Free Mason

(Ricky Ross)

The Square and Compass – Worth Maltravers, Dorset

My guv’nor and I returned to ‘The Square and Compass’ after our diversion to the nearby ‘Scott Inn’, we were there on the stroke of six and there was a healthy queue of drinkers and (looking at their attire) walkers.

Sign and View at the Square and Compass, Worth Maltravers @

Sign and View at the Square and Compass

There’s been a pub in this site since 1779, and a look around reveals that it has successfully resisted most, if not all attempts at modernisation – more of that later.

The ‘bar’ is a shelf on an opened stable (split) door, with the gravity fed casks clearly visible behind.

The Bar at the Square and Compass, Worth Maltravers @

The Bar at the Square and Compass

And the beers – from Palmers of Bridport (themselves founded in 1794) – were authentic and tasty.

We settled down with a couple of beers beside the blazing log fire and decided we should try the home made pasties. Clearly not ‘Cornish’ pasties – having been made in Dorset – these were nonetheless meaty, with strips of beef accompanied by sliced potatoes and turnip. The pastry was light and crisp; my only (very minor) criticism, and this is where the modern world is making its presence felt, was the low frequency humming and distinctive ‘pings’ of a microwave oven.

Ah well, at least they were piping hot.

Pasties at the Square and Compass, Worth Maltravers @


I needed to visit the gents before the half hour drive back to Bournemouth, and discovered that the ‘facilities’ necessitated a trip out front and along to a separate set of doors.

And the sky!

The only nearby light was that which illuminated the pub sign – with its strangely unbalanced square. I’m an ‘Essex Boy’ and so cannot remember ever seeing the sky so dark or the stars and planets so bright – it was a crisp, frosty evening.

Yes, it’s off the beaten track, the range of beers is small but good, and the menu is pasties, pasties or pasties, but if you want a taster of what an 18th century village pub might have been like, look no further.

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