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An Exeter pub, which just sold for 4 million pounds, was rumored to have inspired The Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter

Charlie Heller
January 17, 2018

If you just spent 4 million GBP (approximately $5,523,880) on purchasing a pub called The Old Fire House in the English city of Exeter, you may be experiencing some serious buyer's remorse right now. At least, that is, if you believed longstanding rumors that the pub inspired the fictional Leaky Cauldron in the Harry Potter series—because as of today, J.K. Rowling has officially brought those rumors to a close.

The mistake is reasonable enough: Rowling attended Exeter University in the 1980s, and the place certainly looks Harry Potter-y enough. But sadly for anyone who ever headed to the county of Devon in Southwest England hoping for more of a mega-hit-childrens'-fantasy series-inspiring experience (perhaps with some butterbeer involved?), Rowling says she has "never visited this pub in my life."

While it was at first unclear if the intentions of the buyers, the decidedly not-magical-sounding City Pub Group PLC, were connected to the Wizarding World or strictly muggle-based, its sellers are distancing themselves from magic. Reps from Charles Darrow, the firm behind the sale, told Scottish paper The Scotsman that it didn't market the property with Rowling's name at all, calling the whole thing "a lot of online talk"—and further clarified to local news outlet Devon Live that the purchase had nothing to do with the connection.

The real let-down here, though, is for the Exeter University students who wrongly believed they were attending a Rowling haunt—especially the school's Harry Potter Society, which has held events at the pub. (Too bad they're not closer to this Rowling-themed pub in Scotland!)

Fortunately, though, with the bad news comes the good. No, The Old Fire House may not have had the Rowling connection people thought it did, but in issuing the clarification, the author did reveal what her top Exeter pubs actually were: the Red Cow, the Black Horse, Mill on The Exe, and the (now gone) Artillery Inn. If you happen to work at any of those, you might want to prepare for few more customers than usual.