Those familiar with the Carrington diaries – kept by local Tewin farmer and public official, John Carrington, between 1798 and 1810 – may already know that one of the very first written mentions of a beer engine (handpump) in a rural pub was that of Carrington’s entry “an ingen to draw beer by” referring to a beer engine installed in around 1806. This was at the Rose & Crown, a pub run by his son, also named John from 1791. The pub’s history is traced back to at least 1713 when in it was in the ownership of Samuel Pryor and who sold it to Richard Warren for £500 in 1730. On his death in 1768 it passed to his nephew the Rev Vincent Warren who on his death in 1791 left the pub to his brother the Rev William. It was sold to Lord Cowper of nearby Panshanger in 1802. John Carrington Jnr survived as leaseholder until 1820 when, on his bankruptcy, the lease was taken over by Christie and Cathrow, brewers in Hoddesdon. The photo above dates from the years around 1900. In the 1920’s and 30’s Trust Houses leased the property but by the late 1950’s Cowper had sold the pub to Rayment’s the brewers from Furneux Pelham who were a subsidiary of Greene King. Along the way the beer engines were removed and in came keg and top-pressure beers. This continued into the 1980’s but in 1983 new beer engines were installed, though not for Rayment’s excellent Furneux-brewed BBA which apparently never appeared. Greene King IPA and Abbot clips adorned the pumps, the pub having been transferred from Rayment’s supervision to that of Greene King’s Biggleswade brewery a year earlier. The emergence of Rayment’s Special Bitter in 1994 might, on the face of it, have harked back to previous times but the beer had little link to the Furneux Pelham brewery – being brewed by Greene King in Bury St.Edmunds and to an amended recipe and strength. The beer was soon discontinued. Greene King, who closed their Biggleswade brewery in 1997, still own the pub to the present day, providing their beers from Bury, augmented with a wider range from the company’s guest beer portfolio and additional non-Greene King beers – New River and Timothy Taylor beers proving very popular. Four to six real ales are normally available.
The characterful building is Grade II listed with its origins in the 17th century, the building at the front adjoined to an order building to the rear. Much altered in the 18th century and with 20th century additions, it commands a position opposite the lower village green and inside there are exposed beams and an inglenook fireplace. A significant fire in 1985 halted its progress and later refurbishments in 1998 and 2015 have shaped its current internal appearance – a meeting of the old with the contemporary. Today’s pub is pictured above.
Current landlords and leaseholders are Seanie and Martine O’Flynn and their son Gabriel who are all celebrating the start of their third year at the pub. They have created an energetic pub with strong community links in the village and with groups from further afield – Oaklands College, the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust and the Heavy Horse Society of Hertfordshire, to name a few.
It’s a place where conversation is always to the fore but during each month there is a quiz on the 3rd Thursday, Open-mic on the 3rd Sunday and a folk music session on the 3rd Tuesday. Pub games include pool and darts and there is TV Sport (choose your bar for different showings). Hearty home cooked pub grub, locally sourced, is available lunchtimes and evenings. Look out for “Pie of the Day” Monday – Saturday and roasts on Sundays.
Seanie said “We are very family and community orientated with lots of local groups meeting here. This summer our garden is being refurbished with the inclusion of a fountain and an environmental water feature. It should be a great improvement for the pub and our customers”.
The Rose & Crown is open all day from 11am Monday – Friday and from noon Saturday and Sunday.
Opportunities to visit the Rose & Crown by public transport are sadly limited and have been affected by bus cuts in recent times. Services include the very sparse 204, 378 and 388 services – the best linking from Welwyn Garden City or Welwyn North Stations.