CAMPAIGNERS in Cleeve Prior have launched a £500,000 bid to save a village pub which has been a hub of the community since 1542.
The Kings Arms opened in the village in the same year witchcraft was outlawed on pain of death. It was another 22 years before Shakespeare was born ‘just down the road’ in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
But the landmark is currently in danger of closing its doors forever, spurring local people on to protect a piece of local history.
The Kings Arms Community Pub Group, made up of village volunteers, is issuing a community share scheme.
Shares are £50 each with a minimum spend of £200. The village needs to raise a total of £500,000 to cover the cost of freehold and necessary repairs and renovations.
Brian Williams, chairman of the Cleeve Prior Community Pub Group hopes Government grants will meet some of the cost.
Almost £100,000 has already been raised from villagers pledges despite the scheme not being launched until next Saturday (February 10).
Local resident Sarah Gallucci said:
“It would be a tragedy if the UK lost yet another piece of our culture and heritage due to cost of living rises.
“The pub acts as a hub for our community and without it we are just a collection of houses.
“It is a vital focal point for meeting neighbours and as we saw with Covid, isolation can have a big impact on mental health for people of all ages.”
Approximately 500 pubs in the UK closed in 2023 due to rising energy costs and customers cutting back on their own spending.
Communities rallied together and saved 160 pubs through share schemes, but many have been lost forever.
There will be an open day, at the Kings Arms in Cleeve Prior on February 10 from midday to 4pm.
Anyone interested in purchasing shares can ask questions whilst enjoying a local Cotswold ale.