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.
Bolney is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but in 1284 it was held by Earl Warenne and the Bishop of Chichester.
Bolney takes its name from two Saxon words, meaning 'Bolla's Island'. It was probably high ground surrounded by marsh and dominated by the Bolla Tribe.
Bolney Village dates back to Saxon England and throughout the ages it was a prominent agricultural community, although the village almost certainly owes its initial existence and its apparent wealth to the early iron industry.
Situated on the lower slopes of the Weald and St. Leonards Forest, it was ideally suited to providing the charcoal needed to fire the furnaces at nearby Cuckfield, Slaugham and Lower Beeding. 'Colwood Lane' and 'Cross Colwood Lane' in the north west of the parish are evidence of the burning of charcoal in quantity. During recent excavations under the main street, Saxon road timbers were found suggesting this was an old route into St. Leonard's Forest to the north.
Following the decline of the iron industry, Bolney became an agricultural community, which prospered for some 400 years until soon after the Second World War. Sadly the Windmill and the Watermill, both of which operated in the 18th and 19th century, are not standing today.
Geographically the Parish of Bolney lies virtually at the centre of the County of Sussex at the southern edge of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
It is dissected neatly into four quarters by the north/south A23 London to Brighton road and east / west by the A272 which runs from Heathfield to Winchester. The main village lies in the north west section and is usually missed by the thousands of travellers who use these roads each day.
The Church is in the Early English style with suggestions of Saxon and Norman influence in the architecture. The nave and chancel date from the middle of the 12th century, while the unusual tower was built in 1533-1536 at the expense of John Bolne. It boasts the oldest peal of eight bells in Sussex, the earliest being dated 1592.
Particulars of the tower's erection are found in the churchwardens' accounts, and the arms of John Bolney are carved in the west doorway. The south porch is dated 1718. The north aisle, with the nave-arcade of three bays, was added in 1853 and the north vestry in 1912. The chancel arch is also from 1853.
Bolney Wine Estate, the vision of Janet and Rodney Pratt, lies just beyond the village on a hill which was part of the Butting Hill One Hundred, which was listed in the Domesday Book. It is a vineyard which carries on a tradition brought to Britain by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago.
Village tradition has it that the Prince Regent was a frequent visitor to Bolney when travelling to Brighton, staying at Bolney Lodge, of which Bolney Wine Estate formed a part in the 19th Century.
The vineyard was started back in 1972 as Bookers Vineyard, with 3 acres of vines. Samantha Linter, the daughter of the owners and founders, took charge of the winemaking in the early 1990's, and since her arrival there have been many awards and the vineyard plantings have expanded to 22 acres. In 2005 a brand new state of the art winery was completed, with help in the form of a grant from DEFRA.
North of the village lies Wykehurst Place, in the middle of Wykehurst Park, built in 1872 by E.M Barry, the designer of the Royal Opera House, and commissioned by Henry Huth, a German banker.
The 105-room mansion combines the splendour and stylings of a French chateau, a German schloss and a Gothic house of horror. Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner, in their influential series The Buildings Of England, called Wykehurst "that epitome of high Victorian showiness and licence". Each bedroom had ensuite bathrooms - a rare luxury for the day - as well as their own balconies, private sitting rooms and drawing rooms arranged in suites. It was also one of the first houses in Britain to have all the main rooms heated by warm air.
During the Second World War Canadian forces were billeted there waiting to join Allied troops for the D-Day invasion. Wykehurst then remained empty for 26 post-war years, until a Mr Doyle arrived in 1971, paying £250,000 for the mansion and 180 acres of parkland.
The large black gates at the entrance to the drive are fashioned in wrought iron. Alongside these gates, massive griffins with spread wings perch on either side and guard the entrance to the park. The house came into prominence in the early seventies when the external shots of the house were used to film the Hammer Horror, "The Legend of Hell House," a psychological horror film.
The house was used as a location during the filming of Richard Attenborough's film 'Oh! What A Lovely War', and it has also appeared in the Michael Caine and Donald Pleasance Second World War epic, 'The Eagle Has Landed'.
The many adverts filmed there included part of the Cinzano campaign combining bumbling sitcom star Leonard Rossiter with glamorous Hollywood actress Joan Collins
When agriculture began to decline, buildings and land were developed to have other uses. 'Fords Farm' became the 'Tudor Tea Rooms', which proved popular with local travellers. In the 1960s it prospered and was renamed the Bolney Stage, implying that it had been a coaching inn, which was not strictly true or indeed, not at all true.
Notwithstanding erroneous nomenclature, the house genuinely dates from c.1500, and the house did indeed lie on the main London-Brighton road, and in 1810 the new turnpike opened between Pyecombe and Bolney. One of the famous stage coaches of the period was named "The Brighton Comet", and would have passed the front door of the building.
The structure of the building is built to a modified H-shaped plan. It had been originally T shaped, with the main block containing the hall facing north and south, and the cross wing at the east end.
Late in the 16th century the west wing was added, its south end flush with the south wall of the main block, but projecting north to match the other wing. At this time, two internal chimney-stacks were built, one at each end of the hall. The roof of the east range is in three bays divided by closed partitions, and, although all of one period, only the middle bay has smoke-blackened timbers - the bay evidently served as a huge flue from an open fire on the ground floor. The roof over the main block is of the wind-braced side-purlin type and is also smoke blackened. When the chimney stacks and west wing were built upper floors were inserted where required to make two stories, with upper ceilings probably being inserted later. The front, back, and east side have much of the ancient framing exposed outside.
The house was afterwards divided into two tenements and two timber-framed projecting staircases were added against the north front in the angles with the wings: the eastern staircase has since been removed. The lower story of the west wing is built of stone and has a cellar below and some of the original windows with moulded mullions remain. Nearly all the rooms have open-timbered ceilings. The joists in the south room of the east wing are very heavy and evidently the two end bays of this wing were always two stories high. The fire-place for the middle room, projecting into this wing, is 9 ft. wide and has chimney-corner seats. The western stack has two wide fire-places: the one towards the west wing has been fitted with an oak bressummer with guilloche carving and the date 1613, brought from a house near by, which is now destroyed.
(with thanks to L.F.Salzman, 'A History of the County of Sussex:Volume 7)
The Bolney Stage has changed hands numerous times over the years. It was partially damaged by fire in 1998, and it became part of the Blubeckers family in 2003.
Mark has been at The Bolney Stage far longer than is good for a man but he thrives on the continuing challenges of keeping the Beers flowing and helping create the perfect blackboard. A 5 year Bolney veteran, Mark's earned his stripes. A keen sportsman, the only board meetings he likes are the ones you strap on in the Alps where the challenges of the steep and deep bring him alive. A Keen runner, if he's not running laps round the pub you'll find him on the streets training for his next marathon.
Sheniece, (affectionately know as Sh'naynay) came to us last year with a wealth of experience. A former pub landlady, Sheniece arrived as a supervisor with short term intent and ambitions of traveling. Since then, she's become one of us and has recently been deservedly promoted to Assistant Manager. We couldn't be more chuffed!
Hugh's been a part of the team on and off for a long time now. Proof that the grass isn't always greener, but a mans got to do what a mans got to do. We missed him while he was gone, but boy are we glad he's back! We've a lot to thank Hugh for, for helping make the pub what it is today. Resident wine guru, at work Hugh does wine. In his own time, Hugh drinks wine and when there isn't any wine... Hugh thinks about wine. His sharp wit and dry sense of humour makes him a popular chap amongst the crew and customers alike!
MARVELLOUS! You've never met anyone quite like 'Posh'. He's the host with the most and brings nothing but joy to everyone around him. Charming and charismatic, he sets the bar when it comes to service with a great big smile. Posh has hospitality coursing through his veins and we're humbled that this Bolney celebrity chooses to spend his days behind our bar.
One of the 'old school' Lizzie Loo La has been with us for years. Since Liz joined us, she's played an immeasurable part in making the stage what it is today. We lost her for the most part of 2016 on maternity leave but we're so glad to have her back! With a keen eye for detail (and slight OCD) Liz prides herself on keeping the back bar looking pristine, and gosh do we love her for it.
Having worked with Mark for 5 years in a previous life, Lee slotted in to the fold like a perfectly placed tetris block. What started as a favour to a friend has become a labour of love. Although we don't get to see him week in week out, he's always there when we need him most!
When we were introduced to Emily's family were given some sound advice that we've used every day since. When Emily begins to talk its worth asking her... 'Is this a short story or a long story...?' A real firecracker and a true joy to be around. Every pub needs an Emily... The girl who always smiles and doesn't stop moving until we've waved the last customer goodnight!
What can we say about Lukey... Other than we're glad he's one of ours. New to the team (not that you would never guess it.) He's taken to our bar like a duck to water. A born host with the most, you're guaranteed the warmest welcome when he's on shift. A barber by trade, he's responsible for keeping the lads looking sharp!
The boss of the boss. Meet Marks mother, Jan! A recently retired police sergeant and running fanatic. Having recently completed her 100th Marathon, Jan naturally runs rings around the rest of us and is a reliable source of much needed energy whenever she's on shift. When she's not pulling pints she spends her days as a running and fitness coach. #Janplanâ„¢
Senior Sous Chef
Vicki Bastin is a bastion of the kitchen crew at Bolney (see what we did there?) since joining us from a sister pub. Born and bred in West Sussex, Vicki has 30 years experience as a chef, so she should know a thing or two by now. With her sturdy Kenwood Chef, Vicki is regularly adapting and working on new ideas and dishes.
After growing up in the pub industry, Brian knows everything there is to know about food and drink - especially beer. We try not to buy in Arundel Sussex Gold too often, because we just can't get rid of him when we do! As an avid Tottenham fan, you can often hear him yelling at the radio on a Saturday afternoon. I suppose nobody's perfect...
Graham is so much more to us than just a handyman. He's a Bolney veteran who is worth his weight in gold... and then some. A seriously talented chap, we've yet to be able to present Graham with a problem he hasn't been able to solve. A man who carves rocking horses out of tree stumps as a hobby is exactly the kind of person you would want to keep your pub ticking over and look fabulous!
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.
We don't reserve any of our outside tables so if you enjoy a little alfresco dining these are first come first serve.
10am, Saturday 23rd February 2019