“PART of our heritage has gone”. That was how Laura Anfield, landlady of The Hen and Chicken at Froyle, described the fire which broke out in the stables behind the pub in the early hours of last Friday.

The alarm was raised at 5am when smoke was seen coming from the stables and fire crews from Alton, Rushmoor and Basingstoke arrived within minutes at the while police closed the sliproad running from the A31 in front of the pub.

The fire was under control by 7.16am, but not before the whole of the stable roof was destroyed.

“Fortunately, no-one was hurt and the fire service were brilliant,” said Laura, who runs the pub with husband Kevin. “It is a long time since horses were kept in the stables and nothing of value was lost as only odd bits and pieces were stored there.

“However, our pub was built in 1746 and it was a major stopping place for the stagecoaches coming up from the South as they used to call in to change their horses here before going on their way to London, so sadly part of our heritage has gone. But we didn’t have to close the pub and it’s business as usual.”