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Our Story

Karlene and Peter at the Plough Inn
Fixing the west gable of the Plough Inn
A Dorset sunset in Marston

Meet your Landlords

Husband and wife team Peter and Karlene bought The Plough in 2018 and have spent the last two years totally refurbishing and renovating the pub. Oh, and dealing with a certain global pandemic along the way. Peter, originally from Devon, met and married Karlene in the Caribbean where he had worked in hospitality for over 30 years.

“It was finally time to return home and both Karlene and I love the hospitality business and wanted to continue to be involved in it. My family was from Devon and I was born in Salisbury, so the South West was a natural place to look for an old country pub to restore and run.”

After much searching they found the Plough at Manston and quickly realised that the location, the community and the building itself offered exactly what they were looking for. Arriving in December 2019, they lived in the locally made Plankbridge Shepherd’s Hut in the pub car park during the renovation and expansion of the Plough.

Peter takes up the story: “We had hoped to complete the work and open the Pub before the end of 2020 but the project was delayed by the Covid lockdown and the discovery of the inevitable problems which will be familiar to all who have worked on three hundred and fifty year old buildings. Surprises included correcting a dramatically leaning West Gable, installing a sewage treatment plant, and filling an old well we found when digging the foundations for the additional dining area, the new kitchen and the bathrooms.”

The pub finally re-opened on 18th May 2021 and even after 16 months living together in a Shepard’s Hut, Peter and Karlene are still talking! They are very much ready to invite their guests to their pub and get to know the local community that has been so welcoming and supportive during the last few years.

“Of all our achievements we are probably most proud of the Snug and the bar,’ explains Peter “We are very happy to have been able to make subtle, practical improvements to this area yet still retain the original features and character which will be so familiar to all those who made the Plough their local. Karlene did a fantastic job achieving this. I am sure we will be learning about the Plough’s history for a long time and hope to obtain copies of old pictures from people’s photograph albums. It would be fun to assemble the pictures and stories into a booklet.”

As for the Shepherd’s Hut? Well, this will become guest accommodation and, along with the renovated old barn will be part of the pub’s overnight accommodation.

Both Peter and Karlene have high hopes for the future: “We want the Plough to become a favourite destination for classic car drivers, and at certain times will be offering discounts and other special offers to those who arrive in one. The definition of what is a car and what is classic being at the Landlord’s absolute and sole discretion of course!”

The Plough Inn

This 350 year old stone-built country inn has a single large bar with oak beams and unique plaster decorations to the ceiling and bar front, thought to be harvest fertility symbols. It was originally a farmhouse but it was re-fronted in the 19th century and has been enlarged over the years. Outside here is a large garden and covered patio area.

The pub has recently refurbished by current landlords, Peter and Karlene, including a completely new kitchen, beer cellar and new washrooms. The old conservatory is now an insulated garden room and there is a new dining area which can accommodate a further twenty guests.

Manston

Manston is a small village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southern England, lying next to the River Stour in the Blackmore Vale, two miles north east of Sturminster Newton. In 1086 in the Domesday Book, Manston was recorded as Manestone which may have derived from a family of the same name that resided in the area. Manston was originally a small self-sufficient agricultural community contained in one big field next to a river where villagers farmed, fished and milled corn to make flour.

Today the village is still the centre of rural life but its inhabitants are more likely to commute into the local towns of Sturminster Newton, Shaftesbury of Blandford Forum for work. The village may have lost many of its amenities but The Plough is still thriving and is a very popular place to eat and drink.