The Bolney Stage

Bolney Village

About Us

Here is just a little info to let you get to know us better...


Here is a 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 a 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.

Bolney parish

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 of St Mary Magdalene

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

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.

Wykehurst Place

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.

Famous movie location

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

The history of the Bolney Stage

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.

If you'd like to put a name to a face, allow us to introduce you to the crew...

Front of house

Mark Lavis


Mark's been at the Stage for almost 9 years. A former hotelier, Mark joined us as a Deputy manager in 2011. His only condition being that he didnt have to come to work in a suit. What started as a shot in the dark has turned into an labour of love. In 2016 Mark took the reigns and got his name above the door and is now quite literally proud to call the pub his home. It's safe to say Mark has found his callingand is exactly where he needs to be. Mark has two loves in his life; Pub cats Nala and Marley can often be spotted chasing leaves, sunbathing on the patio roof or spying on you from the 1st floor windows. Mark's a keen runner and usually covers around 12 miles a day. Then when he's finished a shift, he sometimes likes to go for a run.

Luke Belton

Assistant Manager

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!

Robert Dryer


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.

Richard Turner


If Richard was a movie, it would be Return of the King. Richard came to us from London in 2016 and held the Deputy position for over a year. He was instrumental in building a fantastic team. Richard returned to the big city in 2017. You can take the boy out of the city but you cant take the city out of the boy. Richards real passion lies in photography and dreams of turning his hobbie into a career. He's moved back down south and is currently devoting his free time to building his new business. To pay the bills, Richard has come back home as the most over qualified supervisor in the history of pubs. We call that a win/win!

Elizabeth Davis

Bar/Waiting Staff

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.

Nicole Parker

Bar/Waiting Staff

Every good pub has that one person that they simply couldn't do without. She's not with us nearly as much as we would like! midweek superstar and a Sunday lunch rock star, everyone wants to work with Nicole. Happy staff make happy customers and happy customers make happy staff. Nicole effortlessly does both in one fel swoop! Nicole is proud of her position as official Malbec taster and regularly performs her duties to the highest standard.

Mikyle Swindells

Bar/Waiting Staff

What do Pirlo, Larsson, Klose, Milner, Pogba and Mikyle Swindells all have in common? Answer... All amazing free transfers. We picked up Mikyle from one of our big sister pubs in north Wales after he moved to the south for a dream job. Mikyle is a tech wizz and a master in the world of 3D printing. One of the most cheerful chaps you'll ever meet, we're proud to call him our own!


Vicki Bastin

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.