A MUCH-LOVED 17th Century hotel and pub in Abingdon has been bought by a chain for £1.6m.

The Crown and Thistle in Bridge Street has been sold to Oakman Inns, and will temporarily close in January for a £1.4m overhaul. It is expected to reopen early next summer. The hotel which overlooks the river Thames also houses the Stocks bar.

CEO of Oakman Inns, Peter Borg-Neal said: “With respect to our buildings, The Crown and Thistle is a tremendous addition to our collection.

“It has taken us nearly a year to bring this deal to fruition and I am delighted to finally get it over the line. We are also in advanced discussion regarding a couple more sites and hope to be able to make further announcements shortly.”

Oakman Inns and Restaurants Ltd, based in Tring in Herefordshire, owns another five establishments.

The refurbishment will see a redecoration of the hotel’s restaurant, 19 bedrooms and two bars. Oakman is planning to retain all the current staff, and will remain open for business as usual until the new year.