- Address: Worth Matravers, Swanage, Dorset,
- BH19 3LF
- Type: Acoustic
- Capacity: TBA
- Nearest Station: TBA
- Website: http://www.squareandcompasspub.co.uk
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The lovely The Square and Compass began life as a pair of cottages commanding a little bluff known as Lychard (meaning Bank), which overlooked the village and a marvelous view of the Channel. It's one of Dorset hidden music gems and well worth checking out if you are in the area. If you visit please also check out the Fossil museum and sample their home made cider.
Around 1776, it became an alehouse, owned by Wareham brewer cum clay merchant, under the sign of The Sloop. There were connections with smuggling, including skirmishes with excisemen at St Aldhelms Head. A new tenant landlord, a stone mason called Charles Bower, seems to have changed the name around 1830. He ran the place for more than 40 years, to be followed by his widow, then a series of tenants until 1907, when the Newmans took over. In the interwar years the pub became a fashionable watering hole for a creative set, the artist, Augustus John, cartoonist Low, pianist Harriet Cohen, actors Leslie Banks and Gwen Francon-Davis amongst many signatories of the Visitors' Book. During the war the clientele changed to include physicists and astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell and Nobel laureates Sir Alan Hodgkin and Sir Martin Ryle, all developing radar nearby. The Square evaded the heavy hand of modernisation during the 1960s. Its oldest clients, some in their nineties, remember reaching up to the same serving hatch with change for ginger beer in sticky hands.
Worth Matravers is beautifully situated on the limestone uploads of Purbeck, at the head of a valley running down between lynchet-striated slopes to the popular bathing ledges of Winspit. Once thriving on the local stone, farming and fishing industries, it has retired into a weekend refuge. It boasts an attractive church, one of the oldest in Dorset, once mother-church for Swanage. An ancient track, Priests Way, connects it to the resort as do rare buses. Folk relaxing on the wall or grassy slope in front of the pub look out over the village and the coastal setting beyond.