Fledgling pub group Old English Taverns has bought the two-AA-rosette Knife & Cleaver restaurant with rooms in the Bedfordshire village of Houghton Conquest.
The 17th-century destination dining venue is opposite the medieval parish church in the village, which is just off the A6 two miles from the market town of Ampthill, six miles from Bedford and 15 miles from Milton Keynes.
The detached property retains a number of period details, including an inglenook fireplace, beamed ceilings and Jacobean oak panelling from nearby Houghton House (the House Beautiful in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress).
The 70-seat restaurant with a 40-seat bar and 12-seat snug is recommended in the current editions of the Michelin Red Guide, the Good Pub Guide and the Which? Guide to Country Pubs.
Three of the nine letting bedrooms are housed within a converted Victorian stable block.
It is the third site for Old English Taverns, which acquired the Pullman Inn in the Nottinghamshire Wolds last year followed by the Buckingham Arms in Maids Morton, Buckingham. Directors Steve Frangos and Mike Holton aim to buy five more pubs over the next 12 months.
The Milton Keynes office of Christie + Co sold the freehold off a guide price of £1.2m on behalf of David and Pauline Loom, whose family has owned the property for nearly 20 years.
By Angela Frewin