A HEREFORDSHIRE pub with a macabre history was pulled down to make way for a new pub "for the push-button era" in the 1960s.

For several hundred years, there has been a Traveller's Rest near Ross-on-Wye.

But the ancient building, which was reported by the Hereford Times in the early 1960s to have once been used by "sin eaters", who were employed to eat bread which supposedly contained the sins of the recently dead, was to be pulled down as the motorway network marched across the country, to be replaced by a new Traveller's Rest built nearby.

The old Travellers Rest, Herefordshire

The old Travellers Rest, Herefordshire

The brand-new Traveller's Rest, built at a cost of £30,000, opened to the public in 1965, at the end of the M50 motorway, with the ribbon cut by one of the directors of West Country Breweries, Colonel E R Hill.

Colonel Hill said the old pub had served the community well, but that it would be pulled down as soon as possible to make way for an additional entrance to the new pub.

"Times change, and no spot can have changed more than this, where a motorway has suddenly been built past the back door," he said at the time.

"The impact of this development on this quiet corner of Herefordshire will become increasingly noticeable in the future."

And the new pub had certainly taken a bold leap into the modern age.

The new Travellers Rest, Herefordshire

The new Travellers Rest, Herefordshire

The Hereford Times said at the time that the new pub was "one of the most pleasant pubs to be opened in the county for some time", with glass doors in the ranch-style exterior opening into the travellers and buttery bars, with the public bar on the other side "far removed from the old concept of spit and sawdust".


Some old traditions remained under the management of landlords Pam and Mick Steggles, with draught cider ("almost unheard of in a modern pub") remaining on tap, but modern touches were on show at every turn.

Not least among its charms, the Hereford Times reported, was the electronic beer distribution system.

"A measured half pint comes out at the push of a button and goes into a slightly oversized glass, so there is no spillage and no swimming tables or counters", the paper said.

The 'new' pub is now a Beefeater and still remains open just outside Ross-on-Wye.

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