Last Orders as Britain’s Oldest Pub Forced to Close After 1,229 Years

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, Hertfordshire, believed to be the oldest in Britain has been placed into administration after first opening its doors 1,229 years ago.The Hertfordshire hostelry was built in the 11th century, however the pub’s own history says it dates back as far as 793.

In a facebook post Landlord Christo Tofalli said: “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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said of the pubs closure: ‘It’s incredibly sad that Christo is leaving the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks and that the future of the pub is currently uncertain.

‘We all know how hard he and his team have worked to keep the pub running through these challenging times, and it is clear that simply being able to reopen without restrictions post-pandemic isn’t enough to ensure pubs survive.

‘The Government must provide greater support for these businesses, particularly with regards to easing the sky-high business rates.

‘Another rate revaluation is due next year which could see costs spiral again for many pubs, leading to even more closures over the coming months and years. We must act now to protect our pubs or risk losing them forever.’

The pub’s administrators are in consultation to the building’s owner, Mitchells and Butlers (M&B), and it is expected that the pub will reopen under new management.