About Us

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

History

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 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 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).

We have then since received another email from Craig Olsen who was kind enough to send in some old postcards with a little note.

Impressed with the personal nature of the Refectory website, I thought these postcards might be appreciated. They were acquired in the summer of 1940 by a Kiwi soldier stationed at Mytchett Camp near Aldershot. What a great thing for the Refectory to have become a pub!

Many thanks Craig.

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


Front of house

Mitch

Manager

Say hello to Mitch, Manager at the Refectory. Mitch has a wide knowledge of ales and regularly visits brewers up and down the country to gain inspiration so we can give you the good stuff. (His wine knowledge is impressive too!). Pubs are just one of Mitch's passions, he also loves to play football and can put together an impressive three course meal at home. We wouldn't say no to dinner at his house! Two things that are always on Mitch's yearly agenda are travelling to the south of France and going back to his roots in Bakewell. Our northern lad!

Buzz

Deputy Manager

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.

Rich

Supervisor

Rich joined us back in March 2019 as a food runner and has steadily progressed to Supervisor. Rich is an integral part of our team here, we don't know what we'd do without him! As an avid gamer, when he's not on shift whizzing around the restaurant or laughing behind the bar you'll most likely find him doing battle in Verdansk, playing his favourite game Modern Warfare! His favourite dish on our menu has to be the Steak Burger, washed down nicely with a pint of Camden Hells.

Charlotte

Supervisor

Charlotte is our one of our newest supervisors here at the Refectory. After being part of the team since 2021, Charlotte has shown everyone just how brilliant she is. She is excited to learn the ropes and begin new challenges within the business. When Charlotte isn’t busy working away, you'll find her at the bar sipping on a Bombay Sapphire and lemon tonic.

Mark

Supervisor

Mark is one of our Supervisors here at the Refectory as well as our chief cocktail maker. He’s usually found behind the bar shaking up a passion-fruitini! When Mark’s ‘off duty’ he is a keen photographer and an even keener beer drinker.

Niamh

Bar/Waiting Staff

Niamh joined us from our sister pub the Bolney Stage, after moving to Surrey to study for her degree in Civil Engineering. As our top ‘barista’ we are always kept fuelled up on caffeine. When Niamh isn’t hard at work here, you can guarantee she will be revising for her on-going exams. After she’s had a Malibu and Cola, that is!

Tom

Bar/Waiting Staff

What can we say about Tom... other than the fact we are very lucky he's part of our team. Tom's love and passion for cars doesn't go unnoticed (or unheard), so if you need any car questions answered, he's your guy! You'll usually see him behind the bar and always with a smile on his face.

Livvi

Bar/Waiting Staff

After 5 years away travelling and studying Philosophy at Leeds, Livvi couldn't wait to get back to work here at the Refectory. Her bubbly and positive nature is infectious, and she brings the same level of warmth and laughter no matter what day it is. On her days off, you can be sure to find Livvi in a cocktail bar in London.


Kitchen

Paul

Head Chef

Paul joined the team here in April 2014 and we've not looked back since. Oddly for a chef he is super approachable, cool under fire and will even have a chat with the locals, so he's definitely a keeper. When he is not tending to his kitchen, he is never far away from his new love, his allotment.

Dan

Sous Chef

Dan is a passionate Chef, with a keen eye for detail. He is a truly likeable guy, with a laid-back character, a cool head and heaps of experience. He is a family man, and, when he has the time, loves having his family together to play board games and to cook for them. His favourite dish to make at home is pork belly with crispy black pudding, fondant potatoes and apple bon bons. He is also another car enthusiast here at the Refectory!


Maintenance

Lisa

Cleaner

Meet one of our fabulous cleaners Lisa who has been with us for 10 years and counting! She is an early bird and works on that extra shine and polish that adds to the outstanding atmosphere here at the Refectory. Lisa also loves a good chat over a cuppa in the morning, maybe with a cheeky slice of chocolate cake too!

Martin

Gardener/Maintenance Person

Don't be shy to say hello to our longest standing gardener/maintenance man Martin. You will see him working hard around the grounds and loves a good chat between jobs! Martin loves long walks and travelling around the UK and abroad with his two sons. If you ever need a helping hand, Martin is your guy!

Taryn

Gardener/Maintenance Person

Taryn is the newest addition to our garden team, and we welcome her with open arms! Her passion for flowers and landscape really shows not only by the huge smile on her face every day, but, well just come and look around the grounds and you will see! Taryn keeps busy with her two dogs, Lacey and Tiny, her horse Captain and family at home. Another friendly face to say hello to if you see her!