"What is a buskin?"


noun (historical) / plural noun: buskins

  1. a calf-high or knee-high  gaiter of cloth or leather.

Buskins were typically worn by soldiers and farmers to protect their lower legs against thicket and brambles. Note the Donkey wearing slim fashioned buskins in the pub sign. Local history suggests a boy who lived at the pub/brew house (as seen in the pub sign wearing a blue jacket) travelled to school on his Donkey, he apparently had slim Buskins fashioned to protect his Donkey's legs on those journeys. Originally brought in as a joke by a local soldier.

The Donkey & Buskins is a unique name being the only pub in the country to be called such.

Set in the village of Layer de la Haye the village had a Porter House dating back to the 16th Century  the that serviced the village for ale. 

Donkey & Buskins was built in circa 1840. The ale ale licence was then transferred from the Porter House to the Donkey & Buskins. 


At some point after this building was purchase by the then Colchester brewery. 

During the latter years of World War II the Virley White Hart pub in Salcott was bombed by the Hun and their spirt transferred to the Donkey & Buskins.

Family run since 1985 when Alan Butcher took up Ind Coope tenancy at the Donkey & Buskins. The freehold was taken over by Alan soon after and is now an independently owned Free-House which remains in the Butcher family. The Donkey & Buskins played a key local role for moral during World War II and a photo exists today of local soldiers outside the pub on VE-Day 1945 with the then landlord and landlady.

Day-to-day management passed from father to son in 2017. In 2018 the Donkey & Buskins Company Partnership was formed and is now run by partners Richard and Nathan Morrison-Butcher. 

The pub is now an aspiring fresh food gastro-pub supporting local produce suppliers.  

The Donkey & Buskins has three restaurant rooms seating at total of 66, a large beer garden off the main road surrounded by woodland and a large car park.  



Tel. +44 (0) 1206 734 774


Donkey & Buskins 

Layer Road

Layer de la Haye






Monday - Thursday 11:00 - 23:00

Friday 11:00 - 00:00

Saturday 09:00 - 00:00

Sunday 12:00 - 22:00