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.
Considering it is a venerable old building, it has to date proved surprisingly difficult to track down the history of the Greyhound, but the best estimate has it that the pub is about 400 years old. It was a former coaching inn that stood on one of the major turnpike roads from Oxford to the West Country, and as such at one time it had a blacksmith’s forge attached to the pub to the facilitate re-shoeing of horses.
Above is a photograph of an outing from the Greyhound at the turn of the century. Organised outings to places of interest were common and were often arranged by Friendly Societies as in this case. Working people joined these Friendly Societies in order to enjoy the social occasions, as well as for the important aspects of saving and sickness benefits in an era when the NHS didn’t exist.
It is believed the Greyhound was a Morland Brewery property. A farmer, John Morland, set up a brewery in 1711 in West Ilsley in Berkshire, and the local ale and porter was sought after in London's public houses. During the 1860s, Morland acquired the Child family's Abbey Brewery in Abingdon and then the Eagle Brewery, also in Abingdon and the whole operation re-located there in 1880. Over the following century, the brewery took over and closed some seven breweries in the area, before itself being purchased and closed by Green King in 2000. Such is the predatory nature of the brewery business.
In 1818, the Innkeeper at the Greyhound was Alfred White. He was a busy man, for he also ran a bakery, the village shop and a forge. He became interested in the workings of bells following his instruction in the art of campanology when the three bells at Appleton Church were recast into a ring of six, and he decided to use the forge to facilitate his work with bells, and many oak bell frames were constructed in the yard at the rear of the pub. He started trading as A. White, Bellhanger and eventually took his sons into the business and traded as A. White & Sons. Even in these early days he was doing work all over the country, including work at several Cathedrals, and to this day Whites of Appleton Ltd is the oldest continuously trading bell hanging company in the United Kingdom.
In the second world war, American Troops were billeted in a tented camp in Besselsleigh. Peter Nurse describes his time at Besselsleigh as an evacuee during the second world war: "Then there was the arrival of the Americans - I believe it would have been during 1942 that they were first sighted. They were so different to our troops - their uniforms were so much smarter and their accents were very strange to us then. They established a tented camp just up the road from the Greyhound at Besselsleigh and naturally it became their local. This was viewed with mixed feelings by the locals as beer was in short supply and the Yanks were drinking most of it!"
This photo was taken a little later in the 1950’s when the road came right up to the front of the pub. This photo was supplied, very kindly by Jeffrey Heavens who has also given us a brief description of his time as landlord:
My family had a 61 year connection to The Greyhound. My Grandparents, William and Edith Cook took over the tenancy in 1927 and after William died Edith carried on until I took over in 1963. My wife Isobel and I ran the pub until 1988 when it had become famous for the jacket potatoes that we sold, in fact most of the people around here referred to it as the ‘Spud Pub’.
He has also provided us with a great piece of information about the Greyhound sign: ‘The Greyhound depicted on the sign is part of coat of arms of the Lenthal family, The First Speaker of the House of Commons, who, at one time owned the pub as part of their estate.
Damien joined B&P in early 2007, and after doing a 3 year tour up north, opening the Old Orchard and 5 years managing the White Hart Chipstead he now heads up the team at the Greyhound. He and his wife Hannah have 2 characterful dogs, Rudy and Freya. He has a large flat cap collection, is an avid Arsenal supporter and heaven for Damien is a glass of Chateau Musar, a large Armangnac and a Ramon Allones specially selected Cuban cigar.
Rachel joined us in October 2015 after working in Michelin starred restaurant from London to Edinburgh. Her passion for everything food related shows, but has a keen liking to Gin, Cheese and Coffee. In her spare time she will either be walking border collie Paige, driving around around in her blue beetle, down her local, or of on another solo adventure across the globe. With this typical blonde around, there is never a dull day at the greyhound.
Many moons ago Thom worked at one of our sister pub the Duke of York, and since leaving there has been working in bars and restaurants, expanding his horizons (drinking more wine!). We are very glad he has come back into the fold here at the Greyhound as he has a wealth of knowledge about wine and food, and can make a beautiful cappuccino.
Jenny came to help us out when Thom started as she was at a loose end, and quite frankly we didn't let her leave. She has worked in pubs for many years and it wasn't long before she was an essential part of the Greyhound team. A jack of all trades, she looks after our social media, line cleaning and runs the floor like a boss. oh and she knows a thing of two about wine too, perfect!
Hannah is one of the hardest working people we know - she once worked three different jobs for five months without a day off. She is an Oxford history graduate and the world's most dedicated eco warrior. If she does have a day off, then she and Damien are usually out walking their dogs Rudy and Freya.
Adam is our very own sporty hound. A keen tennis player and coach, he also works at Oxford United and attends every game. Adam is uber competitive, if you tell him you can carry 10 glasses he will keep trying until he can carry 11. Adam is not sure what career he would like to pursue, as long as it earns him LOTS of money.
Jay usually works a couple evenings a week as he has a full time job in marketing. He is never happy unless he has the busiest section in the pub and will often swap with other staff members if he thinks theirs is busier. Jamie and his whole family are blessed with supermodel looks, he tells us its all in the jeans!?
Probably the friendliest and most customer focused person we have ever met. Naomi joins us from working at a very busy National trust tea room, and although she had never poured a pint, she has fitted in to pub life like a glove. She always has a spare couple of minutes to ask how your doing, and only ever drinks water with lots and lots of fresh lemon, yum!
Always dressed to impress, Tom joined us part time from his job as an architect to meet new people and for the social side of things. He has an extremely cheeky sense of humour that keeps us all on our toes and always answers the call when we need an extra pair of hands. Tom has put himself forward for employee of the month on several occasions.
Ilona came to us for a change from working at another local pub for over 10 years! she is a full time mum and manages to come and help us out at lunch times during the week. If Ilona does get some time off she loves a good music festival and a Friday evening G&T, and we think she deserves it!
Lucy is a welcome member to the team, having lots of experience working in a local pub. She has a huge wardrobe full of sparkly tops that brighten our days here at the Greyhound. Lucy was an extra in the Harry Potter films and can be seen third row from the back on the left at the Quidditch tournament.
Jason is ex Army and a serious worker. Up at the crack of dawn Jason loves nothing more than an early start and an AFD shift. He is a New England Pats fan (American Football) and loves a game of darts. Jason says if he wasn't a chef he would join the police, but he is happy behind the pass, and so are we.
Matty started with us as a Kp and has worked himself up the ranks with hard work and determination, he also won our company food comp a few years ago so is a very talented chef to boot. Always up for bants and lol's, he is a lads lad and never turns down the offer of a beer or two. He and Rob have perfected a number of Greyhound inspired parody songs over the years, why not ask him for a rendition next time you see him.
Chef de Partie
Ciprian hails from Romania and has spent many years learning his trade, cooking in 5 star hotels in Cyprus. He is immaculately tidy and always early to work. Cip has a vast property empire back in Romania, including a castle with a drawbridge, and one day plans to go back and marry a good Romanian woman. But for now we are happy to have him here as part of the team.
Young Ben Young moved from waiting tables to junior chef in the kitchen for a new challenge and we are sure glad he did. He works very hard and has a great eye for detail. When he is not in the kitchen he is studying to get his grades so he can join the RAF and can fly fighter jets.
As you can see, Todd (like his head chef Jason) is mad about snakes! At the weekend he volunteers at a pet store and has adopted many snakes and lizards. He studies sport at collage but ultimately wants to be a chef more than anything. A genuinely nice lad, Todd often spends his tips on a curry for him and his dad.
Aaron has been a regular returnee at the Greyhound for many years, coming back to work from studying music tech at Bolton. He runs a tight ship on the Pastry section and is always relaxed under pressure. Aaron is a serious metal head, and is a self confessed fellow 'fanboy' along with Rob and Damien. Aaron says that his favourite part about himself is his right leg! specifically his calf. And strange as it may sound, we concur.
Ange has been with us since day one and knows everything that goes on in the kitchen. A master at prepping, if you have had a meal at the Greyhound, chances are Ange has made something on your plate. We call her the bionic woman as she has had two replaced hips, two knees, right shoulder, left elbow, six knuckles and a little toe! Better...stronger...faster!
Laid back, reliable and very funny are just some of the words that spring to mind when thinking of Richard. He is a true 60's rocker, and has been to see the Beatles, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and the Grateful dead live in concert, to name but a few! Richards hair style is something to behold, he even has a mirror by the pot wash station to make sure its at its best at all times.
Rebecca is not only one half of the best cleaning duo in the company, making the Greyhound the cleanest pub you've ever seen. She also takes care of our decorations and interior design with a keen eye for detail. Rebecca is always on the look out for a bargain when shopping for decorations and has a very witty sense of humour.
Linda is our very own Welsh firecracker. She and Rebecca keep the Greyhound sparkling at all times, and keep Damien on his toes. Linda also tends to our gardens and indoor plants, she is quite literally a 'plant whisperer' and will get evan a plant knocking on deaths door to flourish and bloom in no time at all.
Debbie was a real find! She has a great smile and a happy personality, she is a local girl, and when she came for her interview it turned out her and Linda used to work together years ago. She also loves gardening so her coming here was written in the stars. Debbie used to work unsociable hours in a kitchen, and now she has more time on her hands she plans on spending more time with her husband.
Use the calendar to book a table. If the time you''re after is not available, give us a call and we will try our best to fit you in. We keep some tables for phone bookings.