Tag Archives: Bull at Burford

The Bull at Burford

Celebrating centuries of history at the Bull

We recently came across over some historical research about the Bull, which dates the building back to 1397. Believe it or not, from being used as a buther’s shop, it also suggests that the building welcomed some notable guests later on in the 17th century, including Lord Nelson and even King Charles II.

As an inn, the Bull has been receiving guests since 1610 – that’s 409 years – and there’s also a reason why we have the only red brick facade in Burford.

A history of the Bull at Burford

1397 – A Papal Bull authorised the construction of a guest house on the site

1473 – Records from this year show that there was a building on this site called “The Bull” belonging to Burford merchant John Pinnock, who left it first to his son John, who owned the Angel next door on Witney Street.

1489 – John’s daughter signed the property over to the trustees of the Parish Church

1539 – Trustees leased the Bull to butcher Richard Dalby (and later to his son, also Richard)

1588 – The property was bought from the Crown by William Typper and Robert Dawe, but in 1595 it was reacquired for the town

1610 – Having been used during the reformation as a butcher’s shop, in 1610 John Silvester moved the existing Bull Inn from 111–113 High Street to 105 High Street and set about renovating certain parts of the building, including fireplaces and panelling.

1630 – The Bull appears to have been used by Royalist troops for a time during the Civil War. The innkeeper at this time was John Cooke

1670 – Famous visitors included Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton (the Trafalgar Suite is named in memory of their stay) as well as King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwynne. In fact, Charles Beauclerk, the son of King Charles II and Nell Gwynne was created ‘Earl of Burford’ and later Duke of St. Albans.

1690 – The Bull is the only red brick building on Burford High Street and the facade was added at roughly this time, either by innkeeper William Tash or his son, John who died in 1747.

1750 – Burford was by this time a very busy stop on the route from London to Cheltenham and Wales, and the Bull prospered from this trade. The Market Room (now rooms 8 and 9) was in demand for meetings, sales, Auctions, plays and balls.

1768 – The princely sum of £196 was spent on further building work.

1784 – The Bull continued to attract the rich and famous but other tastes were also catered for, with cock-fighting at the Bull.

1793 – Now owned by John Stevens, former butler at Cliveden, the Bull hosted a ball after the annual Venison Feast.

1797 – The Bull suffered a serious fire, killing seven coach horses.

1802 – Stevens hosted a lunchtime visit by Lord Nelson and Emma Hamilton when on their way to Milford Haven. The party obtained new horses at the Bull.

1820 – Stevens died and the bull was run by his widow and son, James into the 1830s.

1873 – The Market Room ceased to be used for town business, the market ended as the town went through a period of decline.

1936 – By now owned by Clinch & Co. of Witney, Burford and the Bull saw a period of revival as it could cater for motorists and cyclists. The Bull was offered at this time as “a real old hostelry which has not been restored, yet abounds with possibilities for opening up old fireplaces, beamed ceilings and walls.”

1982 – The building suffered a fire but remained open as an inn

2007 – Condemned for fire and safety acquired by the current owners, who completed major renovation work

2019 – Ten years after being re-opened by the current owners, the Bull is a thriving inn with a friendly welcome, comfortable rooms, wonderful food and happy guests.

It’s worth remembering, though, that no building with over 600 years of history doesn’t have the odd squeaky floor!

Bull at Burford hotel Cotswolds

Bull gift voucher: the perfect Christmas present?

I know the countdown to 25 December seems to get longer every year, but I think it’s OK to start talking about Christmas on the 1 November and I wanted to let you know about some great new offers at the Bull this year!

Gift vouchers

We recently launched gift vouchers on our website. These can be bought online HERE and basically mean that you can give someone a gift of staying or eating at the Bull, with the flexibility of redeeming whenever they want. They’re already proving really popular so take a look.

Christmas & New Year at the Bull!

We also recently launched our Bull at Burford Christmas and New Year’s Eve packages. These include a wonderful 3-night stay on 24th, 25th and 26th December from just £202.50 per person including a bottle of champagne on arrival and a New Year’s Eve 2-night stay from just £114 per person with extra nights available.

Both of these are really popular so get in there quick, and if you want to come to the Bull but already have plans over the festive period, we have lots of other deals available.

Christmas Day lunch & office parties

If you’re fed up with all the cooking and washing up and would prefer to go out this year, come to us for Christmas lunch, or if you’re a local business looking for a Christmas party our 4-course Christmas Party menu is perfect and great value at just £24.00 per person, leaving you more than enough spare to get taxis to and from Burford!

As ever, we can be flexible and cater for all kinds of needs so if you have any questions please give our friendly staff a ring on 01993 822220! We look forward to seeing you at the Bull.

We look forward to welcoming you at the Bull.

cotswold midweek breaks

Midweek mini-breaks in the Cotswolds

By Jean-Marie Lauzier

The weather doesn’t quite know what it’s doing but I love this time of year. For those with young children it is a case of getting back into the school routine, but for those like me (whose kids are grown up) there’s often time and freedom to go and explore a bit, and Burford in the Cotswolds is the perfect place for this.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with three special offers for people who want to make a break for it during the week to relax and stay in a lovely room from Sunday to Friday, and get back home in time for the weekend, maybe to take care of the grandchildren! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure these will appeal to a far broader audience than just grandparents, but I’m looking at them from my perspective!

2-night Burford mini-break

This is a refreshing two night midweek stay with breakfast and a 3-course a-la-carte dinner both nights, and a bottle of champagne on arrival, all from just £169 per person! Book here >>

3-Night Cotswold Escape

For those wanting something a little longer, this offers an incredible 3-night midweek stay, with the usual breakfast and a 3 course a-la-carte dinner (value £35 pp) on two of the three nights, knowing that sometimes people like to venture out somewhere else too on one night. There’s also a bottle of champagne on arrival and all this from just 199 per person sharing, with a superior upgrade available for a little more.  Book here >>

The perfect dog-walker’s Sunday

Lots of people ask if we accept dogs and the answer is yes, as long as they’re friendly and well-behaved! This Sunday Special package offers Dinner, Bed & Breakfast for just £74.50 per person sharing, and dogs go free (usually a small charge applies).  Book here >>

Royal Air Tattoo 2019!

If you’re an Air Tattoo enthusiast you’ll already be planning for July 2019. With the event held in nearby Fairford, we have a 3-night minimum stay package including dinner, bed & breakfast on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights of the Air Tattoo. Ring the hotel if you want to book a Friday-Saturday-Sunday stay.

fawlty towers

Remembering Fawlty Towers and a terrine to die for

This time of year always reminds me of Fawlty Towers and the Wooburn Grange in Buckinghamshire. Not many people know that the outside of the hotel used in the famous sitcom was not in Torquay but the Wooburn Grange, and at the time I was manager there!

This little quirk of history recently produced a funny moment for my oldest son while working at a sporting event. Standing by the side of a pitch, he was chatting with the television floor manager Tony about his first jobs in TV. Tony was about my age and explained that one of his first jobs in the 1970s had been on Fawlty Towers for the BBC.

He and a few of his colleagues turned up at the venue, the Grange, on the wrong day and were greeted by a young Frenchman who offered them a drink and explained it was no problem still to take a look around. After telling this story, Tony was amazed when my son replied: “Tony, that Frenchman was my dad!”

It was early on in my career, having only recently arrived from France, and I still remember back very fondly to those times, especially in the spring and summer months. Fortunately, none of the Fawlty Towers chaos rubbed off, BUT guests who stay with us and eat in the restaurant will sometimes talk with our head chef Pablo and get to sample his English accent, which is a little reminiscent of Manuel, Andrew Sachs’ immortalised waiter from Fawlty Towers!

Pablo’s Recipe & Top Tip

For this Bulletin, Pablo has offered up one of his favourite recipes, his salmon and crayfish terrine currently on our menu, and don’t miss the top tip: these ingredients will make a terrine to serve 12. Once you’ve put the ingredients together and made the terrine, the magic tip is to leave it in the fridge for at least eight hours before serving and eating. Happy cooking.

• 300g crayfish, sliced
• 200g fresh spinach
• 15g unsalted butter
• freshly ground black pepper
• 200g salmon fillet, cooked and flaked
• 200g prawns, cooked and chopped
• zest of 1 lemon
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 3 pinches cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
• salt to taste
• 4 level teaspoons powdered gelatine or use 4 or 5 sheets of gelatine
• 250ml double cream

Amazing Summer Deals

Remember to check out our amazing deals on mid-week stays and Sunday Lunch-Sleep-Breakfast, plus unbeatable prices for B&B and Dinner B&B.

Bull at Burford crumble

A perfect Cotswold Mother’s Day treat

I have just been reliably informed by our manager Kali that we still have a few tables spare for Mother’s Day, which can only mean that not enough people have heard about our special menu!

Head Chef Pablo has just changed the dinner menu for springtime, and at the same time he came up with a lovely Mothering Sunday menu, either two or three courses. You can take it from me that any of these choices will leave you – and more importantly your mother, daughter, wife, grand-mother etc – extremely happy with whatever you eat.

And for an extra-special experience, why not treat that special person to a night away too?

For this, you can either ring us up on 01993 822220 and ask about availability for the Saturday and/or Sunday night (I’m sure our reception staff will also do you a good package including the Sunday lunch), OR you can look at the Sunday Stroller that we already have in our current special offers.

If it were me, I would start with the fantastic fish platter, which I wrote about in my last Bulletin, and then I’d either go for the salmon or the pork. Or maybe the chicken, or the beef. Or the risotto! And I am not really a pudding person so would go for the cheese board, but all the desserts are made in the kitchen and absolutely delicious.

Make sure you ring soon or you’ll miss the last few tables..

Book a winter warmer at the Bull at Burford

Four incredible Winter Warmer offers

It’s been a little while since my last Bull-Bulletin but this is exciting because I bring news!

We have four amazing offers on at the hotel at the moment to warm the cockles through the winter, until the end of March.

2-Night Midweek Winter Warmer – From Sunday to Thursday have two nights in a standard room Bed and Breakfast with a £50 allowance towards one evening meal in our restaurant and a complimentary drink on arrival. All of that for only £199.00 for two people, or upgrade to a superior room for £249.00 for the two of you. I’m interested! >>

3-Night Luxury Midweek stay – If you want a touch of luxury in a Superior room and two full days to explore the surrounding Cotswolds, then this package is for you: three nights’ Bed and Breakfast between Sunday and Thursday with two evening meals in the restaurant allowing you to enjoy even more from our menu (£50 meal allowance). With a bottle of champagne in your room on arrival, this amazing three night, two dinner offer is just £399.00 for 2 people, when you book direct with us through the website. I’m interested >>

Weekend Wonderland – If you want a weekend break that takes care of everything, leaving you to simply relax, then book our Weekend Wonderland: Friday and Saturday night in a Superior room with a delicious dinner both nights (£30.00 per person per day food allowance) and our award-winning breakfast in the morning. £349.00 for two people, or £299.00 if you’re happy with one of our slightly smaller standard rooms. I’m interested >>

Sunday Stroll – I love this offer, it’s the kind of thing I wish I had done more in my life! Picture this: You arrive with us in time to check in to your superior room and join us for a delicious Sunday lunch, followed by a lazy afternoon relaxing in our lounge or bar, or exploring Burford. When you’ve built up enough of an appetite you have £10 per person towards a light evening meal. In the morning there’s one final culinary delight with our award-winning breakfast. All for £159.00 for two people, or £149 if you prefer a smaller standard room. I’m interested >>

All of these offers are only available if you book direct with us through our website and not surprisingly they’re already proving popular so get in there quick!

Our head chef Pablo has also just published new lunch and dinner menus, so you can rest assured that all of the meals are seasonal and utterly delicious.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Bull!

Fresh fish at at Bull at Burford

The most perfect fish dish

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback to the last couple of Bull Bulletins where Pablo gave his tips for how to cook a poached egg and how to make a hollandaise sauce, so I thought I’d share one of my favourite recipes from growing up in the south of France.

When I was a young boy in the early 60s my mother (pictured) used to work on the fish market in the middle of Montpellier. It was hugely popular and people came from far and wide to buy their fresh fish.

It’s difficult to believe now, but in those days monkfish was cheap and hardly anybody wanted to cook it. On Saturdays I would often walk all the way to the market to wait for my mother, who’d been there since 05:30, and walk home with her for lunch. I vividly remember her boss often telling her to take some monkfish home for Sunday lunch. Money was tight, so funnily enough we had Monkfish most Sundays!

My mother had developed her own version of ‘Bourride de Lotte’, which did not involve expensive ingredients and was very easy to cook. Obviously these days buying monkfish tails is a bit more expensive, but you’ll never eat a more delicious fish dish so I wanted to share the recipe.

The perfect monkfish recipe

To cook this for four people you’ll need monkfish tails for four people, ideally with the bone in (buy a couple of medium sized pieces of fish per person). And for the all-important sauce you’ll need 6 large tomatoes, 1 large onion, 4 leeks, 4 cloves of garlic, some parsley and a bouquet garni (you can buy these ready-made in the supermarket).

1. Steam the 6 large tomatoes, peel them and cut them up to remove all the grains, then chop them up into small pieces.

2. Finely chop the large onion, the whites of four leeks and four cloves of garlic, and some parsley, equivalent to two full table spoons.

3. Prepare a fresh 2-eggs mayonnaise (do not use shop-bought mayonnaise!) Let me know via a facebook comment if you need help with this and we’ll do it next time!

4. In a large casserole, put a glug of olive oil add first the chopped onions, the leeks and garlic, then the tomatoes and finally the parsley and the bouquet garni.

5. Season all that with salt and pepper and cook on a light heat for 20 minutes, tasting to make sure the seasoning’s right.

6. When this garnish is cooked, add in the fish pieces and cook for a further 20 minutes, again on a low heat, making sure the fish is covered by the sauce. (The monkfish will release quite a bit of water, that’s normal and good!)

7. When cooked, remove the fish, put into a serving dish and keep warm.

8. A little at the time, add your homemade mayonnaise to the sauce and stir in. When the sauce is ready pour over the fish and serve.

Take it from me that this is delicious served quite simply with boiled potatoes – that’s all we had back in those days – and if you want add some large croutons. (For the croutons: take slices of a baguette and cook lightly in olive oil. Not the healthiest addition but delightful with this dish.)

Bon appetit!