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Cross Keys, Oswestry

Pub added by elizabeth mcgraw
Selattyn (on B4579)
Postal town: Oswestry
SY10 7DH

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 8 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

John Bonser left this review about Cross Keys

In the small village of Selattyn, a few miles outside Oswestry, close to the Welsh border and Offa’s Dyke, is The Cross Keys, a fine traditional old fashioned community pub, housed in a typical low beamed white washed building. A sandwich board outside tells us that it is a “ 17th century gem of a village pub” which sums it up pretty well, although I gather that it has only been a pub since around 1840. The pub is one of only 3 in Shropshire to be listed in CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors

It’s a multi roomed pub with the main bar towards the rear of the pub, accessed through a corridor at the side of the building and has a quarry tiled floor and copper topped tables. This is a small cosy wood panelled room, with an old fireplace and decorated with old pictures and photos and with black beams featuring an extensive collection of beer mats. The CAMRA National Inventory certificate is proudly displayed, as is the supplement to What’s Brewing when the pub was featured. This bar is evidently where the friendly local villagers gather to put the world to rights.

Of the two rooms at the front of the pub, these can normally be accessed directly from a front entrance, but this door was closed at the time of my visit as the room on the left was currently being sandblasted back to its original walls and will have a new bar installed. The room on the right, accessed therefore via the side corridor, has fixed padded seating, low beams, a piano and framed interesting newspaper articles on the pub and its history. We learn that the pub used to be in Wales in times long gone, but, when the boundary was redrawn, it moved into England. A former Banks pub at one time, it used to have a pub sign denoting “last in” or “first out” depending on which direction you were approaching from.

This is one of those pubs where everybody knows everybody else and everybody else’s business besides and the passing pub anorak / beer enthusiast will inevitably attract mild curiosity, but, as was the case here, will generally receive a genuinely warm welcome. However the inability to contribute meaningfully to subjects such as Doris’s new mobility scooter or Fred’s runner beans, or the new one way system in Oswestry….( eg ), means that chatting to the locals invariably comes to a natural conclusion at some stage. I eventually retreated outside to the sun trap small patio and garden at the rear, where incidentally there is a seriously large apple tree that could probably feed not only the local Selattyn villagers, but also those of many miles around.

At the back is also a surprisingly large car park. Next door is the old 13th century village church, in which, incidentally, on visiting later that afternoon, I nearly got locked in when someone came round to lock up for the evening and couldn’t be bothered to see if anyone was in. Notably, and unusually in my experience,, whilst the village pub remains to this day, I don’t recollect seeing any shops or other village facilities immediately close by, Attached to the pub is a self catering cottage.

I suppose it goes without saying, but the pub is free of electronic distractions with beer and conversation being the staple ingredients. A jar of pickled eggs and crisps provide additional sustenance if required.

Occasional “attractions” are offered, such as weird poetry readings and “Nordic music of rare quality and originality” was advertised for 26 September. A Harvest Supper was planned for 23 September.

Formerly a Banks pub, it’s now a free house which was serving Stonehouse Station Bitter ( £ 2.80p ) and, as a guest, Lancaster Bomber, when I called in one Sunday lunchtime in September. Beer was on good form and the pub has been a CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular in recent years. GBG stickers are proudly displayed in the window by the side entrance

Pubs like this are often referred to as “the throbbing heartbeat of the village”, “centre of the community” etc and, whilst that is probably true in this case, I was sorely tempted to ask what the villagers do on Mondays and Tuesdays when the pub isn’t open at all, but, probably wisely, decided to be diplomatic.. Of the other days, Sunday is the only day when it ordinarily opens at lunchtime and, even then, it closes for several hours in the late afternoon.

The pub is off the beaten track, it’s not on a bus route and I wouldn’t particularly fancy the walk from Oswestry – about 3 miles, but on a B road with no pavement for much of the way. Taking everything into account, it requires a bit of advance planning to do a visit here, but one I think is worth the effort of making.

On 28th September 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alan Hurdle left this review about Cross Keys

This 17th Century building stands next door to the 14th Century origin St. Mary's Church of England. The corridor entrance of the pub leads to a small bar with a tiled floor and open fire, with two further rooms past the bar served through a hatch. Two to three Real Ales are on offer from the nearby Stonehouse Brewery. The pub opens evenings only Wednesday to Saturday, and lunch and evening on Sunday with a short break from 5pm to 7pm.
The pub is just over a mile from the Welsh border and near to Offa's Dyke.

On 20th February 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 686 recommendations about 633 pubs]