The Cricketers pub in Steep has closed for refurbishment following its purchase by Petersfield publican Simon Hawkins.

Mr Hawkins ran The Old Drum in Chapel Street until around five years ago, and completed on the purchase on Tuesday.

He said the pub would be closed “for a few weeks to update the kitchen and decorate the bar and rooms”.

He hopes to reopen in late March or early April, “serving great, locally-sourced seasonal food and wonderful drinks including a great selection of wines from local vineyards and breweries”.

The Cricketers Inn in Steep dates back to 1859. It was named after the cricket matches that were organised on the Ashford Lodge estate by the Hawker family, who owned much of the land on the north side of what is now known as Church Road.

Henry Ifould, a young entrepreneur who was born in Steep in 1825, built the pub at the crossroads in 1859 with the encouragement of the Hawker family.

Ifould applied for a license to operate the pub and offered good accommodation, stabling for six horses, and a chaise house.

He was granted the license in September 1859. The pub was listed as The Cricketers, The Cricketer’s Inn, The Cricketers’ Inn, and The Cricketers’ Arms in various historical records.

Mr Ifould died in 1869, and his young widow Esther may have attempted to continue running the pub on her own. But Alfred Pocock took over as licensee in early 1871.

He was followed by Edwin John Longhurst, who was described as a publican and grocer. George Wakeford obtained the license in June 1896 and kept it until the early 1900s.

The pub served the needs of visitors to the Hawker estate and cricket players before the establishment of Steep Cricket Club in 1893.