Villagers have launched a campaign to save their historic pub, which is at risk of closure if a new landlord is not found by the end of the month.

The Fleur de Lys pub in Widdington, near Saffron Walden, has been part of the village since 1729, and is beloved by the community.

Since 2007, the pub has been run by Chris and Ellie Rossetto, who are moving on to a new chapter of their lives - leaving a vacancy for a new landlord to take over.

At one point there were four pubs in Widdington, but for many years the Fleur de Lys has been the last one left standing.

The pub has won numerous awards, including CAMRA's Essex cider pub of the year 2023, and CAMRA North West Essex pub of the year in 2019 and 2020.

Chris Firmin, a Widdington resident who is leading the campaign to save the Fleur de Lys, said: "It's one of the most beautiful pubs in the area. 

"It's right in the heart of the village, and some would say it's the beating heart of the village.

"It's built up a fabulous reputation - Chris and Ellie have managed to retain a very warm, friendly, local village pub atmosphere."

The pub hosts a quiz every Thursday night, and also hosts car shows, music festivals, live music and fetes - as well as providing a venue for weddings and wakes.

"My wife and I moved to Widdington because we came to the Fleur one night and thought 'what a beautiful pub'," Chris said. 

"We thought 'wouldn't it be nice to live in a village with a pub like that?'

"We want to see some like-minded people take it on. It's a profitable business - a lot of pubs that actually close are not profitable.

"It's a great place. Everyone who comes into it instantaneously loves it. It's welcoming for dogs and kids.

"There's two big roaring fires, and it's been modernised but very carefully while retaining the original character."

The pub can accommodate 60 people indoors, and an additional 80 in the beer garden. It is recently refurbished and comes with self-contained three-bedroom tenant accommodation above the pub.


Widdington villagers are eager to find a new landlord or landlady who would like to take on the Fleur de Lys, and gathered outside the pub to emphasise their support.

A statement on the pub's website explained that the Fleur de Lys has recently seen a reduction in staff, with just "Chris, Ellie, Benny and a handful of wonderful part-timers' remaining".

The statement reads: "Sadly, like so many other pubs and restaurants we are losing many of our team.

"Unfortunately, we have not been able to replace them with anyone who is worthy of looking after our wonderful customers.

"Without the consistency of excellence in service Chris and I are not willing to carry on. We either do it well or not at all.

"We expect to still be here manning the pumps until the end of November."