A bit of history
Why The Pilgrims? Well the story goes that in the dark ages one of the paths used by pilgrims seeking King Arthur’s Tomb at Glastonbury Abbey passed through Lovington, and that the village was the last bastion of civilisation before these intrepid souls faced the hazards of the marshlands surrounding the raised ground on which Glastonbury stands. No change there then.
Whatever the truth of the matter, (and this bit of road is officially named Pilgrims Way, and we are still officially The Pilgrims Rest Inn) we’ve only revelled in that title for forty or fifty years. Before that it was The New Inn, presumably until it got too old. The “Old” coaching inn is reputed to be the lovely farmhouse with the steps up to the front door, on your left as you leave the village on the way to Castle Cary.
Our property title deeds apparently went up in a fire circa 1980, so documentation is non existent, but the best guess is the building has stood for around three hundred years.
The English countryside is dotted with chocolate-box roses-round-the-door pubs on village greens, where the sun’s always shining and nothing disturbs the birdsong except the occasional thwack of leather on willow. And sometimes they even play cricket. But even when it was just a village pub The Pilgrims was never pretty. Solidly built from local stone as a one room pub with a couple of cottages attached and a cider barn out the back, and variously extended over a couple of centuries, the outside was at best practical rather than grand. Not great for first impressions.
Over the last 15 years we have gradually evolved into a restaurant, although something of the relaxed atmosphere of the pub remains and we keep a real ale on tap, from the brewery in the village. Along with developing the menu we have worked on the interior, retaining many of the features while adding contemporary comforts, and converting the cider barn to rooms in 2007.
Although the outside may not make the promises that old pubs often make - and which so often lead to disappointment - we promise that the opposite of that disappointment is what you’ll find at The Pilgrims.