A fast-growing pub group has added another North Yorkshire country pub to its portfolio.

Crazy Rabbit Inns has bought the Stapylton Arms in Wass, between Helmsley and Easingwold, and will give the gastro-pub a sympathetic refurbishment and better facilities.

The acquisition was supported with £416,000 funding from Fresh Thinking Capital in a move that secures the future of the historic pub. The Bedale-based Crazy Rabbit Inns now operates three pubs across the county with plans to open a fourth this year.

Collette Sunderland, director of Crazy Rabbit Inns, said: “The Stapylton Arms dates back to 1620 and is a central part of village life in Wass. We are proud to be taking over the stewardship of this historic venue and will invest to enhance its facilities over the coming months.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Pictured: (left to right)  Niall Conlon and Collette Sunderland.

“We have ambitious plans for the group that will see us acquire more sites over the coming years. Our team has a great track record of building the business of country pubs and supporting the communities they serve. Fresh Thinking Capital is a flexible and responsive funding partner that shares our vision for the future.”

The former owner, Rob Thompson, is retiring and chose Crazy Rabbit Inns because of their track record of success in operating country pubs.

Niall Conlon, relationship manager at Leeds-based Fresh Thinking Capital, said: “Collette has a real passion for the industry, and it’s great to be able to support her ambitions. Crazy Rabbit Inns has done a great job of acquiring good country pubs and elevating the offering to grow the business. I’m confident the group will continue to go from strength to strength.”

After the Stapylton family of Myton on Swale bought the entire village, the inn was renamed The Stapylton Arms in 1739. This was the tavern's name until 1896, when Sir George Wombwell of adjacent Newburgh Priory bought the community, creating the Wombwell Arms.

Rob Thompson, who was also the pub’s head chef, acquired it in 2016, giving the pub its present name.

It is a popular venue, with 5-stars on TripAdvisor and 310 of 351 reviews rating it as excellent.

Crazy Rabbit Inns was founded by Yorkshire entrepreneur Collette Sunderland who bought the Green Tree Inn in Patrick Brompton, near Bedale, in 2021 after it had been closed for several years and fallen into disrepair.

The pub has 48 covers and four guest rooms and re-opened earlier this year after a two year renovation programme.