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 history of the Refectory is somewhat enigmatic: there are a couple of apparently conflicting stories of its past, but neither seem to tally with physical evidence in the building. If anyone reading this can shed any further light on things, I'd be most grateful if you could get in touch (the pub's email address is [email protected]).
One version has it that the Refectory was an old barn, which in the 1930's became home to a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle owned by Percy Stovold, a successful cattle breeder who realised the potential of the Surrey land for this breed of cattle. Percy hid the herd in the barn in Milford for two years, away from the eyes of his disapproving father.
In 1938 the herd toured the English shows, winning many of them including the Royal show, to the amazement of Percy's father. The herd has grown over the decades to become the Rosemead herd, which now has over 500 head of cattle - one of the largest and most important herds in the country. The website for the herd tells the story and mentions the connection with the Refectory (www.aberdeenangus.co.uk).
Another version of the history has it that Charles Sneyers, a very successful antiques dealer, bought Milford House (next door to the Refectory) in 1932.
One of his two sons, Reginald, joined the business and added to his father's large collection, while the other son, Robert, was responsible for the conversion of some outbuildings and their subsequent running as successful tea rooms, called the Refectory.
After the war, Milford House was converted to a hotel which we believe was run by Robert, but it was damaged by fire in 1980 and ceased trading, after which it was converted to apartments. The photograph above was kindly supplied by Mr and Mrs Searle, current residents of Milton House, who were happy to spend a couple of hours mulling over the history of the place.
The Refectory was still a tea shop in the 50's, but subsequently became an antiques shop owned and run by Reginald, which was by all accounts stocked with exquisite items including a large collection of superlative early clocks, which had been a speciality of his father Charles. We came across this plaque inset into a wall at the rear of the building, which surely must have originated from the Refectory's days as an antiques emporium.
Reginald eventually 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.
We assume this is the point at which the Refectory became a pub or restaurant.
To confuse things further, we discussed the provenance of the building with the foreman of the builders doing the renovation, and it is his firm belief that the building was built at the earliest in the 1950's. He showed us this metal sleeve on the base of one of the main supporting pillars of the building, which had been hidden behind some panelling on the bar.
His opinion was that this must have been in place when the building was erected, but that such things didn't come into use until the 50's. It's all very puzzling.
Milton House was built in 1730, and while we don't know the date of the original barn on the site of the Refectory, the most likely scenario is that parts of the original barn survive in the current structure, although there have been major additions and alterations over the years, most significantly by the Snyers family in the 20th century. Whatever, it is a fascinating and appealing building, with endless beams, stained glass, panels, tiling and stonework to explore. The photograph below showes the galletted mortar between the stone courses to the front of the building. This was a process used in old Sussex houses whereby Grinstead ironstone pebbles were pressed into the limestone mortar to give protection against erosion, although over time, as you can see, the ironstone itself oxidises - surely this pre-dates the 50's?
We recently received this email from Mrs Julia Mayo...
After seeing The Refectory featured on Location Location recently, we visited for lunch last Thursday. The reason? Well, I used to work as a Saturday waitress there at aged 14 in 1958. I can confirm that your 2nd version of the story is true although I remember Mr Percy Stovold as a local farmer living as I did at the time at Hydestile Farmhouse, also featured on the Location, Location programme.
I worked for Reginald Sneyers and his Mother, also Robert's Mother of course, did all the cooking. She was quite an elderly lady by the standards of those days and she produced large quantities of homemade bread, scones and cakes for the teas.
Teas were either plain at 3 shillings (about 15p) or cream at 3 shillings and sixpence (about 18p). They comprised 2 small slices of homemade bread similar to a semi-sweet German bread, 2 small scones, 2 cakes, a dish of butter curls and one of jam plus thick whipped cream for the cream tea'. The cakes were delicious, either a version of today's cup cake, cream sponge (coffee/walnut being a favourite, some things never change!) or fruit cake. All would be very skilfully and liberally decorated. The summer season was very busy so the whole area would be used. In the winter, only the main room was open with the fire lit in the hearth nearest the kitchen. In the depths of the winter the fare was hot buttered toast with or without a poached egg and a more limited range of teas.
As I was working there in the 50's I'm pretty sure it was built before the 2nd world war. However, it may very well have been constructed in the 20th century using some much older materials. There were several noted architects working in south west Surrey at the time and at least one, Harold Faulkner, was keen on using medieval materials.
Many thanks for this, Julia (if I may).
Paul (aka "Buzz"...no one knows why) is our oldest serving manager whose voice booms through the pubs beams when he works. One of our crucial members of staff, he is everyones best friend but if you cannot find him he is almost definitely on holiday topping up his tan and ever growing knowledge of wines. If you ever have any questions about any of our booze, he is your man.
Yes, she is from Canada. But no, she has not ever been to Vancouver. "Mandy" is the newest member of the management team and having been born and raised in Canada with a German family background, she knows a thing or two about great hospitality and how to have a good time. A keen traveller and dancer, she has recently settled in Guildford which means she's here to stay...we hope!
One of the old school. Flora has been with the Refectory for over three years now and our once timid little Flo has now blossomed to become one of the pillars of the pub. She loves the cinema and is always the first to have watched the newest film or series, but beware to face the wrath of her strops if you spoil an ending in front of her *cough* peaky blinders *cough*. Flora, like most of the crew, will always enjoy a drink after work but not Aspalls...never again.
Having come to us from one of our main competitors across the road. Lauren could have been an operative spy. But no! She has remained with us and hopefully won't be leaving anytime soon. She might be one of Milford's craziest cat-ladies but her suitcase of makeup is something any make artist would be jealous of, so watch out! Although for the time being...is that teeny tiny foot steps I hear?
Becca is one of full-time waitresses who has recently made it to our main stage of practically running the floor. She is an edgy girl from Aldershot with her various piercings (three in her mouth!) but also a bit of a girly girl; shown by her cracking selection of lipsticks and the length of her eyelashes. But with a pair of lashes like that she could knock the kedgeree straight off your plate...just don't ask her what kedgeree is!
James, or "Jesus", is a very famous face in the local area. His long hair has followed him down the coffee shops of Godalming including Costa, Natter and Cafe Mila but now we have stolen him so he can make you the most beautiful coffee around from your chilly morning. In his spare time James like to write a lot but currently he is writing a training manual to teach us all the proper way to "tulip a flat white"....lucky us. Oh and he pulls a decent pint too!
If you don't recognise Carrey by name, you'll recognise her by her nature. This fun loving gal has just joined our team and can be spotted with the coolest shaved hair in the building. Children carer by day, but waitress by night - Carrey can transform the floor with her hilarious nature. But watch out....she also kickboxes!
After starting his career at the age of 16, Damian climbed the culinary ladder to head chef at the age of 22, having worked in hotels and country golf clubs under some of the best chefs in the country. These days, with over 18 years under his belt, his passion and energy are undiminished and he is ready for anything. But more than just a chef; he is, more importantly, father to his adorable dog "Boo" who you will often find hanging around the bar along-side his dad!
Senior Sous Chef
Michael has joined us here at the Fox Revived and boy we’re happy to have him. We have never met a Senior Sous that is as calm and collected as he is, just don’t be offended if he calls you “Primrose”, he isn’t great with names! Before joining our team, he did recruitment for 5 star chefs and has been awarded the Three Rosettes, get him!
Senior Sous Chef
Steve is our old Senior Sous who left us several months ago but returned back because he missed us all so much! A local boy from "Peef"; all of his spare time is spent with his Mrs and little girl Paige. Originally trained as a pastry chef, Steve has worked his way up the ranks with his level head and beaming smile. If you ever see him out of the kitchen, he's probably at the bar enjoying a pint before heading home...just don't miss your train!
Senior Chef de Partie
Nathan has been with the company for years. Never one to keep his opinions to himself, he's really quite lucky that he's dating one of the waitresses to get the rest of the girls on his side. Well, he can try at least. After work he can at least sit at the bar and tuck into one of the weakest lager shandy's imaginable.
Chef de Partie
Ferenc is one of our kitchen's originals. Full of life and never without something to say (even if most of the time you cannot understand him), he brings a smile to everyone's face. He is often running in and out of the kitchen chatting to customers as he goes along in case he misses out on anything. And what's that accent? Hungarian. Like a lot of our chefs in the kitchen, Feri moved over here from Hungary and we are glad that he did.
Ah... Sophie. Bless our little Sophie. Our newest baby food runner, we're training her up to take over the world. But first, we've got to get her to distinguish the difference between a burger and a fish and chips. Good luck to us! But she always has a grin on her face and her eyebrows are envied by all.
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.