Villagers reacted with shock and disappointment when their only pub suddenly closed without warning last week, leaving a question mark over its future.
The closure followed illness that forced two bosses of the company that owns The Swan Inn in Monks Eleigh to temporarily step aside — and a promise that the pub will reopen.
In recent weeks, the pub has been shutting its doors for two days a week, but it is now closed and some of its advertising signs have been removed.
The move sparked fears for the future of the community’s shop and post office, which are both run from a building in the pub’s car park and operating on a lease that is understood to be soon due for renewal.
A sign posted on the pub’s door last week read: “Sorry, we are closed today. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have taken the decision to temporarily close the Swan’s restaurant and bar.
“Please be assured that this decision has not been taken lightly and is done in the interests of our customers and team.
“We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and we hope to open again very soon.”
It is understood that the pub has recently been on the market and a lease on the premises is up for sale.
The Swan in Monks Eleigh was taken over, refurbished and reopened in November 2014 by new owners, who also run the Anchor pub in Nayland and The Angel in Stoke-by-Nayland.
It has hosted events such as quizzes and card-playing lessons, as well as cookery demonstrations. This Christmas, the village’s first official Christmas tree was located on the pub terrace.
Last week, a spokesman for the pub group said The Swan would be relaunched with a new image and menu and staff were undergoing training in preparation for the reopening.
One villager said on Thursday: “We want the pub to survive. It is part of the village and has been for centuries.
“We have already lost our primary school so, if there is any danger that the pub – and by inference the shop and post office – might shut, it would be a very bad day for Monks Eleigh.”