The history of the Pear Tree at Purton
The oldest part of the building is the fireplace in the library - this has been dated at 1430 - when King Henry VI was on the throne of England, around the time of Joan of Arc. The building was originally Purton vicarage - the odd thing was that it was not on its present site until 1912.
Prior to that, it was situated in the churchyard next to the unique twin towered church of St Mary's about 400 yards away from its present position.
It was moved, so the story goes, because the church had run out of grave space and the graves had gradually encroached on the house until they were right outside the front door. So, in 1911 each of the stones were meticulously marked and numbered and carried by horse and cart to their new site - chosen because in its new position the front door step would be exactly the same height above sea level as the top of St Paul's Cathedral in London.
In July 1987 the Diocese of Bristol sold the house to Francis and Anne Young. The Youngs brought many years of experience in the hotel industry to their first venture on their own. Francis, after taking an HND in catering and Hotel administration, worked at the Grosvenor Hotel in Chester where he met Anne who was Head Housekeeper. Anne went on to the Savoy in London and then became Head housekeeper at King Hussein of Jordan's Royal Palace in Amman. Francis also went to Jordan to His Majesty's summer Palace as manager. From there Francis went to The Sandy Lane in Barbados. He then joined Marriott Corporation and opened both the Boston and London Marriott as Food and Beverage Director.
The house was not in the best of condition as squatters had been living in it while it had been vacant. After some planning and historical difficulties -(the Diocese insisted that no alcohol be served at the building and all profits should go to the Church of England!) the Youngs eventually got planning permission in October 1987 to turn the building into a restaurant and four letting bedrooms.
While Francis was still working at his job as Operations Director for a group of Hotels based in Slough, Anne, with the help of their then partner/chef Janet Pichel Juan supervised the conversion of the building including new electrics, plumbing, heating, the construction of the conservatory, drives etc. to open after seven and a half weeks as The Pear Tree at Purton. The name of the village - Purton comes from the Anglo Saxon word meaning a "pear tree enclosure".
The restaurant opened on December 11th 1987 with the four rooms opening over the following few months.
In 1990/91 the hotel was extended to 17 rooms with a conference room able to accommodate boardroom style meetings for up 30 delegates and Weddings for up to 50.
With the purchase of the Vicarage came two fields of Glebe land. In the nearest field Anne has created a garden which comprises a raised border, herbaceous border, wild flower bank and lily pond. In the far field she has created a wild flower meadow, wetlands, buddleia walk and a copse of native oaks. The far field also contains the 600 vine vineyard and beehives.