New pub company Heartstone Inns has bought the first of a planned 30 freehold pubs in the South of England with the acquisition of the Butcher's Arms in the Gloucestershire village of Sheepscombe, near Painswick.
Heartstone has been set up by Stuart Hawthorn and James Birch, former directors of Oxfordshire brewer and drinks importer Refresh UK, with backing from Balmuir Fund Managers.
The Butchers' Arms is a 17th century Cotswold freehouse and restaurant that is believed to occupy the site where deer were butchered in Henry VIII's former royal hunting ground in the Sheepscombe Valley.
The Grade II-listed Cotswold stone building, which dates back to 1670, comprises a lounge bar with exposed beams and an open fireplace, a 30-seat restaurant with an open log fire, three-bedroom owners' accommodation, and three attic rooms that are ripe for conversion.
The freehouse, which attracts trade from as far as London and the South East, was one of a group of four historic Cotswold pubs put on the market by Blenheim Inns.
The Bristol office of Christie + Co sold the freehold of a guide price of £795,000.
By Angela Frewin