The Old Shepherd has just undergone a revamp. Landlord Billy Chuter and wife Kat who have been running the pub for six years have always been keen to enhance the building’s character.
“It’s our first full refurb” says Billy, “We had done some minor improvements – replaced bench seating with a Chesterfield and added a fireplace, two woodburners and re-erected the dividing wall to create a snug public bar. This time we wanted to freshen and update inside and out but still keeping it true to England and a cosy pub I’d be happy to sit in as a customer. We have used heritage paint colours and a dark damask wallpaper, similar to C18 block printed designs. The window and beams are unchanged but we laid a practical wood-effect floor in the dining area. The exterior rendering hadn’t been touched since the 1900s and the builders uncovered an original 1841 brick in the renovation! We changed the exterior paint from ivory to light grey and have added new signage.”
The Old Shepherd’s whole approach reflects the traditional style with hearty roast dinners cooked from scratch served at a Sunday carvery and barbecue menus with much of the meat home smoked by Billy. Classic board games are a popular bar activity just as they would have been in early days at The Old Shepherd.
In the mid 1700s two cottages in Chorleywood Bottom facing the Common were knocked together and later became a beer house and given the name The Old Shepherd. The earliest record of a licensee (1881) was William Coster whose family got involved in running the pub until the first world war. We can guess that bricks for the building as it stands today were made by Chorleywood brickmakers – A brick recently uncovered is engraved with RD 1841 when one kiln existed on the corner of Shire Lane and another at Hall Farm. After 1891 the pub was connected to Sedgwick’s Brewery of Watford (any woodwork undertaken at the time of this change is likely to have been by done by Samuel Evans (1860 – 1950) who lived in Ellwood Terrace next to the pub and did the carpentry on this row of five cottages between the Cherry Orchard and the Shepherd). Sedgwick’s was sold to Benskin’s in 1923. A photograph of Len Sills, the son of a later landlord shows him standing outside the building displaying the Benskin’s name on the front