A village pub near Wantage has closed after landlords struggled to meet rising costs.

The Black Horse in East Hanney is the only remaining pub in the village, and now drinkers will have to visit The Plough in West Hanney instead or drive to Grove or Wantage.

Regulars visited the pub in Main Street on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to say farewell to the pub managers Simon Hamlet, Ciaran Hamlet, Laura Watson-Harrison, Maz Miah and the pub's team of staff at the weekend.

Ciaran Hamlet, who also works for a local authority, said: "The villagers gave us a really good send-off.

"Costs have risen and utility bills have been the main factor.

"We renovated the pub at our own personal cost and we are very proud of it.

"We do not want it to be closed and it is now up to the pubs owners Star Pubs to find new tenants."

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The pub posted on Facebook: "We want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you. It has been a Journey with many highs and lows, but we have been overwhelmed with the love and support you have shown us!

"Thank you for the messages, cards and flowers. We are full for Sunday roasts today, but please come and join us for a drink! Come and drink us dry and say goodbye!"

In March the landlords announced they were leaving to concentrate on their full-time jobs.

They posted at the time: "It has been an incredible experience that we do not regret, but as most know we all have full time jobs alongside running the pub so we are exhausted.

Herald Series: A member of the staff team at The Black Horse"This coupled with ever-increasing costs it’s just getting tougher… so although, a very hard decision, it is the right one for us.

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"We would like to thank all of our customers for supporting and welcoming us into your community, and many of you have become great friends who we will miss terribly. It’s been a privilege and we are so very proud of The Black Horse and all we have achieved."

Dawn Roach posted on Facebook: "Each one of you made our family welcome, treated us as your own, fed and watered us at all hours.

Herald Series: Inside The Black Horse"Thank you for giving East Hanney the best roast dinners."

Simon Moore, landlord of The Kings Arms in Wantage, who is acting chairman of the Vale of White Horse branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), said: "It's very disappointing to hear of a pub shutting - no one wants to hear that.

"It's a tough economic climate for drinkers and for publicans at the moment but it is a case of use it or lose it at the moment - it's a difficult trade to be in.

Herald Series: Inside The Black Horse"If pubs survived Covid then they had to face the fact that people's drinking habits had changed.

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"Village pubs usually have a food offering but that means they have massive overheads because catering is not cheap.

"Cooking oil and tomatoes have doubled in price but you can't double the price of dishes on the menu."

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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