Last chance saloon: Residents of village near Saffron Walden attempt to save their pub from closure

Hadstock King's Head

Hadstock King's Head - Credit: Archant

Villagers are pulling together in a last ditch effort to help save their pub from being closed.

The King’s Head in Hadstock is set to close in three days’ time. On Monday, it is due to be boarded up.

Landlord David Taylor and his teenage son Jamie don’t want to leave so the village has started a campaign to save their pub and has raised money to buy it – but the owners, a company called Rambo Limited, have decided to sell the smaller items on their portfolio.

The pub has been on the market for about two years but the crunch came just before Christmas.

The publican said: “I received an email on December 22, that the pub would be closed on January 7. This is a very successful pub, it’s the heart of the community and when we leave here, we won’t have a home.”

The publican and chef, who has been in the business for 25 years, added: “I would like to thank the village for launching a magnificent campaign, they did a lot of work and we got a stay of execution until January 31. Also the management company Oxford Hotel and Inns have done their best, they have been amazing. I have to close the pub on Sunday but I hope we can still stay in the flat or my son and I will be homeless.”

A further complication is that David’s son, Jamie, 18 is due to have surgery on each of his knees. The operations will be done one at a time and each leg will take up to nine months to recover.

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The pub has five darts teams, it is a meeting place for several clubs including a book club and an investment club dealing in stocks and shares, there is a breakfast club which debates big issues and raises money for charity and a folk group with open mic sessions.

Hadstock’s fete committee meets in the pub and it also hosts functions and works with the church, St Botolph’s to cater for weddings.

Mr Taylor said: “The pub is a big part of the village, the newspapers are delivered here.”

The pub, named after King Charles I, is a 400-year-old grade II listed building. It has been a pub for about 180 years and before that was a home. It is expected to be turned back into homes once it is sold.

Meanwhile villagers in Hadstock have set up The Hadstock Community Pub Company Ltd to buy the pub. They have raised £60,000 towards the asking price of £229,000 and offered to buy the building over time but their offer has been refused.

To set up the limited company, they first formed the Hadstock Community Benefit Society and have registered the pub as an asset of community value so that this listing will be taken into account when any purchaser applies for planning permission for change of use.

Spokesman Karen Delamain told the Reporter: “This is an absolutely bitter blow, we have worked so hard. The pub is the heart of the community. The worse thing is that David is being evicted and will be homeless but we are also losing a much-loved pub. It is not one of those pubs with nobody in there and that’s down to David who has done everything to bring people into the pub, it’s always busy, not just in the evening, it’s busy in the day.

“The pub is used by walkers, ramblers and cyclists. It is dog friendly and children friendly and does Hallowe’en and Christmas parties for children and events for pensioners. There is pensioners’ lunch for £5. There are care homes who bring mini-buses here.”

A spokesman for Measured Solutions, the company which represents the owners, said they had no comment to make.

To donate to Hadstock’s Friends of the Kings Head campaign, go to