The Leather Bottle


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.

The Leather Bottle dates from a time before glass was widely available, when leather was frequently used as a storage vessel for liquids. In the days when the pub first opened its doors, a leather bottle hanging outside a pub as a sign would advertise the availability of refills of ale or wine inside. This was before the majority of people could read, of course, so written signs wouldn't have been very helpful.

Leather bottles were found on Henry VIII's ship the Mary Rose, and were once common containers for wine and beer. They weren't bottle-shaped necessarily - some were a simple tube of leather with the ends stitched up leaving enough of a seam to attach a shoulder strap, others were flask-shaped, and still others were somewhat dumpy flagons. The insides were treated with black pitch to keep them waterproof, and some had beautifully embossed coverings.

Queen Anne had just died when the pub opened to serve travellers on the road from Reading to Southampton, and of course the local people. It was known as the "White Lion" in 1714 and later as "the Bottle", with Bottle Lane and Bottle Field nearby. In 1800 the landlord of the Bottle was Richard Halfacre, who kept it until 1818. By 1857 it was called the Leather Bottle when it had a landlady, Frances Berry.

Highway Robbery

The pub we see now was originally three cottages on the Reading Road which became increasingly important as a main route when it became a Toll Road. This whole area benefitted from the passing trade of coaches heading for Basingstoke, which in turn attracted Highway Robbers. Bagshot was a notorious centre for systematic robbery, and a number of colourful characters frequented the coach houses and inns in search of victims.

One such was William Davis the "Golden Farmer", who led a double life, one as a successful and respectable Corn Merchant, the other as a highwayman. He gained his moniker from his habit of only stealing gold coins: it is said he often let his victims keep their jewels and other valuables so as to avoid the possibility of his ill-gotten gains being traced. Initially operating alone, Davies became a master of disguise and, at one time, robbed his own landlord of the annual rent money just collected from him. The Golden Farmer was finally hung in chains at Tyburn in 1670.

Colonel Blood

Colonel Blood was another extraordinary local character, who almost succeeded in stealing the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671. Under the disguise of 'Parson Blood', he had befriended the keeper of the crown jewels, Talbot Edwards, and one day arrived at the Tower with his nephew and two other men under the pretence of introducing his nephew to Edwards' daughter.

While the 'nephew' was getting to know Edward's daughter, the others in the party asked if they might view the Crown Jewels. Edwards led the way downstairs and unlocked the door to the room where they were kept. At that moment Blood knocked him unconscious with a mallet and stabbed him with a sword

The grille was removed from in front of the jewels and the crown, orb and sceptre were taken out. The crown was flattened with the mallet and stuffed into a bag, and the orb stuffed down Blood's breeches. The sceptre was too long to go into the bag so Blood's brother-in-law Hunt tried to saw it in half.

At that point Edwards regained consciousness and raised the alarm. Blood and his accomplices dropped the sceptre and attempted to get away but Blood was arrested as he tried to leave the Tower by the Iron-Gate, after unsuccessfully trying to shoot one of the guards. In custody Blood refused to answer questions, instead repeating stubbornly, "I'll answer to none but the King himself".

Blood knew that the King had a reputation for liking bold scoundrels and reckoned that his considerable Irish charm would save his neck as it had done several times before in his life. Blood was taken to the Palace where he was questioned by King Charles, Prince Rupert, The Duke of York and other members of the royal family. King Charles was amused at Blood's audacity when Blood told him that the Crown Jewels were not worth the £100,000 they were valued at, but only £6,000.

The King asked Blood "What if I should give you your life?" and Blood replied humbly, "I would endeavour to deserve it, Sire!"

Blood was not only pardoned, to the disgust of Lord Ormonde, but was given Irish lands worth £500 a year. Blood became a familiar figure around London and made frequent appearances at Court

The Church at Mattingley

The Churchyard was licensed in 1425, and the first church or chapel on the present site was probably built towards the end of the l4th century. It is one of the most beautiful churches in England: it is fully half-timbered, and the bricks which are made as parallelograms and not oblongs seem to have been designed specifically for herringbone work and may well have been "burnt" on Hazeley Heath.

The Church has no patron saint - possibly because the original building on the site was, to start with, a moot hall - that is, a place where meetings were held. On the other hand it may have been because it had been, in the early days, a "chapel of ease" to the Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Heckfield.

The parish of Mattingley enjoys a traditional rural way of life, the essence of which is of quietness and peacefulness. Historically, this area has always enjoyed tranquillity and has mainly been involved in farming and farming support. Manufacturing has for several hundreds of years centred around brickmaking, but this died out in the 1930s.

Stratfield Saye House

At the north end of the village can be found the main entrance to Stratfield Saye House, the home of the Dukes of Wellington, and there are several local farms belonging to the duke along with his country park and lake. South east of the London Lodges can be found the monument erected in 1866 in memory of the Duke of Wellington.

Up until the end of the 18th Century there was a fair at the end of July each year in Mattingley which attracted people from the towns around and fairground performers from across the south of England. The Parish Council meetings were held in the bar of the Leather Bottle at one time, and in Victorian times a Friendly Society met in the Inn, to which villages could regularly pay a few pence so that they could draw on the Society if they were out of work, or to pay for a decent funeral.

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

Front of house

Charlotte Moore


Char is a well known face in the company having joined us from a few sister pubs including the Rowbarge, the Pheasant, the White Hart, Chobham. and The Packhorse. She is the office and paperwork guru who loves to train and see her staff move up the ranks. The ultimate social bunny, Char is always the one to initiate a staff night out and is always the last one standing. A fiend for Pepsi Max, you can often follow her footsteps throughout the pub by the empty bottles and glasses.

Lee Dore

Deputy Manager

Lee joined the company in the Summer of 2021 as a Deputy Manager at our sister pub the Mill House. Lee has worked in the industry for 24 years. Taking short stints out to try his hand in things like project management. In the future Lee dreams of being a park ranger in the Lake District, but for now he'll be either working hard at the LB or at home caring for his son, Elijah.

Amy Hazelwood

Assistant Manager

Amy joined the team in October 2018, having obtained a degree in Event Management at the University of Greenwich; followed by a 5 year stint working at and managing a small team in a large, local Hotel & Conference Venue. Amy has worked her way up through the ranks over the years starting off as a waitress, then becoming a supervisor and is now currently our assistant manager! Amy is also our social media queen.

Grace Webber

Assistant Manager

Our newest addition to our management team is the lovely, chatty Grace, joining us as Assistant Manager. Grace has worked in the industry for 5 years, working her way up from a waitress. Grace is a lover of all things wine whether it be a chilled white on a summer's day or a bold red on a winters evening. When Grace isn't busy working hard, chatting to regulars, or sat at home enjoying a drink, she loves to play netball.

Ellie Dunn


Ellie has been a familiar face here at the Leather Bottle for 4 years now and is our newest and coolest supervisor. You'll always find Ellie playing with customers dogs and telling them all about her own, Milo. Ellie is a social butterfly, often leading the other staff astray on nights out. The big sister of the pub, you'll always find her looking after the rest of the gang.

Andrew Best


Andy is the Dad of the pub. When not looking after the gang here, he'll be looking after his 2 little girls. Andy is our lovely cellar man, often found lugging barrels around or organising a new line up for the bar. A massive film fan, you can often find Andy behind the bar getting people to read off film trivia to him while he shows off his extensive knowledge. Andy is a big Man United fan, until they're doing rubbish and then he doesn't care for football.

Abigail Webb

Bar/Waiting Staff

Abby joined the team at the Leather Bottle in 2011 with experience in various different pub restaurants. She has two young boys at home to keep her on her toes, but still manages to serve with a smile at the Leather Bottle a few evenings a week.

Debbie West

Bar/Waiting Staff

Debbie is one of our longest standing members, working during the week usually within the restaurant. Debbie is a busy lady, juggling her shifts at the pub with running her own gardening company, as well as looking after her two daughters and dog! With her experience in gardening, she can also be found tending to our pub garden, keeping our outside space looking lovely.


Bar/Waiting Staff

When we asked Tom what we should write on this page, his answer was 'absolute legend'. We'll let you be the judge of that though. Tom or otherwise known as 'Tirby' is our lovely, quirky barman.

Ava Bailey

Bar/Waiting Staff

Ava is our lovely little drama queen and she always has the team in fits of giggles. Ava is currently at Bath Uni studying drama. Ava was the first member of staff hired at our newest sister pub, the Architect, in Bath; where she'll be working part time in the term time alongside uni. But she can't get rid of us that easily we've made sure she'll still be coming back to work with us in all the holidays and breaks.

Rosie Holliday

Bar/Waiting Staff

Rosie has been a part of the Leather Bottle team since August 2020, Rosie has recently joined the team full time after finishing at college with flying colours, and is now a whizz both on the bar or in the restaurant. When Rosie's not working she can often be found getting her nails done, having a margarita or with her 2 dogs.

Thomas Bury-Lewis

Bar/Waiting Staff

Tom is a very valued member here at the Leather Bottle! You will find him donning a waistcoat and running around for his customers to make sure they have an excellent dining experience. Alongside his weekend shifts here with us at the pub, Tom also works a 9 till 5 office job. When Tom isn't working he loves to sit on the other side of the bar trying different flavoured gins!

Ellie Mathieson

Bar/Waiting Staff

Ellie is one of the lovely members of staff that only graces us with her presence in the holidays when she's not busy at uni studying hard. Ellie always brings that hard work ethos into work and always has a smile on her face lighting up the days of both the team and the customers.


Bar/Waiting Staff

A fairly new addition to the team but already a very familiar face on both sides of the bar, whether it be working and being heard from every corner of the pub or on his days off enjoying a nice bottle of cider. Josh is also known for dominating the competition on our staff's funky shirt Sundays!

Rachel Arthurs

Bar/Waiting Staff

Joining the pub as a recommendation from her sister Sophie, Rachel joins the teams on our busy week day lunchtimes, when she's not too busy studying to become a midwife. On her days off Rachel can often be found in a quiet corner tucked away with a coffee and a good book.

Liv Irby

Bar/Waiting Staff

The third member of the Irby clan to join us here at the Leather Bottle. Liv is one of our part time members of the team, joining us on the evening she's not too busy with College studying Biology, Psychology and Geography or off in a field with her horses.

Rachel Mint

Bar/Waiting Staff

Rachel is one our newest members of staff having joined us just before our refurb in February. Rachel is with us part time as she works a full time job as a Purchaser. Rachel moved to the area last year, having grown up in London, she speaks fluent Turkish having lived out in Turkey as a rep alongside Sonic The Hedgehog!

Jessica Darke

Bar/Waiting Staff

Jess is one of the members of staff who joined us for when we re-opened after refurbishment. Jess is lovely and bubbly and always up for a chat. If you join us with a four legged friend, you'll have to be prepared for Jess to make friends with them, as she is a lover of all things dog, especially her own dog, Mabel. Jess has recently finished Uni after studying Hair and Makeup in Film and Television, and is hoping to go on to work down that path; but she's working hard with us in the mean time.

Oliver Hanger

Bar/Waiting Staff

Oli has just finished studying economics at Exeter. Oli loves swimming and does it competitively, he was even on the committee at his university. He's only with us for a short while as he's starting a grad job in September, so is with us to pass his time until them.

Lottie Mobbs

Bar/Waiting Staff

Lottie used to work at one of our sister pubs, the Mill House; but after a short stint travelling the world, she arrived home and decided she was after a change of pace and has joined us at the LB. Lottie is off to Nottingham in September for uni, but will be back in the holidays and breaks to work with us again.

Alex Macintosh

Bar/Waiting Staff

Alex is one of our newer members of the team. He is currently studying psychology, politics and French at A level so is too busy to be with us full time. But he's lived in this area for years so knew the pub better than a lot of us already! He's a massive Chelsea fan and a very sociable and friendly guy so will always be up for a chat, especially about football.


Zdenko Danas

Chef de Partie

Zdenko joined the pub from his brother Yoshi, and started as a Kitchen Porter, but while no ones looking he has been sneaking his way up the kitchen and is now a full time chef. Zdenko is particularly fond of a nice golden rum after a long hard day in the kitchen. Zdenko also enjoys playing video games when he is not busy at work.

Matt Barber

Chef de Partie

Matt is one of the newer additions to our kitchen team. Joining us fairly soon after we reopened. Matt joins us on the evenings and weekends when he's not busy running his own refrigerated trailer business; we know who to call if our fridges break! When Matt's not working one of his many jobs, he'll either be at home with his dog, Ruby; or with his kids Freddie and Ellie.

Milan Haring

Senior Chef de Partie

Milan is possibly the most laid back, and cheeriest member of the kitchen team, always keeping everyone laughing. He tends to spend most of the summer months on holiday or attending various festivals. Milan also likes to keep active playing various sports such as badminton and football.

Elena Stamatescu

Kitchen Porter

When Elena's not too busy with her son, Patrick, she joins us for a few evening and lunchtime each week. Being one of the only girls in the Kitchen it's Elena's main job to keep all the boys in check! As well as being a killer KP, the Queen of desserts and a useful hand for prep. We're not quite sure if the kitchen would function without her.


Kitchen Porter

Shams is the breath of fresh air every kitchen needs. Always smiling and always happy to help, Shams has only been a part of our team for a little while but we couldn't imagine life without him. A day without Shams is like a day without sunshine.


Martin Hadley

Maintenance Person

Martin, is our resident Handyman at the Leather Bottle and although commonly makes himself scarce before the pub starts to fill up with our lunchtime visitors, he is a vital part of the team keeping the pub ticking over nicely. Having worked long shift hours for many years, Martin is now making the most of his spare afternoons and weekends, spending the time with family and in particular his Grandson, Tommy.