The Horse & Groom has been the public house in East Ashling for more than 200 years. Today, the pub continues to be a place that both locals and visitors come to enjoy great hospitality, food and lodging.
There has been a dwelling on the property since the early 1600s. Records show it was bought by John Page, a wealthy landowner, on 20th December 1624 and soon after converted into a “Smyths shoppe” or “forge”. In 1758 a devastating fire destroyed the building, and the forge was rebuilt by John Wells at his own expense. The plate above the door carries John Wells’ initials and the date the forge was rebuilt. John died in 1778 leaving the blacksmith’s shop to his son, William.
When William died in 1800, the property was sold to Lord George Henry Lennox of West Stoke, the second (surviving) son of the 2nd Duke of Richmond at Goodwood. He bequeathed it in trust to Thomas and Robert Steele in order to provide his daughter, Lady Maria Louisa Lennox, with a trust fund. In May 1812, William and Edward Humphry, brewers of Chichester, converted the premises into a public house.
This was seen as a smart business move. At the time, three very large local houses were under construction: Oakwood, Sennicotts and Northlands. The public house was probably provided for the refreshment of the Irish labourers employed and therefore was an integral part of the ongoing project.