(CMR) England's oldest pub is expected to close soon due to economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the property's landlord said.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St. Albans, England, is said to be the oldest pub in Britain, with a storied past featuring medieval pigeons, Oliver Cromwell, and a series of tunnels once traversed by monks.
In a Facebook post, Christo Tofalli, who bought the pub in 2012, said that “a sustained period of extremely challenging trading conditions” was to blame.
“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,” he explained.
Tofalli said, along with his team, he has 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,” he wrote.
Tofalli thanked pub staff, regulars, and visitors, saying he was heartbroken for the Fighting Cocks family and honored to have played “even a small part in its history.”
According to its website, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks dates back to the 8th century. The octagonal, free-standing structure was built in the 11th century and moved to its current location in 1539.
Nearly 10,000 licensed premises (including pubs, clubs, and restaurants) permanently closed in 2020, SkyNews reported.
Tofalli said he was working with brewery owners Mitchells & Butlers “to lessen the impact” of the pub's closure. A spokesperson for the company told CNN that it is working to reopen it.
“We can confirm that sadly our tenants at Ye Old Fighting Cocks have appointed administrators but can reassure locals that this is not the end for the pub,” they said in a statement. “We are currently exploring all opportunities for the site's future and hope to reopen the pub under new management as soon as possible.”