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Nobby Coles – Landlord of the New Inn.

Author: John Riches Published: 25th June 2018 11:48

Nobby Coles – Landlord of the New Inn.Nobby Coles – Landlord of the New Inn.

Forty-five years ago “Nobby” Coles acted as the landlord of our ancient stone built village pub The New Inn.

In fact his wife Vi was the licensee, but she was rarely seen in the pub and lived in a cottage opposite. Besides operating our pub Nobby ran a business from the yard dealing in old railway sleepers, for which at the time there was a great need. It really was a traditional English boozer where the clientele, almost entirely men, supped their pints of Hooky, smoked if they wished, kept warm round an ancient tortoise stove and generally put the world to rights.
If customers asked for food the height of his culinary offering was likely to be a bag of crisps and if you were really luck – pork scratchings. But proper food was noticeable by its absence. Sadly Nobby died in 1977 and John and Barbara Powell took over. They dabbled at primitive catering but it wasn’t until Falklands War veteran Sergeant Major Fred Huggins and his wife Dianne took over that things started to improve. Dianne became famous in these parts for her home-baked ham that she served with eggs and chips.
Successive landlords made gradual improvements to the food being offered to customers but it wasn’t until local farmer Rob  Smith took over the tenancy approaching eleven years ago that the pub’s catering really improved. Rob has since bought the pub from the Hook Norton Brewery and teamed-up with Abthorpe man Stuart Jones whose catering company operates the kitchens and produces a wonderful high quality menu. It’s so good now that a recent announcement stated that “We are pleased to announce that the New Inn Abthorpe  has been recognised with a 2018 Certificate of Excellence based on constantly great reviews you’ve earned on the world’s largest travel site. Only selected businesses receive a Certificate of Excellence.”
Well done Rob, Stuart, chef Steve Claridge and their teams.

John Riches


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David B
At 10:12 on 31st July 2018, David B commented:
Hello all
That's an interesting article. Nobby's wife Vi (my grandmother) was indeed the licensee and it was her name over the door, but also she spent many hours working in the pub and helping Nobby with various business aspects that weren't his strong area. I think it's only fair to point that out and the fact Nobby only got where he did due to Vi's care and help, especially in the early days.
At 13:31 on 7th October 2019, KIRSTY T commented:
Hello, Nobby was my husbands Grandfather.. be good to get in touch with the person above who said Vi was their Grandmother!! Regards Kirsty

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