We are a community pub, owned by the community and run by the community. Here’s how we got to this place.
The Kings Arms was built by local man William Oldreive in the 1820s, who ran it as a hotel for for many years.
Three generations of the Perrins ran the pub from the late nineteenth century well into the twentieth, before eventually Heavitree Brewery bought the pub at some point between the wars.
The Kings Arms has, perhaps surprisingly, an illustrious past, with regular visits from the Prince of Wales in the 1930s, the future King Alfonso of Spain, and local resident Jack Yeats, Ireland’s most celebrated painter and brother of Nobel Prize poet W.B. Yeats, an occasional visitor to this parish.
During the Second World War the local community was evacuated to allow preparations and rehearsal for D-Day. The American troops stationed here became the locals. Some say Eisenhower visited.
The Kings Arms has served the community for nearly two hundred years and proved to be a viable commercial venture.
But when the owner Heavitree stopped brewing and became, in effect, a property manager the was a concern that they would seek to obtain a change of use and sell the pub to a developer. Lots of old brewers have done this to make their balance sheets look better. So no-one was uner any illusions.
To prevent this, in 2015 the village rallied round to ensure the pub was protected under an Asset of Community Value order. This was successfully renewed in May 2020.
But at the end of 2019, the owner decided to close the pub.
We wouldn’t accept a village without a pub. It’s a lovely pub. Small and cosy. A listed Grade II building. With superb views across the rolling hills, the cliffs and out to sea.
So a group of volunteers began talking about the village taking one the pub. They spoke to more people, and they spoke to more people. Soon there were volunteers writing business palns, other volunteers holding fundraising events and others renovating the garden and showing what could be done when a village came together.
Now we, the village of Strete, under the guise of a Community benefit scheme are the owners of Strete Community Pub Limited. As we grow, our aim to create a hub for the village and eventually to raise money for local good causes.
It’s not always been easy. The biggest health emergency in recent years has not helped. But we are resilient. And we care. We hope that is clear when you come to visit.
We’ve been featured on Radio Devon – you can hear us talk about the pub here.
And we’ve been featured in the Guardian’s list of the best beer gardens in Devon – read all about it here.
Or just come and visit and make your own mind up!