Where it all began…
Many think of The Jubilee Inn with its pale green roof, bay fronted walls and its textured rough-rendered yellowing façade with a smile, a sense of nostalgia…and then regret. Tucked away on the B3227 between the borders of East and West Anstey, The Jubilee sat for many years, a silent observer of rural life, enjoying stunning south facing views over the valleys towards Exmoor National Park, offering a warm fire, a cold pint and home cooked food to passing travellers.
The Jubilee tended to its regulars, who sat on rickety wooden benches on the circular fronted lawn pondering life after a hard day’s farming…and of course, enjoying a slow pint or few with trusted family and friends in this small local community.
Built to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935, at a time when the B3227 was one of the busiest transport routes down to Cornwall, the pub started life as ‘The Royal Jubilee Inn’ before ‘Royal’ was dropped in favour of the simplicity by which it’s known today, the Jubilee Inn… a true British roadhouse.
By the early 1940s as the great English spirit of unity in the face of World War II was prevalent, The Jubilee was used as a meeting point for the Home Guard. A rare picture below shows many of the brave men, rifles in hand, who patrolled the locality to protect their way of life, smiling into the south facing sun, no doubt waiting for the picture to immortalise them so they might pop into the pub for a swift half before duty resumed. Do you recognise anyone squinting into the sun? If so, there will be a warm welcome waiting for you here at The Jubilee in return for your information and any other pictures or Jubilee Inn memorabilia from times gone by!
In the 1960s the inn was frequented by gap-toothed comedy legend Terry Thomas when his sister-in-law, with her second husband Frank Tuck following the death of Terry’s brother, became licensee of The Jubilee. Mrs Tuck had two daughters and a son. Cheeky character that he was, Terry was known to have spent many a day at The Jubilee, visiting his nieces and nephew, playing the part of the naughty but lovable uncle, attending family celebrations and taking every opportunity to nip behind the bar and help himself to the fare on offer as shown in the picture to the right.
Stories of Terry crashing out tunes on the bar piano and rallying the locals in a song or two are still remembered by those old enough to have met him. Perhaps this was Terry reliving his youth when he fronted a jazz band, before making his name in the film industry? He certainly is remembered for putting on a good show!
In the 1970s, The Jubilee was taken on by the Garners, who ran it through one of the worst winters recorded…just after they purchased it! On a summer day in 2013, while Claire was recovering from a liver transplant (courtesy of her donor brother), and staring out the window of The Jubilee across to the Wild Boar Farm and generally feeling quite frustrated at being sofa bound, a tidy looking mobile home pulled into the drive. Out came a sprightly elderly couple who introduced themselves as the Garners, having taken over the license from Mrs Tuck some 40 years ago.
They told Claire with a few fond stories of their time here, how they had replaced the original bar to put in the bar. Claire said: “I was told that on one very hard winter they were snowed in with two coachloads of children who had been passing and had to stop for shelter as the coaches could no longer navigate the road. They told of bodies sleeping on sofas, chairs, floors and how for two weeks no one could leave the inn. The children were not even able to go outside because the snow drifts were so high they couldn’t be seen. With food at a shortage, helicopters flew over and dropped food parcels to feed all the children, only being able to identify The Jubilee because of the famous green roof tiles. I have four children of my own and I can only imagine how being snowed in with 30 plus children for two weeks might have made you feel!”
When the Garners left the Jubilee in the late 1970s, it continued to run successfully until 1988 when the new North Devon link road (A361) was opened. It was in the late 1980s that Claire first visited The Jubilee as a horse-mad London kid, travelling down to ride on Exmoor, staying at the West Anstey Farm with the lovely Bassett family, hacking out in all weathers and living the dream of escaping from the city…even at that age!
Claire said: “At that time, it was customary for my school friends and I to ride out from West Anstey Farm for the whole day stopping at various pubs on Exmoor for lunch, tethering up the horses and ponies outside while we ate scampi and chips from baskets lined with greaseproof paper! The Jubilee was one of those pubs.
“Recently I found an old picture of me on horseback outside The Jubilee for the Easter Witness Ride, the wooden cross being held up by Gwenda Bassett before we all hacked off to the church if I recall correctly. I must have been about 11-years-old. I couldn’t help looking at my younger self and wishing for a minute that I could step back to a time when the challenges of my adulthood years hadn’t yet befallen my path. To see that goofy toothed kid in the picture grinning like she was having the best fun of her life in that moment, never having a clue that one day she would play poker around the world, become a solicitor, live a London highlife, go through a horrendous divorce, face an aggressive and deadly cancer during a pregnancy (which in many ways saved her life), have her brother save her life by donating part of his liver for a transplant and only then, finally getting her wish of living in the wilds of Exmoor, raising four children on her own, in the very pub that was then, painted white, and gleaming in the background of the picture. Phew! They say ignorance is bliss. Thankfully I was an ignorant kid.”
“In October 2012, in the midst of cancer treatments and following the sadness of a divorce, I left London and found myself at the Jubilee Inn, without an income of any substance and feeling rather lost…and I promptly got even more ill, facing a terminal diagnosis. Cancer is scary and HCC (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) is not a great one to get, particularly in your liver. But I found that if I educated myself on how to improve my chances of survival, then the fear left and it was easier to see what needed to be changed in my life to give me that fighting chance, for the sake of both my children and I.
“I read a book called ‘The Anti-Cancer Diet’ A New Way of Life by Dr David Servan Schreiber. It addressed the issues of how lifestyle can negatively affect your immune system and prevent it battling those mutant cancer cells and keeping you healthy, how two/three of cancers were avoidable and how getting eight hours sleep and not being a ‘Stressie Bessie’ (as my kids would say) can improve your longevity despite the cancer.
“It all seemed to come down to chemicals and chemical reactions. Unnecessary chemicals in our food and chemical reactions our body caused by food choices and outside influences of lifestyle such as sleep deprivation and stress. What was there to loose in following the basic principles of eating healthy, fresh foods full of goodness instead of high sugar processed foods, or getting proper sleep? Absolutely nothing. So, I changed my diet and tried to change my approach to life. It has not been easy and every day is a challenge.
I’m on my 11th cycle of 12 chemotherapy treatments but I have positivity and strength that inspires me to go on and not give up, as do my amazing children. I wanted to share a bit of my new found inspiration so when saved from certain death by my amazing brother’s donation, a thought developed.
“I needed a focus to move on from the fears of the preceding years (as did all the family – cancer affects everyone). Somehow, I also had to make a living as I no longer practiced law, not really having either the faith in the system or the mind for it after the experiences I had faced. My family suggested the idea of revamping the Jubilee Inn and creating a unique venue for the local community to return to, while offering not only superb locally sourced food, but stepping up the standard and exploring cooking techniques which help retain the nutrients in the food and therefore, benefit your body more than other types of cooking may.
“I visited the Penny Brohn Cancer Care centre in Pill, Bristol, which is a wellness centre for cancer patients and their supporting friends and partners. Their approach was life-changing for me and reinforced my resolve to survive. I would recommend any of their courses if anyone has a cancer diagnosis or is caring for someone with cancer.
“I also became involved in a film called The C Word Movie by Megan O’Hara (Morgan Freeman being the Executive producer). It focuses on the cancer journeys of myself and other individuals as to how we have changed our lives for the better since our diagnosis. It also touches on some of the wider issues with why there is so little education about prevention of cancers when prevention is always going to be better than having to cure something. I have met people who inspire me to do better and aim for the moon.
“It’s no secret in my family that I loved food and to cook before my diagnosis and since then, I have struggled to keep weight on and eat at all some days. But, with the food The Jubilee will now be producing, I find it so exciting that I actually want to eat and can’t wait to loiter in the kitchen to see what’s being created.”
With family support the last couple of years have seen The Jubilee refurbished and extended to facilitate an entirely new enterprise and we opened our doors for the first time in three years. Many people didn’t believe that the doors of The Jubilee would ever open again but they were wrong.
The Jubilee now offers a substantial private residence, periodically open to the public, with a large Dining Room and Bar, and an extensive south facing terrace.
Cooking with seasonal and fresh produce, utilising techniques which offer an outstanding taste experience and maximize the health benefits of the foods for those who are just a little bit tired of same old dishes, time after time, the dining experience we aim to offer at The Jubilee is nothing short of outstanding.
We offer an extensive and high quality wine list and take pride in offering a wide variety of specialist brewery produce, along with the reintroduction of meads and cider pairings with food if you feel like something a little different to the usual tipple.
We look forward to meeting you.
Please telephone for opening periods and dining times/reservations.