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Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
Photograph: Keith Hider /

Cheers to that! The ‘UK’s oldest pub’ has been saved by its staff

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks has been knocking around since AD 793 – and now the former chef and manager have stepped up to save it

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is a pub in England that is 1,229 years old. Just take a moment to think about that. When the foundations for the Cocks were laid in the year 793, most nations (as we currently know them) didn’t exist. This was a time of Vikings, Mayans, Islamic conquest and general chaotic medieval shenanigans. In the years since, it’s survived civil war, plagues and social upheaval. In other words: this is a really, really old pub.

Near the Roman ruins of Verulamium in St Albans, around an hour’s drive from London, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks claims (controversially, we might add) that it’s the oldest pub in Britain. But back in February the pub was threatened with closure. After two difficult pandemic years, the licensee went into administration.

But fear not. The Cocks has now been saved. The pub’s old manager and head chef (as well as a non-staff member) have stepped in to run it. The Cocks has now reopened – and with a spanking new food menu and a new live music programme to boot. Long live the Cocks!

It looks likely that Ye Olde Fighting Cocks will be around for many years to come. And that’s very much a good thing. The Cocks isn’t just any old crumbling relic. With its timber beams, huge beer garden and views out over the River Ver and St Albans Cathedral, it’s a perfectly delightful establishment. 

Find out more about the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks here.

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