UK's oldest pub closes its doors after 1,229 Years 4 months ago

UK's oldest pub closes its doors after 1,229 Years

06/02/2022

Earlier in the century, the Chinese invented gunpowder for the first time

The oldest pub in Britain has been forced to close its doors for the final time after opening in 793AD.

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Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, in St Albans, was hit by the pandemic, and despite trying "everything to stay open", they must now close.

landlord Christo Tofalli made the announcement on Facebook, explaining how he has been left "heartbroken" while also expressing his love for playing a "small part in its history."

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pub The pub opened in 793AD/Via GeoGraph

Tofalli wrote: "It is with great sadness that I have to announce that today, after a sustained period of extremely challenging trading conditions, YOFC Ltd has gone into administration.

"Along with my team, I have tried everything to keep the pub going. However, the past two years have been unprecedented for the hospitality industry, and have defeated all of us who have been trying our hardest to ensure this multi-award-winning pub could continue trading into the future."

For context, when the pub opened, King Offa of Mercia was rallying the kingdoms of Great Britain against Viking attack. In Europe, Pope Leo III crowned Charles the Great Emperor of Rome, and earlier in the century, the Chinese invented gunpowder for the first time.

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Tofalli continued: "Before the pandemic hit, the escalating business rates and taxations we were managing meant trading conditions were extremely tough, but we were able to survive and were following an exciting five-year plan and were hopeful for the future.

Getty An artistic rendering from 1936/Via Getty

"However the Covid-19 pandemic was devastating and our already tight profit margins gave us no safety net. This resulted in us being unable to meet our financial obligations as they were due, creating periods of great uncertainty and stress for all who worked for, and with, the pub."

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Speaking of his sorrow, he continued: "It goes without saying I am heartbroken: this pub has been so much more than just a business to me, and I feel honoured to have played even a small part in its history.

"I am even more heartbroken for my incredible team and the wider Fighting Cocks family."

Getty Via Getty

The post has received a lot of attention, most notably from fans of the pub.

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One wrote: "So sorry to hear this. You and the team breathed life back into YOFC. You gave us and many more a welcome and warmth that no other place could ever match. On the night of our engagement you insisted on a special table even though you were fully booked and shared our special day with us."

Another said: "Thank you for some of the best years of my life! Working with you and the team was the greatest pleasure. I made lifelong friends, precious memories and those walls were my home."

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