An historic public house in the heart of
The Vale of Belvoir
The historic Red Lion Inn...
The Red Lion is a traditional inn, which is believed to have been built in the 17th Century with an 18th Century frontage and a modern lean-to extension. It is located in a prominent position on entry to the village from Toft’s Hill. Its location is central to four main areas of the village being situated close to the school, the church, the cemetery and is next door to the village play park.
Its history is the subject of much conjecture amongst local people and historians, in particular its role during the Civil War.
Some local people believe that the execution warrant for Charles I was signed in the Red Lion Inn by Colonel Francis Hacker (of Stathern Hall), although this is not proven. During the Civil War (1642-1651), Colonel Hacker was a prominent Leicestershire Parliamentarian who, upon the arrest of Charles I, was given the task of guarding the King during the trial. Although Colonel Hacker never signed the death warrant (kept at his home Stathern Hall), he supervised the execution proceedings on 30th January 1649. On the Restoration of Charles II, Hacker was accused of regicide, sent to the gallows and Stathern hall was demolished.
We do know that it has been used as a focal point, public house and meeting place in Stathern for more than 300 years. It has an important association with the Enclosure of Stathern; it was at the Red Lion Inn that the meeting took place in August 1790 to determine the Enclosure Plan (which still exists), and to appoint three commissioners by statute. The three commissioners appointed were the Duke of Rutland, Peterhouse College and the proprietors. Enclosure describes various ways in which land was redistributed into designated units, usually consolidating small landholdings into larger farms. Enclosure began in the medieval period but the practice became particularly widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was established through local Acts of Parliament known as Enclosure Acts.
The pub was best known in more recent years as one of the finest places to eat in the county under the co-ownership of Ben Jones and chef Sean Hope. It won several awards including:
- Dining Pub of the Year for Leicestershire in the Good Pub Guide
- Michelin Bib Gourmand
- AA Pub of the Year
- The Publican Food Pub of the Year
- In 2009 it featured on television on The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain, when the Hairy Bikers challenged Sean Hope to produce the best local dish. By a narrow margin, Sean won the challenge!
From 2005 and 2015, the Red Lion provided huge support for the annual 10-day Stathern Festival. Over the 11 years of the festival, £127,600 was raised for various organisations in the local community. £80,120 of this was raised from events which the Red Lion hosted or contributed to in a significant way. These events included the annual Village Summer Ball, annual Party in the Park and Stathern 10K Run.
When Ben and Sean decided to concentrate their efforts on the sister pub of the Olive Branch and the conversion of the nearby Beech House, the pub was sold.
Sadly the pub doors were closed in 2017. Owing to its prominence in the community, it was designated as an Asset of Community Value. Originally this covered only the building but was later upgraded to include not only the building but also the car park and grounds.
What is an Asset of Community Value? A building or other land is an Asset of Community Value if its main use has recently been or is presently used to further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and could do so in the future. The Localism Act states that ‘social interests’ include cultural, recreational and sporting interests.
Once listed as an Asset of Community Value with the local authority, the local community will be informed if they are listed for sale within the five-year listing period. The community can then enact the Community Right to Bid, which gives them a moratorium period of six months to determine if they can raise the finance to purchase the asset, although the owner is under no obligation to accept the bid.
In its recent history, the pub has been the subject of two planning applications to convert the main building to a residential house and build 7 terraced houses on the car park and grounds. These applications attracted huge local opposition. Both were withdrawn and the pub has now been offered for sale. This has triggered the Community Right to Bid and the Red Lion Community Group was formed to save the Red Lion.