Learn about The Harrow Pub and Stockbury Village

Want to know our story? And how the harrow came to be what it is today? Please see below a 5min read of how the villagers saved the Harrow!

You can also find more information about the village and how you can get involved at the bottom of this page.

Where we started

In September 2016 Stockbury villagers were shocked to discover that the Shepherd Neame brewery had put our village pub ‘The Harrow’ up for sale. We are very fond of our old pub, a very attractive local landmark on the village green in the heart of the village. So, as we didn’t want to lose it, a group of us decided to act. After a hastily arranged public meeting in the village hall to gauge support, we decided we had to ‘save the pub’ and buy it as a village asset. Fortunately, the Parish Council, with great foresight, had previously had the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value, which gave us more time and scope for manoeuvre in the fundraising and conveyancing process. A committee was formed, a survey sent out to all residents asking what they wanted from their village pub, a publicity campaign was launched, a Community Benefit Society formed, events organised, funds raised, grants applied for and what a result! In March 2017 we bought the pub! Which just goes to show what a small village community can achieve when it all pulls together (what next…?).

The Stockbury Community Benefit Society now has over 140 shareholders who have invested their money, time and a great deal of effort into buying and making the pub our own. The Harrow has undergone a complete refurbishment, much of which was done by an army of volunteers (including some army volunteers!) over the Summer of 2017. During this time neighbours and villagers of all ages and from all over the parish brought their goodwill and skills to the pub (including tea making skills, very important!) and we all worked hard and long (mostly) enjoyable hours despite a few problems and mishaps along the way. Our very own (internationally renowned) village artist designed the new pub sign and the Four Seasons paintings on the front of the pub. As a result of villagers and supporters from surrounding villages getting together with a common purpose, many new friendships were made, clubs formed and a new community spirit created.

Our aim was to make our traditional English country pub warm and welcoming to all, locals and visitors, a Free House with great beers, fine wines and delicious food sourced from local farms. We also wanted it to become a place for serving coffees and cakes, teas and snacks during the daytime in a café atmosphere. A perfect meeting place to just pop in and socialise with friends, family or just a chat with someone new. In addition, we wanted a book swap, internet café, Seniors’ Lunch Club, a Pie and a Pint club and we started a ‘ladies who lunch’ get together once a month to keep in touch with new friendsmade during the refurbishment. This aim was achieved as of August 2017 when we were finally ready to open, to great celebration, with honoured guests including the chairman of Shepherd Neame, our local MP and verysupportive MBC and KCC Councillors present. The icing on the cake was the CBS winning the 2017 CAMRA Pub Saving award for our campaign to buy the pub.

Fast Forward to 2020

We had new tenants Mike and Edo (and the first wedding actually held in the pub we believe!) all the way from Italy. They put their own stamp on the pub. The February masked Mardi Gras evening they hosted gave us a taste of a traditional English country pub with a venetian twist. Alas the arrival of the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic the following month made their first year a baptism of fire, but the pub remained open when regulations allowed and when closed provided takeaway food and drink, with free delivery to those shielding or isolating. It was welcomed and much appreciated.

A Little Extra

A few photos of the pub before, during and after the refurbishment are included. We still welcome investors as well as visitors to the pub, so if you’d like to become a shareholder and be a part of this exciting community project (you don’t have to live in the village!), we’d love you to get in touch with us for more information.

    Stockbury Village?

    If you want to know more about Stockbury Village there is the Stockbury Parish Council history book entitled ‘Stockbury, a Stroll through the Past’, published in 2005.

    In it you will find references to our castle, long lost village dwellings, Domesday Book entries and a whole chapter on our ancient church. If you are searching for a relative who may have had connections with Stockbury perhaps he/she is mentioned in our chapter on the house histories, or indeed in the extracts from annals of the church poor, or maybe in the account of Stockbury’s WWII associations with Detling airfield nearby.

    Memorable events from the past are recorded too, such as the time when the church was flooded mid sermon, or more recently what happened when the hurricane of 1987 passed through the parish. And we have not forgotten our environment. You will find documented the parish flora and fauna and the bird population you might expect to see. Explanations are also to be found on the ancient art of digging wells (as Stockbury has many) and you can discover what a dene hole is too!

    There is much more of course so if you are interested you can catch up with our past for just £9.95; books are sold at the local farm shop and at The Harrow Inn, Stockbury. All revenue is placed in a fund for future parish cultural enterprises.

    In 1997 an appraisal was published with a wealth of information about Stockbury Village including the village's history, surveys, observations and pictures.  Visit https://www.stockbury.org.uk/ for more information

    Our Address

    The Street, Stockbury,
    Sittingbourne,
    ME9 7UH 

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