Tributes to much-loved Arkell’s The Golden Cross Inn landlord

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known and much-loved Cirencester pub landlord. 

Mark Lindesay died aged 56 on October 16 after a battle with a long illness.

He had been in charge of the Golden Cross Inn since August 2009. 

Mark helped transform Black Jack Street pub and picked many accolades, including Best Cotswold Menu at the Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards in 2013.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Mark Lindesay of The Golden CrossMark Lindesay of The Golden Cross (Image: Newsquest)

Friends say Mark was extremely community minded, setting up the Black Jack Street Party in 2013, after fighting to get the street pedestrianised. 

He also assisted friend and neighbour Simon Gordon-Walker, who died in 2018, in getting a certain type of street lamp for Black Jack Street as well as others in the town.  

In 2016 he won the Standard’s Pub of the Year for Cirencester which was voted on by readers. 

He came to Cirencester via Vietnam and Cambodia, where he lived and worked as a financial journalist before returning to the UK, as his mother and father had decided to retire there. 

Arkell’s Brewery boss George Arkell said: “We are hugely sad to hear about Mark’s passing. He has been a fantastic landlord for us. 

“He really put The Golden Cross on the foodie and beer map and our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Mark liked his fun as well and was instrumental in establishing the Cotswold Yorkshire Pudding Competition which started in 2017. 

He went on to win the award twice with a recipe he would not even share with his chefs. 

He was also an advocate of live music, being a drummer himself and would often replace the percussionist when the pub hosted live music.

Cotswold district councillor Mark Harris used the Golden Cross for various committee meetings and was also a friend of the well-loved pub landlord.  

He said: “Mark, at no cost other than using the bar, provided a space for community groups to meet: the Bathurst Friendship, Abbey 900, parents groups and sports committees to name a few. 

“As a lapsed drummer, he was generous to entertainers, providing a stage, a few quid and sustenance in exchange for a performance.

“He will be missed by the community, entertainers and those who value honesty in public life, and of course all the regulars at the Golden Cross.” 

Leader of Cotswold District Council Joe Harris said: “I’m very sorry to hear that the landlord of the Golden Cross and Lib Dem party member Mark Lindesay has passed away.

“Mark had been the landlord of the Golden Cross since 2010 and will be sorely missed by his staff and punters alike, he turned the pub around. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Mark Lindesay (right) pictured with former Lib Dem party leader Vince Cable in 2019Mark Lindesay (right) pictured with former Lib Dem party leader Vince Cable in 2019 (Image: Newsquest)

“I’ve many fond and funny memories of Mark. 

“He had his political awakening in 2016 following the Brexit referendum and became a witty commentator on twitter. 

“My thoughts are with his mother Kathleen and of course his beloved labrador Franklin.” 

The eighteenth-century coaching inn saw some of its best years under Mark and with the help of some of the region’s top chefs, including the late Justin Ashley, won many awards for its service and food. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Chef Justin Ashley and Landlord Mark Lindesay outside The Golden CrossChef Justin Ashley and Landlord Mark Lindesay outside The Golden Cross (Image: Newsquest)

The Earl and Countess Bathurst also got to know Mark through his charitable endeavours as well as enjoying Sunday lunches in The Golden Cross Inn as it is a stone’s throw from their home. 

The Earl Bathurst said. “l was sorry to hear of Mark’s death, he will be much missed by many for pulling the Golden Cross up to being so much more than a back street pub, serving some of the best Sunday lunches in the town, and one has to mention his Yorkshire puddings. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Mark Lindesay and Earl Bathurst in Golden Cross Inn garden Mark Lindesay and Earl Bathurst in Golden Cross Inn garden (Image: Newsquest)

“He was a kind welcoming man who did much behind the scenes for Black Street and created it what it is today, one of the most visited and loved streets in Cirencester.”

Jonathon Rooke of Straight-PR worked with him from the week he opened The Golden Cross Inn and said: “Mark was there for you, rain or shine.

“A proper publican who was a client first but soon became a friend. 

“I may have stolen his takeaway, mocked his clothing, hid his drink but it was all because he meant so much to me.

“I may not have been able to be with him towards the end but that does not mean I was not thinking of the silly swine.

“He will be missed by myself and the lads.”

Mark’s funeral will be held at Cirencester Parish Church on Thursday, November 3 at 2.30pm.

There will then be a wake at The Crown Inn on West Market Place. 

All are welcome to both with family and friends looking to hear your memories of somebody that, in such a short time, meant so much to the town.

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