An historic pub, once used as a base by a gang of smugglers, faces possible demolition after being hit by a car.
The damaged pub dates back to the 14th century
The landlords of Ye Olde Smugglers Inne in Alfriston, East Sussex, were led to safety by emergency crews after the crash at about 0230 BST on Wednesday.
The 14th century pub was severely damaged and the High Street was closed at Waterloo Square.
Police are now trying to trace a red Ford Sierra which was driven off after the crash.
Maureen Scott, who has been the pub landlady for 27 years, and her husband Robert Scott Built were asleep at the time of the accident.
"Neither of us heard the crash and only realised what had happened when the firemen woke us," said Mr Scott.
He said builders were working to secure the pub and were concerned the front face of the building may collapse.
If it cannot be saved, it will need to be completely rebuilt as it is a grade II listed building.
Mr Scott, who believes Ye Olde Smugglers Inne is likely to be closed for a minimum of three months, said the accident had left him feeling devastated.
"It's a real shame, especially as it is the only pub in the village," he said.
Built in 1358, the pub - which used to be called Market Cross House - was once the home of a notorious smuggling gang.
The layout of the building reveals how useful it was for concealing contraband and evading the authorities.
In addition to having a maze of underground tunnels and a secret passage leading to a building across the street, it has an open chimney with large secret recesses and a hiding place in the roof accessed by a corner cupboard.
The leader of the Alfriston smugglers, Stanton Collins, was eventually arrested in 1831 - but for stealing sheep, not smuggling.