An ancient inn in Elstree has been saved from the brink of closure after new landlords stepped in and took over.

The 500-year-old Waggon and Horses was given a last minute reprieve after rumours it would be turned into new homes when the previous landlords moved away.

New landlords Geoff Taylor and Jack Hutchings have vowed to keep the pub, which still boasts original fifteenth-century beams, as authentic as possible.

Mr Hutchings said: “I am a lover of all things old and historic, so am really keen to make it look like it did when it was first used as a pub.

“We will be getting rid of the halogen spotlights, growing our own herbs in the herb garden and getting chickens so we can produce our own eggs. 

“It is very exciting.”

The Watling Street pub was first used as a cottage in 1471, but was converted into a town pub in the early 1500s.

It is is popular among local folk for its traditional features, which include oak beams, a solid English oak bar and an open wood fire. 

Ann Goddard was “thrilled” when she found out the pub was going to stay open.

“It would have been such a cultural loss if it ceases to function, so I am delighted it is staying open.

“I was devastated when I heard it was going to shut, because I have fond memories of spending Sunday’s there having lunch with my husband.

“I will continue to be a faithful patron of this historic pub.”

Alan Hollis, who has been drinking in the pub since the late 70s, was “gutted” when he found out it might be closing.

He added: “I am really happy I can now carry on drinking in my local. It is a really great spot, so I was pleased when I found out it had been taken over.

“There is so much history here it would be such a shame if it would have to close. It is the last remaining pub in Elstree too, so there would be nowhere else to go otherwise.”

His friend, Kevin, agreed: “It has an incredible past, so finding out it isn’t going to close after all was great news.

“It’s been a good pub for the last 45 years and I am thankful it has been saved.”