a drinking passage, with hatch and shelf, accessed from the street level door. 

Step back in time and reimagine the busy, working harbour of days gone by. With a pint of Tribute in hand, there isn't a better way to take in the surroundings. Indulge in simple dishes, stunningly prepared to fuel your history lesson. 

 

Harbour Inn, Padstow

Formally known as the Commercial Hotel, the Harbour Inn is tucked away from the main harbour area in Padstow. Likely purpose-built, the hotel was originally just one of nine inns in the town nad regularly hosted large-scale events and meetings. 

The license passed from Jacob Arthur Olver to his son, Henry Olver, who in 1922, was fined for obscene language and allowing drunkenness on his property. This prompted Walter Hicks & Co to purchase the pub for £1,500 and P Le Patoruel was installed as the tenant. Yet, the name was not changed until 1967, after there was talk the old name might be 'rather misleading as things are today, especially to visitors and others who do not know Padstow'. 

This traditional Cornish pub is a gem in the town, you'll immediately feel at home as you step into the bar area and sink into one of the plush sofas - perfectly for snuggling up on in the evenings.

 

King's Arms, Lostwithiel

The King's Arms likely replaced a former public house, called the King's Head, in the 16th century. The Grade II listed property offers refreshment and accommodation for travellers passing between the busy towns of Liskeard and St Austell. 

Another pub previously owned by A Coombes & Sons, the King's Arms was purchased from Coombes' executors in 1922 and £1,922. It's clear to see Hester's intentions of growing the hospitality arm of the business with these hefty investments. But, it paid off, as by the 1936 the pub was said to be the 'chief hotel in the town'. 

Today, the King's Arms is still a popular choice for visitors of Lostwithiel, the antique capital of Cornwall. Drift into a deep slumber in one of their four en-suite bedrooms and be met with a delicious full-cooked breakfast in the morning to fuel your adventures. 

 

St Kew Inn, Bodmin

The St Kew Inn is originally thought to have been built to house skilled masons who worked on the nearby church during the late 15th century. However, the earliest reference to the building under its namesake dates to 1831, when an auction was held selling goods, property, land, and livestock.

It's been a popular venue since first opening its doors to the public. It's had several landlords over the years, including William Bassett, a butcher whose meat hooks and rings can still be seen on the ceiling of the bar. Having been bought in 1922 and now lovingly in the care of Sarah, Mike, and Hugo, the St Kew Inn is a traditional Cornish pub that's certainly not to be missed. 

 

Swan Hotel, Wadebridge

The newly refurbished Swan Hotel is the perfect base for exploring some of Cornwall's most stunning natural areas. The building itself has a curious mix of classical and gothic 19th century architectural details, a nod to its interesting history. 

While the lease came to Walter Hicks & Co in 1922, it was not until 1933 that the brewery bought the pub - previously owned by the Molesworth St Aubyn Estates company. From 1952, the hotel was tenanted to Mr P Jenkin who transformed the building - initiating a full refurbishment. 

Breathing new life into the hotel, it is also took its elegant, new name - a little more fitting that the former name, the Commercial Hotel. Retaining its charm, today it's the perfect spot to relax and unwind with loved ones over a few pints of our award-winning ales. 

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