HISTORY OF THE ROYAL OAK
A BUILDING UNCHANGED IN 300 YEARS
THE ROYAL OAK
Tannery originally built by John Wright c.1705
Between 1852 and 1858 it became
The Royal Oak Inn
1861 Edward Spencer
1865 William Carter
1873 Charles Godwin
1881 Charles William Roberts
1891 Henry Tufnel
1901 William Hansford
1923-1965 George Hansford
Although the precise date of The Royal Oak's construction is unknown, one of the chimney stacks bears the date 1705 and it is known to have been in use as a tannery by 1707.
The tannery works were built and owned by Thomas Wright and after his death the building continued to be referred to as a tanyard for over 100 years. It is known the tannery was a contributing factor in the decision to move St Peter's Church in 1842, from its position directly to the west of The Royal Oak, to where it stands today. The tannery owned the watercourses at the back of (what is today) The Royal Oak garden and their use in the tanning process contributed to the regular flooding of the old church.
The building was still call The Tanyard in the 1851 census, but was possibly now only used as a farmhouse. The 1861 census shows that owner Edward Spencer had decided to turn the building into an ale house and records show that the doors of The Royal Oak Inn were first opened some time between 1852 and 1858.
It was said that few changes were made to the interior of the building during this time and that the ale house looked much as it had when Thomas Wright first built the tannery in the early 1700's.
The pub remained a constant and important part of village life for over a century, until it closed in 2007. After an extensive renovation project, the pub reopened in 2015, and although the interior of the pub today is a far cry from the ale house in a former tannery, the exterior has barely changed since the building's construction in 1705.
Explore the images in our gallery to discover The Royal Oak through the ages.