The Viper public house


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Mill Green Road, Mill Green, Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 0PT


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Statutory Address:
Mill Green Road, Mill Green, Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 0PT

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Brentwood (District Authority)
Ingatestone and Fryerning
National Grid Reference:


A small rural public house, developed from a pair of cottages in the late C19 and further enlarged in the C20, retaining interior features characteristic of a type of small, simply detailed evolved public house, once numerous, but now increasingly rare.

Reasons for Designation

The Viper public house at Mill Green, Ingatestone in Essex, a significant and well-preserved example of the modest C19 evolved rural public house, is listed at Grade II the following principal reasons:

Historic interest: * Rarity: as an increasingly rare example of the development of a significant building type in which the core elements of the transformation from private house to public house may be clearly identified.

Architectural interest: * Intactness: for the survival of key external and internal characteristics which reflect both the original form of the building as a pair of cottages, and its subsequent development as a public house, in terms of plan form, fixtures and fittings.


The Viper Public House at Mill Green in Ingatestone, Essex is thought to be of mid-C19 date, and originally appears to have been a pair of cottages, as depicted on the Ordnance Survey Map 6" (1881 edn). On the later map editions of 1896 and 1915, the buildings are identified as the Viper public house, the map locations reading 'Viper (BH)'. This change of use presumably involved alterations to the interior at ground floor level, and subsequently, the addition of single-storey lean-to extensions to both ends of the building. At some stage in the early C20, the public house became part of the estate of the Trumans Brewery, which by 1873 had become the world's largest brewer. Between 1917 and 1990, The Viper was managed by two families - that of George Hall between 1917 and 1937 and then by the Beard family up until 1990. Trumans Brewery closed in 1989, and the building became privately owned. Recent research carried out by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to establish the number of public houses with significant interiors has led to the inclusion of the Viper public house in CAMRA's National Inventory of Public House Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest. The Viper remains in use as a public house.


A late C19 public house, developed from a pair of cottages and subsequently altered and enlarged in the C20, retaining internal features representative of a type of simple evolved public house interior which has become increasingly rare.

Materials: the building has a rendered exterior with a roughcast finish, extending from a low brick plinth. It has a slate roof covering and tall brick gable chimneys at each end of the central part of the building formed from the original pair of cottages.

Plan: the building is linear in form, aligned roughly north-east to south-west with the pair of former cottages at its centre, and with lean-to extensions at either end. There have been incremental additions to the rear of the building.

Exterior: the building is made up of a two-storey, three-bay central range with single-storied lean-to additions at each end. There are paired doorways to the central range, each with a C20 half-glazed door. To the side of each doorway are single eight-over-eight pane sash windows, with matching window openings and frames directly above. Between the upper floor windows is a large rectangular sign bearing the name of the public house - 'THE VIPER' -with an oval panel bearing a representation of the snake it is named after immediately below. The lean-to additions at either end have monopitch roofs which extend to just below the eaves level of the central range. The right-hand extension has a three-light glazing bar casement window whilst that to the left has a half glazed C20 door and a two-light glazing bar casement window. There have been several C20 additions to the rear of the building to provide additional service areas, and an extension to the south-west end to provide toilet facilities. These structures are excluded from the listing.

Interior: the plainly-detailed late C19 and C20 interior comprises three main bar areas - a Tap Room to the left-hand side, entered via one of the pair of doorways to the building frontage beyond which is a Public Bar and, to the right, a Lounge Bar with bar counter and back bar. The left-hand room retains a small servery hatch and door, and a full-height short partition acting as a baffle screen to the doorway. There are plain wooden benches attached to the screen and to the adjacent front wall, and plain horizontal dado boarding. There is a plain C20 brick fireplace to the gable wall to the side of the access doorway into the Public Bar within the lean-to extension beyond. This has a small bar counter with plain vertically boarded front, and the bar area has horizontal boarding to the lower section of the walling. The Lounge Bar, entered via the second doorway to the front elevation, contains the main bar counter which has a C20 square-panelled front and which extends into the lean-to extension to the bar area at the right-hand end of the building. The Lounge Bar has a fireplace with a wide hearth opening set below a shallow brick arch in the original cottage gable wall. The servery areas in the various bars are linked by a service passage at the rear of the public rooms.


Books and journals
Brandwood, G, Davison, A , Slaughter, M, Licensed To Sell: The History and Heritage of the Public House, (2011)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building but not coloured blue on the map, are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act. However, any works to these structures which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require Listed Building Consent (LBC) and this is a matter for the Local Planning Authority (LPA) to determine.

End of official listing

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