Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
Here is just a little info to let you get to know our pub better...
Here is little potted history of our pub and the local area... if you have a spare minute or two and maybe a cup of tea (or is that a G&T), we think it's well worth read.
The Fox, originally called the Fox and Duck, was actually situated across the road from the current site, but in the 1920s the brewers Joules, based in Stone in Staffordshire, decided to get a grip and do things properly, and a purpose-built pub was commissioned. The wooden fireplace in the front bar is an original Joules fireplace, the design of which was used in many of their pubs.
Joules were taken over by Bass, who also had bought the Mitchell and Butler brand, so the Fox and Duck eventually became a Mitchell and Butlers pub. Strangely enough, even though the pub moved to its present site over 80 years ago, the current Ordinance Survey map still shows the ‘PH’ symbol in its original position over the road.
In the 80’s the Monopolies and Mergers Commission compelled large breweries to sell off much of their pub estates, and the Fox and Duck was sold into the free trade.
Shortly afterwards, under the ownership of Arthur Foxcroft, the pub was significantly extended to the left hand side as you look at it, to give a function room with bedrooms above. The original building ended on the left hand wall of the front bar, so everything beyond that was the new addition. It was run as a small hotel with ten letting bedrooms, and had an excellent reputation for food.
In July 2001, the Fox and Duck was bought by Derek and Sandra Longstaff. They wanted to make a fresh start, so they renamed it the Three Fishes, after the heraldic symbol for Newport.
The Three Fishes as a symbol came about as a result of a visit by Henry 1st to Newport in the 12th Century. At that time, the main industry of the town was fishing the three meres, and they were anxious to retain their charter. Henry agreed to this with the caveat that every time he came through the town, he would be presented with three fishes.
Although the layout of the medieval town is still obvious, not many buildings of the time remain. One year before London’s Great Fire, Newport had one of its own. Most of the town was destroyed by fire in 1665.
The symbol has been adopted by the Newport Rugby and Cricket Clubs as well as the local school, so the Longstaffs had half the town marching around with free advertising on their shirts, a shrewd bit of marketing if ever there was.
When we took it over in January 2004 we couldn’t get stuck into it as we were busy with the Combermere in Burleydam, but when that opened in July we got straight on with the new pub without catching breath.
A former lord of the Chetwynd Aston manor was the Duke of Sutherland, and his vast industries around Donnington supplied most of the coal for Newport by canal to a coal depot located in the parish. A driveway from his house at Lilleshall had its entrance between Pave Lane and the village of Chetwynd Aston.
Shortly before the French revolution, the owner of the big house at Chetywnd sold the place in a big hurry, as he believed the world was about to end. Quite how this was going to improve the situation was not known – perhaps he though he was getting one over on the purchaser.
Charles Dickens (1812- 1870) stayed at The Bear Hotel in Newport, now called Beaumaris House and part of the Grammar School. Chetwynd House was formerly the home of Elizabeth Parker, the recluse on whom Dickens modelled Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (1861).
Chetwynd Aston was once known as Field Aston, Since the building of the Newport bypass, the village of Chetwynd Aston has been left in comparative peace, and today, especially away from the main road through the village, it is a very pleasant spot.
Just next door to the pub are the beautiful ruins of Lilleshall abbey, including a fine Norman west door and part of the front, and considerable remains of the church and some domestic buildings. The abbey was founded in 1143, under charter from King Stephen, by Richard de Baumes or Belmeis, dean of St Alkmund, Shrewsbury. It was built for Augustinian canons, who were brought from Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire. The last abbot of Lilleshall, John Cockerel, was a fairly serious chap, and Henry VIII had him executed for his pains.
Predictably, there are a number of ghost stories associated with the abbey, notably this one from a local photographer of historic buildings, Lawrence Clout.
Chetwynd-Talbot was the family name of the Earls of Shrewsbury, who were also the Earls of Talbot. The family seat was Alton Towers before it became the massive theme park. Alton Towers’ garden was begun in1814 by the eccentric 15th Earl of Shrewsbury, of whom J. C. Loudon (who was consulted on design features) relates that he consulted every artist, only to avoid ‘whatever an artist might recommend'.
Under the patronage of the Earl of Shrewsbury, Clément Talbot Ltd was founded in 1903 to import the popular French Clément car into Britain. The famous automobile brand Talbot grew out of this company.
Its greatest success occurred in 1913 when Percy Lambert drove a 25hp Talbot 100 miles within an hour at Brooklands race track in Surrey, the first truly 100mph car.
Sam originally wandered through the doors at the Armoury way back when, looking for casual work, but after a bit gave up her job working for the National Trust to join us full time, to the detriment of our national heritage.She had been the deputy manager at the Fox since the opening, before ascending to the throne in September 2007 - another story like Lindsey at the Pant, who also joined as a part-timer and ended up running the show. Sam collects cats, which doesn't bode well for the future.
Uncle John spent nine glorious years at the Fox before heading off to spread his good cheer in our sister pubs, the Inn at Shipley and the Armoury. But home is where the heart is and 3 years later he has returned to the Fox family. John calls everyone Sweetie, loves a glass of Colombard and a holiday in the sun. Everyone likes John - even Ryan Giggs said 'he was a bit of alright'.
Local girl, Beth, has been with us now for nearly three years. As a qualified hairdresser, it was a difficult decision for this blonde bombshell to take the plunge and join the dark side full time as Supervisor at The Fox. Beth is a true prosecco princess, but don’t be fooled by her cheesy grin and blonde locks – she really does love her wine so can definitely help you out when it comes to choosing a bottle or two!
Chris could almost be classed as a Fox veteran now, after starting his career here as a kitchen porter and working his way through the ranks to become a front of house supervisor One of his main responsibilities is to look after our cellar and all of the beer that is houses – which is odd considering he may be the only member of our team that doesn’t drink beer! Chris is also a massive tattoo and Manchester United supporter, so he’ll have plenty of chat at the bar if you fancy opposing his views!
Lovely Simon is another Brunning and Price old hat after originally working at our sister pub, The Combermere Arms, and then making the move over to us at The Fox and working his way to becoming Sous chef last February. Simon (or Simee as he’s affectionately known) has rightly won many of our prestigious fox awards as “Nicest guy” and “most likely to cheer you up when you’re feeling down”. Going against all scary chef stereotypes, Simee is the teddy bear of the kitchen.
Tony is a Jack-of-all-trades; a fully qualified plumber and mechanic, and of course our wonderful Sous chef too! It was at the age of 21 that Tony decided that becoming a chef was the right career choice for him and so threw himself into kitchens where he could learn on the job, making and creating beautiful dishes. He eventually became Head Chef at The Park Inn Hotel, but decided to make a change and become part of the Fox team to be able to have some input into creating freshly cooked dishes and changing menus
Senior Chef de Partie
“Raised by Wolves”, Alex was born and raised locally before moving to the Isle of White with his family. This move was a strong factor in influencing Alex’s decision to become a chef, after being surrounded by fresh seasonal produce and fresh fish. At the age of 20, it seemed to be the sensible decision to venture into the food industry and by the age of 22, he had moved back to Newport with his mum and brother to work as Chef de Partie at The Fox whilst completing his NVQ. After impressing us with his keen eye for detail, enthusiasm and passion for all things food, Alex has worked his way to become Senior Chef de Partie
Mander is our Blossoming Flower, and funnily enough is the only female gardener in the company. She first started with us as a part waitress and has slowly worked her way outside to rule the garden. The great passion of her life - apart from her garden - is tea, oh, and Sam's home-made cakes.