Bull Inn, Sonning

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Evening view of the Bull Inn.
The Bull Inn when owned by George Gale & Co Ltd.

The Bull Inn, also known as The Bull at Sonning or just The Bull, is an historic public house — now also a restaurant and hotel — in the centre of the village of Sonning in Berkshire, England.[1]


Traditionally, the Bull was owned by the Bishop of Salisbury, whose palace once stood nearby. Today it is owned by St Andrew's Church who currently rent it to Fullers [2] The present 16th century timber-framed building,[3] it is suggested, was a hospitium for pilgrims visiting the relics of the mysterious St Sarik at the adjoining St Andrew's Church. The name stems from bulls which supported the coat of arms of Sir Henry Neville. He was steward at the palace after it was sold to Queen Elizabeth I.

The inn was featured in Jerome K. Jerome's book Three Men in a Boat:[4]

If you stop at Sonning, put up at the "Bull," behind the church. It is a veritable picture of an old country inn, with green, square courtyard in front, where, on seats beneath the trees, the old men group of an evening to drink their ale and gossip over village politics; with low, quaint rooms and latticed windows, and awkward stairs and winding passages.

The two storey timber-framed building dates from the late 16th century with 19th/20th century additions.[5] It was Grade II* listed in 1967. Opposite is a well-hidden Lutyens-designed house, Deanery Garden.

Customers have included the American film star George Clooney and his British wife, the human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who purchased the Mill House in Sonning Eye, just over the River Thames from Sonning, in 2014.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paddy Burt, The Bull, High Street, Sonning-on-Thames, Berkshire. The Daily Telegraph 21 September 2002.
  2. ^ The Bull Inn, Fullers Hotels, UK.
  3. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). The Buildings of England: Berkshire. Penguin Books. p. 221. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
  4. ^ Jerome, Jerome K. (1889). Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog). J. W. Arrowsmith. ISBN 0-7653-4161-1.
  5. ^ Historic England (10 April 2007). "The Bull Inn, Church approach, Sonning, Wokingham, Berkshire (41165)". Images of England. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  6. ^ Sawer, Patrick (10 October 2014). "Welcome to Sonning, Mr & Mrs Clooney". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  7. ^ Sawer, Patrick (9 October 2014). "George Clooney snaps up £10 million manor house in Sonning, Berkshire". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 October 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°28′25″N 0°54′43″W / 51.47367°N 0.91196°W / 51.47367; -0.91196