MYSTERY surrounds the closure of a historic town centre pub after it closed its doors.

The Phoenix, in The Hundred, has been licensed for the past 180 years, and has had a number of management changes in the past few years – despite a huge overhaul of the inside four years ago.

Now, just six months after taking the reigns, the managers of the pub have left – leaving its immediate future in doubt weeks before the town’s Beggars Fair.

Owners Star Pubs and Bars confirmed that the managers had left, and it was expected to be closed for “a number of weeks”. They also said that they wanted to work on the outside of the pub, which is the largest in the market town, but did not say why the management had suddenly shut the doors.

A spokesperson for Star Pubs and Bars said: “We can confirm that we have temporarily closed The Phoenix as the temporary managers have left the pub.

“We have a number of applicants interested in taking on the pub and anticipate it will reopen under new management within the next couple of weeks.”

Former manager Hannah Bradbury had said that everything was ‘food first’ and that they wanted to push forward with the pub’s potential.

Residents have expressed their concern for the future of the pub on social media, and questioned why the pub has now closed, having cited a lack of options and fewer customers inside in the days before the watering hole shut.

The owners added: “In the meantime, we would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused. Longer term, we plan to invest in improving the exterior of this popular pub.”