A WELL-KNOWN pub, named after a character from the town’s folklore, has been put on the market.

The Pickled Parson of Sedgefield, has been put up for sale with a guide price of £690,000 for the freehold. 

Owner, Tim Wilks, a property developer and businessman in the hospitality sector, has made the decision to sell the venue to focus on growing his boutique bowling firm, Lane7. 

Mr Wilks said: “The Lane7 bowling alleys have always been our core business and the pubs have been an excellent bolt-on to our hospitality portfolio. As the bowling business grows and we imminently expand in to four new locations, now seems a good time to scale down our involvement in the pub-hotel sector. We disposed of another pub last year, The Fox Hole at Piercebridge when we were going through a similar period of expansion and it helped focus our attention on Lane7. That’s the idea behind the sale of The Pickled Parson – we have an exceptional team in there and the business will continue to run as normal.”

The North-East bowling company has confirmed plans to launch three new sites in the coming months.

Formerly The Crosshill Hotel prior to 2017, The Pickled Parson has been restored and modernised to create a smart, community-focussed venue – thanks to a £750,000 refurbishment. 

In keeping with this focus, the venue’s new name was inspired by the folklore tale of a local clergyman whom after his death, was said to have been preserved in salt by his wife.

According to the tale, the pickled parson resided at the Old Rectory and was wealthy because he collected tithes from the villagers.

Just days before the annual collection was due he died and his shrewd wife decided to pickle his body in salt and keep it hidden.

When villagers arrived to pay their taxes and looked through the rectory windows they could see the clergyman sitting in his usual chair.

The rector’s wife announced his death the following day and legend has it for some years after he haunted the home – with sightings of him ending when the building burned down in 1791.

The ground floor of the venue is divided into two main rooms, a bar and lounge and a restaurant dining area, complete with a bar server and combined seating for about 70 customers. 

Arranged over the first floor are nine luxurious en-suite letting bedrooms, each individually decorated with a contemporary design, with views over the town green and the historic St Edmund’s Church. 

The Northern Echo:

David Cash, director at Christie & Co is handling the sale of the beloved pub.

He said: “The Pickled Parson has gained a fantastic reputation locally since its refurbishment and reopening a couple of years ago. I acted for Greene King, the previous owners when Tim bought the pub in 2017 and the transformation is unbelievable. It is refreshing to see local operators investing in the region. 

“We are seeing an increased demand from purchasers for hospitality businesses, as many buyers look for an alternative lifestyle whilst capitalising on the growing popularity for staycations, or experienced operators look to bolt quality assets on to their existing portfolios.  We have brokered the sales of more than 150 hospitality businesses since April 1 and expect to agree many more deals in the coming months.”