It seems that the history of the Nag’s Head can be traced back to 1807 and perhaps even earlier to 1784 when there is a record of a John James running a pub in Pontseli. The pub will have been quite small then with a bar to one side of the front door and a parlour on the other side. In those days Public Houses often had a number of uses and we know that the pub was a local smithy for quite some years. Surprisingly the Nag’s Head was also used as a courthouse for over fifty years from 1850 to 1908. It must have been rough justice handed out after a few pints in those days!
The biblical quotation “Be wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove” which is on the pub’s sign dates back to the time when Josiah Evans was at the helm from 1871 to 1917. He was also a well known smithy in the area. It’s documented that he invented an award winning iron plough (the Pontsely no 7), designed for ploughing steep land. It was used extensively in America and Australia and an example is now in the Welsh Folk Museum collection.
We know that David Morris ran the pub until 1955 when he was in his mid 90’s. It was David who cornered and killed the now famous giant rat whilst digging up some potatoes one evening in 1950. It was actually a coypu, a large semi-aquatic rodent which is native to South America. It did have pride of place in the pub but sadly it seems to have gone missing! Let us know if you see any signs of it during your visit!
When Alan Jones bought the Nag’s Head in August 1993 he also bought the neighbouring shop and workshop to incorporate a restaurant and micro brewery, although the first record of beer brewing at the Nag’s Head was in 1918. The ale brewed in the microbrewery was named “Old Emrys” after the oldest resident in Abercych.
The licensee of the Nag’s Head from 1996 until 2016 was Samantha Jamieson and under Sam’s stewardship, the Nag’s Head was improved to include a children’s play area, beer garden and letting bedrooms.
Steve and Tracy Miller purchased the Nag’s Head in July 2016 and made a number of significant improvements to both the building, the restaurant and the food served at the pub.
Dewi and Jacqui Davies purchased the Nag’s Head and became the current owners in December 2018. They have plans in time to bring back the “Old Emrys” ale which was so popular with the locals and to increase the number of B&B rooms to meet the ever-increasing demand for good “restaurants with rooms”. They also want to continue to represent the pub’s history as well as that of the local community as much as possible with memorabilia recognising the traditions such as the coracle fishing, farming, and ironmongery. The big “historical” news is that the famous “Rat Of Abercych” has returned to the Nags Head for 2019, and can be seen in all its glory in the backroom bar.
Click on this video link which highlights the beauty of the local area and the lovely village of Abercych, telling the story of the return of the rat named “Rhodri Fawr”! Our thanks go out to local businessmen Gareth Jones, Meredith George and the team at Tinopolis for their support in producing this hilarious video on behalf of Heno @ S4C.