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History Of The New Harp Inn

The New Harp occupies the site of Fishbrook Cottage inhabited by George Pens in 1838, and did not become an inn until the nearby Old Harp Inn became a Temperance Hotel in 1885. The former experienced innkeeper, James Preece acquired Fishbrook Cottage and opened the premises as the New Harp Public House. James had also traded as a timber merchant and butcher, but had been in trouble when summoned by Petty Sessions for detaining articles belonging to the Hoarwithy Friendly Society. After a few years at the New Harp he sold it in 1889 for £1,105 to the Ross based Alton Court Brewery Company who employed Arthur Gibbons as tenant.

In 1901 Richard Tomkins briefly took over as landlord of the New Harp followed by Thomas Dance in 1902 until 1920 when he purchased the Hoarwithy Mill. Dance then became a corn dealer, coal merchant and haulier and the brewery found new tenants including Henry Jones in 1922 and Evan Jones during the 1940s. In 1962 the Alton Court Brewery Company and its pubs were sold to West Country Breweries who were later taken over by Whitbread. John and Pauline Keenan arrived in 1979, attracted to Hoarwithy simply for the fishing. Unfortunately the New Harp caught fire during renovations in 2004 when it was reported that firemen rescued the landlady’s dogs and cats from the blaze. Damage caused by the fire led to refurbishment and new publicans.

As the sole surviving pub from a total of nine recorded names at Hoarwithy, the New Harp has provided a useful amenity to the local community. The premises have been used for buying and selling produce, electioneering, auction sales, a doctor’s surgery, carol singing, quiz nights, live music, beer festivals, not failing to mention that it is a popular venue for weddings, christenings, birthday parties and a place to relax with good food and drink with the present landlords Adrian, Belinda and Fudge & Jake.