In 1617 during the reign of King James I, the 'Manor House' of Holbeton Hallencourte was completed. Little is known about it's early history. In 1745 it is listed in the Lease and release of capital messuage of Puslinch; manor or reputed moanor of Pusnage or Postlinch as: “tenement* in Holbeton Town, Hallen Court, late of Ambrose Rouse, gentleman now of Agnes Alger.”
By 1791 the property had been turned into a Public House known as the Fox and Goose and has continued as a village pub until this day. By 1803 it had been renamed The George and Dragon by it's then owner Richard Millman. The pub name was later shortened to The George Inn.
Historically there is nothing to prove Holbeton or the pub ever had any connection with smuggling in the area but during the 1800's and into the 1900's it may have been a distinct possibility. The house next door was occupied at one stage by a tailor named Michael Evens who was also listed in one document as being the parish constable. In his own journal Michael Evens recorded a smuggling trip on 19th August 1834 to Roscoff with his brother and four others from Cawsand Bay. His journal also tells of how a light would be placed in the window of Pennywort Cottage, just 80 metres from the pub to warn when the customs men were in the village.
During the late 1800's the Pub and property behind the pub (currently The Ivy Barn, The Barn, Linhay Barn and The Shippen Barn) came into the hands of the Evens family. The earliest photo of the pub is dated 1904 when it was run by John Evens. The pub was run not only as a pub but also a shop, coal merchant and was part of the farm behind. The property at the back of the pub continued to be used as a farm by the pub landlord until Albert Sherell retired in 1960. In the mid 1970's the pub gained it's unique name when it was re-named The Mildmay Colours Inn in honour of the late Grand National jockey and horse owner Anthony Mildmay (The second Lord Mildmay) who sadly lost his life while swimming in the sea.
At that time the houses opposite the pub were once accommodation belonging to the Inn and were known as The Holbeton Hilton! The old farm building directly behind the pub later became The Mildmay Brewery. Sadly this has long since gone however, some of the beer lives on as the recipe for 'Colours' was obtained by Skinners Brewery and is now produced as Cornish Trawler. In the late 1990's when the brewery closed the bed and breakfast accommodation moved to behind the pub and eventually was split from the pub to become a separate business (currently The Ivy Barn Bed and Breakfast). Sadly in 2019, just after the buildings 400th birthday the pub closed its doors and was left empty. A small group of villagers formed a company to buy the freehold and set about trying to ensure the long term future for both building and business. Extensive much needed refurbishment work has taken place and to bring the story almost full circle as the builders lifted what was left of the old flooring laid in 1617 ready to lay a new floor they found a clay pipe, presumably dropped by a labourer just before the flag stone was laid on top. The pipe now sits in a frame in the pub as a constant reminder of the pub's history.
Holbeton and the surrounding area has frequently featured in films and The Mildmay Colours came to the big screen in 1978 when it was featured in the film International Velvet with Tatum O'Neal.
Information from the late Graham Treeby and Denise Bailey (The Holbeton Archive)