A COUPLE who met four years ago while working as bar staff at the Black Horse Hotel in Grassington, are now running the ancient hostelry.

Josh Hardisty and Tobi Baker, who have a nine-month-old son, Grayson, and are planning to marry next year, say they are thrilled to be in charge.

"We met here four years ago when we were both working as staff and got together. Later, I did some travelling and worked in Camp America in New York State helping disabled children and then later worked as a nanny in Holland," said Tobi.

When she came back to the UK, the couple moved to Pontefract for a short while before returning to Grassington and, for the past 18 months, Josh has been the hotel manager.

But, now, the Yorkshire couple have taken over as Mine Hosts.

"We love it here. The people are friendly and everybody knows each other," said Tobi, who has been busy putting down roots in the wider community, introducing baby Grayson to his contemporaries at the local baby groups.

The couple have certainly chosen a place steeped in history.

Situated just off the cobbled village square, the hotel dates back to 1650 and was an old coaching inn.

One of its former landlords, known as Fresh Air Stubbs, was painted by artist Reginald Brundit in 1938 and the portrait is now on show at The Tate Gallery.

An explanation with the painting says he gained his nickname Fresh Air after giving a pert reply to the question “To what do you owe your rosy cheeks?” Brundit chose him as a model because "apart from his rich pictorial quality, he was such an essentially English type".

The hotel was extended in 1990 and now boasts 15 en-suite bedrooms, including two bunk bedrooms for walkers and cyclists.

There is also a large reception and bar, with an adjacent dining room as well as a walled outdoor patio seating space.

Locals and visitors are able to enjoy regular in-house entertainment. There is a monthly "Gentle Jazz" evening on a Monday while a ukulele band, made up of local players, gives regular performances on a Tuesday. Wednesday evenings are taken up with a quiz night.

The Black Horse is among the stable of pubs and hotels owned by Hawthorn Leisure.

The company, based in Wiltshire, was set up in 2013 and has 350 pubs throughout the UK.