The ‘Oldest Pub In Britain’ Is Set To Close After A Reported 1,229 Years Of Service

The end of an (extremely long) era?

While we might be known for telling you about new openings here at Secret London, it would be remiss of us to ignore the possible closure of the ‘oldest pub’ in the country.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans dates back to the year 793, making it just the 1,229 years old. It may have welcomed a Viking or two in its walls, and it’s survived plagues, civil and world wars, and countless new builds around it. The pub is even thought to have housed Oliver Crowell for an overnight stay.

But, after struggling for two years during the pandemic, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks has closed its doors after their owner’s firm (Mitchells and Butlers) went into administration.

There is, however, still a good chance that the pub will not have to close for good, and the hope is that new owner for the historic site will be found. Speaking to the BBC, Mitchells and Butlers said the pub was on the lookout for new licensees, and there are no plans for the closure to remain permanent.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is named as the oldest pub in Britain by the Guinness Book Of Records, although this claim has been disputed. As the story goes, the pub’s foundations were once part of the palace of Offa (best-know for Offa’s Dyke), king of the Mercians, and reportedly built in 793. Historical records trace the building back to the 11th century, and the public house has had its current name since at least 1872.