A BATTLE raged over the future of a Herefordshire village pub as the threat of closure loomed in July 1973.

Villagers in Garway were up in arms over rumours that Whitbread Flowers Ltd, the owners of the Garway Inn, were planning to close it later that month and put it up for auction without a licence, along with 10 acres of land.

Hereford Times: The Garway Inn in 1973The Garway Inn in 1973 (Image: Hereford Times)

Five other local pubs had closed in the vicinity in recent years, the Hereford Times reported.

Local Colonel Richard Basset, a retired officer in the Rifle Brigade, told the Hereford Times at the time that closure would be "a tragic move".

"What good is a village without a pub," Col Basset said.

"It is the foal point for the area and an amenity that just cannot be replaced."

Licensee Victor Hancock had gathered more than 100 signatures on a petition to present to Whitbread Flowers.

He had also sought the help of Hereford MP David Gibson-Watt, who said he was disturbed by the proposals and would be taking it up directly with the brewery's directors.

Licensee Mr Hancock, who had been at the pub for seven years, said he had become physically disabled and was unable to carry on at the pub, but that he knew of others willing to take on the tenancy.


And their efforts were not in vain, with a reprieve granted by the brewery, which was reported to have confirmed it would not be going ahead to close the pub on July 21 as planned.

It would, however, be auctioned in the autumn but with a licence, the brewery said, much to the disappointment of Mr Hancock, who accused the directors of being "a bit remote" and not fully understanding the need for such rural pubs.

Hereford Times: Patrick and Verity Maine at the Garway Inn in 1974Patrick and Verity Maine at the Garway Inn in 1974 (Image: Hereford Times)

But despite the worst fears of locals, hope was on the horizon, with new owners Patrick and Verity Maine taking the helm at the pub in January 1974.

Liverpool-born Mr Maine said he had bought the premises to keep the pub open, much to the relief of locals.

The couple, who had previously run the Fountain Inn at Trelleck, planned to carry out extensive renovations including the introduction of a playroom for children and a lounge bar with a substantial menu.

The Garway Moon Inn is still open and now offers bed and breakfast accommodation alongside the pub and restaurant.

Want to stay up to date with all the latest news for your local area? It's easy, just sign up for our free weekly email newsletter here and all the important stories that matter to you will be delivered straight to your inbox.