The fruitful history of the Unicorn Inn
Henry Smith was granted the Unicorn’s original licence in 1839 and since this time the Unicorn has seen many publicans come and go. Each of these publicans has contributed their individual touch to make this free house pub and restaurant in Heyshott, Midhurst, what it is today.
The Unicorn’s longest serving licensee so far was James Richardson who served the bar with his wife for no less than 37 years.
Despite now being known for its good food, there was no menu to speak of at the Unicorn until the 1950s. The Chadwick’s took over in 1957 and Mrs Chadwick introduced bar snacks to be enjoyed on Sunday lunchtimes and the renowned ‘Mrs Chad’s Pie’, which was a favourite amongst locals. Like Jenni Halpin, Mrs Chadwick was from Down Under but back then the order of the day would have been frothy ales.
It did not become a free house until the 1960s when the partition between the public and private bar was removed and the area became known as simply, the village bar.
New management under the Horton’s from 1979 saw the advent of indoor lavatories, a larger kitchen and an increase in storage space. However, it was at this time that the Unicorn waved goodbye with fond memories to beer served directly from the oak barrels in which they were brewed.
The 1990s saw a new wave of ownership when a young woman, Maria Simpson, purchased the Unicorn with her tidy inheritance. During this time, the Unicorn underwent many refurbishments, the car park was resurfaced and the building’s exterior was spruced up with a stunning display of hanging baskets.
But this delightful pub, located in a quaint little village at the heart of West Sussex, retains its quintessential English charm, making it a favourite amongst locals and holidaymakers alike.
The sign that hangs outside the Unicorn to this day was designed by Lisa Roberts and the pub still holds many of its original features, inside and out.
Come and visit us today so that you can experience our excellent beers and wines, delicious food and idealistic surroundings for yourself; become a part of the Unicorn Inn’s history.
Source – Heyshott: A Village History compiled by Ronnie Palmer