Rumours that celebrity chef Marco Pierre White was to take over the Black Swan hotel in Devizes were scotched this week.

The restaurateur has frequently been seen over the past two weeks, sitting outside the Costa coffee shop in the Market Place while his driver waits nearby in a black Range Rover.

His visits have co-incided with the tenancy of the neighbouring Black Swan being advertised on the Wadworth Brewery website.

But this week antique dealer John Chapman – who runs Crowman antiques in Northgate Street and has a workshop in the yard of the Black Swan – revealed that his wife Florence and his sis ter-in-law Amelia Heaton-Renshaw had applied for the tenancy, but Mr White was not involved.

He said: “Marco is a personal friend of my family. He likes antiques and that is why he has been here.”

When the chef was spotted having a meal in The Peppermill bistro a few weeks ago, he was taking Mr Crowman’s children out for dinner.

Lloyd Stephens, a director with Wadworth, said there had been a lot of interest in the tenancy of the Black Swan. He said: “I can’t tell you who has applied, but I can say that Marco Pierre White is not one of them.”

He said interviews for tenants were due to take place over the next few weeks. “The Black Swan is in an excellent position, in the heart of Devizes, and also has letting rooms which are in demand in the Devizes area, so it has a lot of potential.

“We are very pleased so many people have shown an interest in it.”

Current licencees Mike and Yvonne Wright have been at the pub for six years.

Mr Wright said: “We have enjoyed our time in Devizes, but we feel now is the right time to go.”