Farming family ploughs investment in to pub

Old School Inn, Epworth.
Old School Inn, Epworth.
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Over 16 jobs have been created in the Isle by the grand renovation of a pub, in a building that was formerly Epworth County School.

The Dent family, who have farmed for over 100 years in the Isle, bought The Old School Inn on Battle Green last year, and have spent almost 12 months designing and converting it to a community pub of character.

It is a group enterprise involving Edward and Jill Dent with their sons Richard and Jeremy.

Jeremy Dent said: “Our family has a historical interest and passion in contributing to the community. We have kept the heritage of the old school with photographs that were inherited with the building, some of which we are aware are of village residents.

“These will take centre stage in the design, which has made the best use of the original features of the 1876 property.”

There are, however, some major changes inside the building, he said. One of these is a panoramic window from the main bar, looking out over the secure garden that has been made much more of a feature for summer evenings.

The former dining room is converted to a sports bar and there is a ‘snug’ area with an open fire to be lit on cooler nights, with plenty of alternative room for relaxed drinking space.

Varied menus will be on offer in the main area, comprising an evening menu, weekend brunches, Sunday lunch and children’s choices, all using fresh local produce.

Chairman of Epworth Town Council, Don Stewart, said: “I was the Council’s Chair of Land and Property when the local community rented the school and had the opportunity of buying it in the 1970s. But the overheads were too high, and it almost became a coal yard.

“When the proposition of a pub came up I supported it strongly, but there was resistance from local residents. The fact that it has now been refurbished is wonderful and I know people are keen to see it open. it is a place with a great deal of character.”

He continued: “I would like to thank the Dent family for investing in the place and restoring a facility that will be there, I am sure, for people in Epworth and the surrounding are to enjoy for many years to come.”

Manager Tom Bellis and staff members recruited for the new venture are all local people, the Epworth Bells was told, and CVs for future vacancies are still being accepted.

The Dents have created a new facebook page for the Old School Inn at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Old-School-Inn-Epworth/183080221725634 to post up progress at the venue.