Great Munden, Near Ware, Hertfordshire.
Telephone: 01920 438335 Fax: 01920 438035
The Home Of The Mighty Compton Organ
The Plough was built in 1880 by C.P.Christie and Co, brewers from Baldock. The licensee was Harry Endersby who lived in Lilac Cottages, next door to The Plough. In 1930 Jack Patmore took over, paying £16 a year rent for the premises with 13/4 acres of land. His photograph is in the Public Bar, together with other Great Munden bellringers.
By 1933 the ownership had passed to Taylor Walker and The Plough was selling some 76 barrels of beer a year. By 1934 the annual barrelage had grown to 94 with prices at 1/5d for a pint of bitter and 1/- for a pint of ale. In 1951 licence tax was introduced and the barrelage started to drop, by 1953 it was down to 44 barrels; in 1954, 30 barrels and 22 barrels in 1955. In 1960 Benskins, the then owners, decided to sell the premises as a "non- going" concern expecting it to become a private house.
A Mr Carrington bought it as a retirement cottage for himself and his family. However, the Great Munden villagers had other ideas and presented a petition to keep the pub open . Supportive reports were made in the local press and Mr Carrington agreed to maintain The Plough as a going concern.
In 1965 his son Gerald, a professional organ builder, took over The Plough and, to diversify and enhance the business, installed the Compton Organ which was available from the Gaumont Cinema in Finchley. Gerald Carrington's skills in design and installation - the purpose built lounge is not rectangular nor is the roof evenly pitched - produce acoustics that replicate, as far as possible, the sounds heard in the much larger Gaumont Cinema.
After Gerald Carringtons death in 1982, Tony and Margaret Merridale "bought the organ, and the pub came with it". The popularity of the organ was sustained and in 1995 The Plough changed hands again, the purchasers being Peter and Wendy Godwin and their family, together with Tom and Elaine Whitear, the long standing managers.
Peter and Wendy had been cinema organ enthusiasts in the 1960s when Peter had played regularly at the Granada Cinema in Greenford and occasionally in Harrow. They had visited the Plough on a busy evening in 1968 never dreaming that one day they would be the owners. Sadly, Peter passed away in April 2001, but Wendy, Tom and Elaine continued to run the Pub until October 2001, when it was sold on. An obituary for Peter can be found here.
1997 saw a substantial extension and refurbishment culminating in a Diamond and Pearl Anniversaries concert to celebrate the Compton Organs 60th birthday and the 30th anniversary of its installation at The Plough.
Currently, organ entertainment is on Friday and Saturday evenings, Sunday lunchtime and some Sunday evenings. The Plough also features midweek concerts by Star Organists and is available for coach parties and other functions on request. .
Since The Plough was sold in October 2001, Elaine has remained with the new owners, Mr & Mrs M McCarthy. At this time, however they have decided not to have the website maintained so for any enquiries regarding What's On etc, please contact the Pub.