The Compasses Inn, Lower Chicksgrove – the dream British country pub
The Compasses Inn is a traditional, 14th century pub steeped in history and nestled in rural Wiltshire. The pub was bought last year by Ben Maschler, who has lived nearby for 6 years and has set about honing the look, food, bedrooms and service of The Compasses Inn in such a way as to realise everyone’s dream of a perfect country pub. With a daily changing menu, thoughtful wine list, a great selection of local ales and beautifully decorated bedrooms above the pub, The Compasses Inn offers something rarely found in the UK.
In the 14th century, a stream ran through the Inn in Lower Chicksgrove where herders would water their animals whilst they and the locals refreshed themselves with ale. It is still possible to imagine such a scene at The Compasses Inn, where time has only mellowed the flagstone floor, ancient wooden beams, pew seating and brick-lined fireplace. The bedrooms above the pub have recently been renovated by Ben’s wife, Jane Maschler. Simple, stylish and comfortable, with a distinct flavour of Jane’s Danish ancestry, the bedrooms work in harmonious juxtaposition to the ancient pub.
The kitchen is the province of chef Paddy Davy, whose cooking draws inspiration from classic British cooking. Paddy was previously head chef at The Cricketers Pub in Dorset for almost five years. Prior to this worked in some of the UK’s top establishments including; The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge where an English chef first caught a Michelin star, as well as having two years’ experience with the legendary Alastair Little, the acknowledged founder of modern British cooking.
Based on the best of local produce, the menu offers dishes such as ‘Duck livers on toast with bacon jam’, ‘Ox-tail and cheek pie, mashed potato, greens and horseradish’, ‘Roasted Dover sole, beurre noisette, brown shrimps, lemon and capers’ alongside pub stalwarts such as a really good burger and ‘Fish & Chips’. Befitting a Great British pub, puddings are a highlight and include ‘Gingerbread pudding with caramelised apples, brandy sauce and clotted cream’, and ‘Soft pistachio meringue with blood oranges and rhubarb.’ Breads, jams, marmalades, chutneys and ice-creams are all made in house. Over-night guests will start their day with the perfect English breakfast.
Nick Gibson, Ben’s partner from The Draper’s Arms has helped to construct the mainly European focussed, and fairly priced wine list. There are always at least three local ales available and the bar staff make a mean Bloody Mary.
Tisbury station, which is five minutes from the pub, is a direct hour and forty-minute train from Waterloo, adding to The Compasses Inn’s appeal as the perfect weekend getaway for Londoners. The pub’s location is also perfect for anyone wanting to step off the A303 en route to Devon and Cornwall.
Guests of The Compasses will find plenty to do, including a host of beautiful walks from the pub’s front door. Nearby Tisbury is a wonderfully traditional town to explore with a deli stocked with local cheeses and charcuterie, The Beckford Bottle wine shop and a chic interiors store called The Long Room. Also, in the area is Messums Gallery, an impressive art gallery located in a 13th century tithe barn, the largest thatched building in the UK. For those who want to stray a little further, Stonehenge is a thirty-minute drive away. As is the Ancestral home of the Marquess of Bath, Longleat home also one of the UK’s original Safari Parks. Guests can also take a trip to Stourhead, one of the most visited National Trust properties in the UK, to see its world-famous landscape garden and magnificent lake.
About Ben Maschler
The son of renowned restaurant critic Fay Maschler, Ben is no stranger to the world of food and drink. He worked as Director of Food at the Soho House Group where he stayed for five years up until 2007, when he took a similar position for the Geronimo Inn’s group of pubs. In 2010, Maschler opened The Drapers Arms in Islington with business partner, Nick Gibson. During his time in London, Ben helped organised the event Auction Against Hunger for charity Action Against Hunger while working as a pubs and restaurants consultant. In 2012, Ben moved out of London to Wiltshire and six years later bought The Compasses Inn.
Accommodation at The Compasses Inn
The rooms comprise three doubles and a larger ‘family’ room, all with en-suite bathrooms, comfortable beds with Egyptian cotton linen and Wallace & Sewell blankets, Wi-Fi, full length mirrors and large flat screen televisions.
Rooms at The Compasses Inn start from £95 per night. To book, please visit www.thecompassesinn.com or call 01722 714318.
Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 15:00 | 18:00 – 23:00
Saturday: 11:00 – 23:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 23:00
For further information on The Compasses Inn please contact;