A change of tenant at an iconic Brontë pub has prompted fears over its future.
Owners Enterprise Inns acted to quash rumours that the beloved watering hole in Haworth was in danger of closing.
Spokesman Amy Dolphin said the Bull, a regular haunt of Brontë brother Branwell in the 19th century, was popular with both locals and tourists.
She said the Midlands-based company was actively seeking an experienced publican to take over the pub from its existing tenant.
The Black Bull lies at the top of Main Street, in front of the parish church where the Brontë sisters’ father Patrick was minister.
Concern over the pub’s future was sparked at the weekend by the appearance of a “to let” sign outside.
Graham Smith, who runs the Brontë Media website, tweeted that there was a “very real danger” the Black Bull could be Haworth’s first pub closure.
Brontë fans on both sides of the Atlantic added their fears about the pub’s future.
Amy Dolphin yesterday said: “The Black Bull has a loyal local trade and benefits from being a destination pub for the tourists.
“We are actively recruiting for an experienced publican with the ability and ambition to develop this traditional community pub.”
Councillor Rebecca Poulsen (Con, Worth Valley), described the recruitment drive as “very positive”.
She said: “The Black Bull is a historic building and the residents are concerned because of its links to the Brontës.
“People visit for the history, but tourists don’t come all the time and it needs to attract local people too.
“There’s a lot of competition in that part of Main Street, it has to be a combination of good food, drink and service.”
John Huxley, chairman of Haworth, Stanbury and Cross Roads Parish Council, hoped a new tenant could be found.
But he added: “The pub trade is in a very parlous state. It must be a very difficult way to earn a living.
“The Black Bull is part of Haworth’s history and an integral part of the tourist offer. We want to keep its historic links, but provide excellence for the village.”
Enterprise Inns plans to hold an open day for prospective tenants this Thursday from noon to 1pm.