FOR some time, The Cridford Inn has been recognised as the oldest pub in Devon and possibly the oldest in England.

The building, in the village of Trusham, dates back to 825 AD and is known to have been remodelled in the 1300s.

Much of the building’s history has been traced back and there is a comprehensive summary of the owners and use of the building since that time on the Inn’s website.

But there is one mystery on which neither the records nor vernacular architects have been able to shed light, possibly until now.

In 1988 workers were stripping back a layer of concrete in what is now the Inn’s restaurant and under the concrete they found a cobbled floor with a mosaic set in the middle.

The mosaic is made of dolerite and Cornish quartz and in black and white the initials H1 are set with the date 1081.

As this would have been a novel feature for what was, at the time, a yeoman farmer’s dwelling there has been speculation over the years that it could have related to the Harris family who drew rents from the village or their residence, Haldon House. Owners of the Inn since 1988 have been pretty sure that this would be one secret The Cridford Inn was likely to keep.

Then last Autumn a guest staying at the Inn became fascinated by the mosaic and set about doing more research.

‘It was really fascinating,’ said Paul Moir, the Inn’s owner, ‘every morning during his stay we would receive an update on what had been uncovered and I was intrigued by what was being found.

‘Our guest’s research resulted in the theory that the floor mural commemorates a visit by Henry 1 in 1081 and when the building was reconstructed between 1300 and 1400 it was retained in the floor as a permanent tribute to the visit.

‘In 1081 Henry would still have been crown prince but by the time the memorial was contracted Henry 1 and Henry 2 had been crowned so he would be referred to as Henry 1.’

The mosaic is now on display beneath a glass cover in the floor of the Inn’s restaurant for customers to see.

So, does this latest research solve the mystery? Paul and everyone involved would like to think so.

More details on the long and fascinating history of the building that is now The Cridford Inn can be found at