The George Inn, Portland
The George Inn is an 18th-century public house on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, England. It is situated within the village of Easton, at the west end of the hamlet of Reforne. The pub is located close to St George's Church and St George's Centre. The George Inn has been a Grade II Listed Building since May 1993.
The building was built for the parish clerk William Butts, a year after the completion of St. George's Church in 1766. However other sources reveal that the building was initially three houses and various sources repute these to have been built between 1610 and 1700. Above the inn's main door a stone inscribing is dated 1765, and it is believed that this date was inscribed on the building by Butts when it was extended upwards to give lofty ceiling heights. As a result it was known for a time as "Clerk's House". The mullioned window and entrance doorway with cambered lintel of the building suggested to the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments that the building has 17th-century origins. It went though alterations during the 19th century.
The George Inn is one of the oldest pubs on Portland and is reported as being the oldest inhabited building on the island. The inn was the previous residence to the Court Leet of the Royal Manor of Portland, and much of this history is in evidence around the building, including an original reeve staff which was used to record rent payments. The building has also been reputed to have been a smugglers' haunt, with tunnels to the cliff and St George's Church, although this has now been filled in. In June 1903, plans for the Portland Bill Lighthouse were discussed by Trinity House and a local committee at the inn. The pub was mentioned in Thomas Hardy's novel Isle of the Slingers. On 23 November 2009, the pub saw new owners, who have aimed to re-establish the inn as the hub of the local community.
In the Summer of 2011, the pub won the regional award of being the West Country Community Pub of the Year 2011 in the Publicans Morning Advertiser Awards. Following this, the owners were in contention for the National Community Pub Award.
The pub is built with large squared stone and rubble, with slate roofs. The building has a series of linked units. The left side is a one-storey store, with a corrugated asbestos roof and rubble walls, which contains a pair of plank garage doors. This is stepped up a further store in large squared stone with a slate roof. A plank door is located left, and a two-light casement on the right. The building's two-storey loft section holds the former Court Leet meeting room in coursed rubble with flush quoins and lintols. In the room there are large twelve-pane sashes above a single twelve-pane, and to the right a pair of 20th century glazed doors under a rectilinear transom light. The back of this part has a small and a larger twelve-pane sash above a four-panel door.
The main building is constructed with large dressed squared stone blocks, and has two low storeys with attic, a projecting near-central porch and deep back wing; holding 3 windows to the left, a small two-light casement with glazing bars, as well as a pair of large mid-19th-century sashes above a small two-light casement, a three-light chamfered stone-mullioned small-pane casement and a twenty-pane wide sash in a flush plat band. On the left is another plank door, and the centre holds the gabled stone porch with side lights, which covers a ledged and framed 18th-century door on early strap hinges. Above the door, the inscribed stone reads "B W*G" and "1765" in a patterned border. On the left of the centre part, there is a stone ridge stack with blocking course above capping, and to right a late 19th-century brick stack. In the back area, features include deep gabled wing which holds small single stairs, and a brick stack, as well as the 17th-century mullioned window.
The George Inn's unusual lay-out offers four different areas in use for the public and a beer garden. The four areas are The Quarr Barr, which is the inn's main bar area, The Reeve Bar, which was cleared of a pool table in order to bring the original fireplace back into full working order in recent years. The Shilling Bar was the original bar of the inn, and features inscribed tables (built in situ by local quarrymen) dating back to the early 1940s, whilst The Cricket Room is mainly a dining room but is also a home from home for the Portland Red Triangle Cricket Club.
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