History of the Tally Ho

There has been a pub on the site where the Tally Ho stands today since the 1750’s. Since then it has, of course, been through a huge number of changes. It was once thatched but burnt down, however it rose again from the ashes. Until fairly recently its position in a purely agricultural area meant its clientele was almost totally farm and estate workers. From the beginning its position on a main road meant it had a passing trade – then on horseback, now in cars.


The Oxford Arms in 1912. Courtesy www.HungerfordVirtualMuseum.co.uk

Wally, one of our oldest regulars, used the pub first in 1945 on VE Day aged 15. It was then The Oxford Arms. He had his 21st birthday there – with 21 “bumps” in the car park and has used it ever since. Throughout the post war period, when not doing National Service, he was there with the Americans and Canadians posted to this area. Wally hopes very much to be able to have another drink in the Tally Ho soon.

In later years while the pub, now the Tally Ho, was still divided into public and lounge bar, Saturday night was locals night and the pub was completely full until well after closing time. It had a thriving darts team with regular home and away games. The Vine and Craven Hunt met in the car park for the pre hunt drinks and the beagle packs used to wait in various cars while their owners had several pre-run drinks! The younger local played football or cricket in the fields opposite whilst waiting for the pub to open on a Sunday.

Within the last 30 years, the Tally started serving food – at first just toasted sandwiches, then moving onto full scale meals. New Year was always celebrated with Auld Lang Syne in the car park. Christmas morning it was packed – as it was after the carol service in the church opposite. Local Flower and Produce shows were planned there, as were the annual Guy Fawkes fireworks – and it was always back to the Tally Ho afterwards! It was used to celebrate marriages, births and engagements and always for birthday parties. And if there were problems, accidents or deaths, help was provided in the pub.

More recently for the Tsunami Fund a dinner and auction were held, raising in excess of £10,000. There were Saturday afternoon sessions whilst watching sports on the TV, there were quizzes and games nights and for the Royal Wedding, a long breakfast. The Tally Ho also sponsored a team that took part in the Crafty Craft team every May and usually won!

250 years of companionable drinking, talking and eating – whilst meeting and welcoming new villagers and putting the world and Hungerford Newtown to rights.

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