Powys: a new border bar named after the TV comedian
A MANSION on the Powys border that was a star favorite is to open a bar as a tribute to a renowned TV comic.
Penrhos Court, near Kington, will open Python’s Arms, a bar which they say promises atmosphere, charm, friendliness and eccentricity.
It’s a nod to a genuine affection for Monty Python’s late Terry Jones, who once ran a brewery in the outbuildings.
Customers are already familiar with the Cattle Shed, a cafe attached to the site of Python’s high-profile, world-record microbrewery.
The plan to open the bar has the full blessing of Terry Jones’ son Bill, who has a soft spot for Penrhos Court, which was also frequented by other members of the Flying Circus crew.
The beautiful house dates from 1280. To put that into perspective, this was a time when Edward Longshanks, scourge of Scots, was on the throne.
The Grade II listed building is now home to Mark Bentham, his partner Laura Lane and their 14-year-old son, Dillan, not to mention their gigantic Turkish Kangal street dogs Leo and Mouse, and an elderly cat, Weasel.
In the six years since the family arrived in Penrhos, Covid-19 has intervened, but now they are ready to pursue their various exciting projects.
First and foremost, a row of seven detached cottages converted from the farm’s old threshing barn, luxuriously appointed and each with views of the hill and woods down to Kington.
Much work has gone into shaping and preparing the half-timbered cottages, and one can boast that Sir Paul McCartney once slept here, although his bedroom is now a large sitting room.
Freddie Mercury was also a sole resident, and it is reputed that the members of Queen spent time at Penrhos Court rehearsing Bohemian Rhapsody before it was recorded at Rockfield Studios.
The place was a beacon for musicians such as Tubular Bells composer Mike Oldfield, a familiar visitor who nonetheless refused to be part of a beer game as described by Michael Palin in his diaries, The Python Years.
The ensemble – a quadrangle of farm buildings and houses overlooking a large pond populated by rushes – exudes calm.
It has attracted the big names in music, show business and politics, providing an oasis of calm after their glitzy appearances at the Hay Festival.
Former US President Bill Clinton stayed there, as did Led Zeppelin.
Mark and Laura were delighted when singer Robert Plant arrived at the Cattle Shed one day to reminisce about the good old days.
The couple are thrilled that the next Python’s Arms will feature Terry Jones’ original bar, and they have stacks of photos of him promoting Penrhos beer.
In particular, there’s one at the opening of Camra’s 1977 Great British Beer Festival at Alexandra Palace in his Penrhos Ales jumper – flipping a pint over his head.
He was heard saying, “You could tell it was real ale by the way it flowed down your shoulders and dripped into your boots.”