Perhaps one of the quirkiest but most beautiful pubs signed up to TEA Total this January is The Refectory in Milford. A fantastic real ale pub with friendly staff and tremendous character making it a must visit although it's potted history is up for debate amongst it's many regulars.
Situated on the main road between Milford and Godalming is the very historic and inviting looking pub. Step inside and you feel like you have been transported back into a Elizabethan banqueting hall with timber beams and a mezzanine floor. There is a large welcoming fire to snuggle up next to or a large beer garden to spill out onto on a summers day. Food is served everyday and there is a copious Sunday Roast menu.
For a pub in quite a old village, no one seems to be quite sure of the history of the building. The About Us section of the website seems to have 3 separate theories. Firstly, a barn used by the son of a prominent local farmer to hide his herd of Aberdeen Angus cows which is now regarded as one of the largest and most important herds in the country. Secondly, a Tea rooms (sadly not a TEA room) and lately an antiques emporium. Eventually the owners bequeathed the Refectory and its contents to the National Trust, the largest bequest of its kind the Trust had ever received. The Trust retained 400 items of furniture, ceramics and clocks, and auctioned the remainder along with the Refectory. The National Trust Southern Region Newsletter (Autumn 1988) states: The Trust has considered various possible uses of the buildings, but has decided that the money which could be made from their sale would be greater value than their use for National Trust purposes.
However there is a twist in the story. In the past few years, when the pubs had some renovation works, the engineers found some interesting features which suggest that the barn was built much later, maybe even in the 1950s! Whatever the truth is, it is a fascinating and appealing building, with endless beams, stained glass, panels, tiling and stonework to explore.
Hogs Back are running a Meet the Brewer event at The Refectory on Friday 31st January from 7.30pm where you can talk TEA Total and try some of the rest of the range.
Have you voted for your TEA Drinker Pub of the Year yet? Make sure you vote before the 30th January.