|Forest of Dean Pubs - Placenames Clearwell to Coalway
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Butchers Arms, High Street GL16 8JS
S.R. Davis was the owner of the Butchers Arms alehouse in 1891 and there was no brewery tie. The annual rateable value was £10.0s.0d. and the Butchers Arms closed at 10 pm. By 1903 the Butchers Arms had been acquired by Cambrian Ales in Newport, who traded as Lloyd & Yorath. There were only four other pubs selling Cambrian Ales in Gloucestershire. Lloyd & Yorath also owned the Globe Inn in Berry Hill, George Inn at Fetter Hill and the Rose in Hand in Drybrook. They also leased the Albion Inn in Coalway. The Cambrian Brewery was acquired by Ansells Brewery of Birmingham, in 1951. Presumably the Butchers Arms then became an Ansells tied house.
Clearwell would have been a great place for a pub-crawl in Edwardian times. Lloyd & Yorath’s Cambrian ales at the Butchers Arms, Monmouth Brewery ales at the Nailers Arms, Redbrook Brewery ales at the Lamb Inn and Wickwar Ales (Arnold, Perrett & Co.) at the Wyndham Arms.
In November 1935 regulars at the Butchers Arms put on a performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, and, according to a contemporary newspaper report, ‘the Forest accent made the play sound very authentic. Lady Macbeth was played by a 14-stone character and only the clock and the law brought the evening to an end.’
A ‘Pub Profile’ feature in a local Forest of Dean newspaper in 1980 described the Butchers Arms thus:
During the catastrophic floods of July 2007 the Butchers Arms was deluged with a foot and a half of floodwater. The pub was closed for a month before it could re-open again.
The Butchers Arms is a very popular destination dining pub but retains a drinking area by the bar. There is a lovely water feature by the entrance.
Landlords at the Butchers Arms include:
Lamb Inn, West Street, GL16 8JU
The Lamb is a cosy pub with wooden settles and a log fire and is just 50 yards from the ancient Clear Well in the village. In days gone by workers from the long defunct nearby iron foundry would have once frequented the pub.
The Lamb is closed from Monday to Thursday and is only open during the weekends.
Landlords at the Lamb Inn include:
Nailers Arms, Clearwell Meend
In 1891 and 1903 the beer house had an annual rateable value of £11.4s.0d. and closed at 10 pm. James Harris was the occupying landlord.
The Nailers Arms is believed to have closed in 1922.
Clearwell Meend is a portion of land above the village of Clearwell and behind Clearwell Caves. The area was once heavily industrialised and there are remnants of pit workings visible to this day. Perhaps the fate of the Nailers Arms coincided with the demise of industry in the location.
Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, High Street GL16 8JS
The Tudor Farmhouse is ‘a friendly and intimate Country Hotel & Restaurant in the heart of the Royal Forest of Dean.’
The stone-built building dates back to the 13th Century and has oak beams, a wooden spiral staircase and is full of character. It was once listed in the Johansens restaurant guide as an ‘idyllic haven’. Besides the main house there are 22 bedrooms in a cluster of converted buildings.
The Tudor Farmhouse Hotel is essentially a dining venue and, although licensed, is not a pub. The Butchers Arms is situated next door.
Wyndham Arms, The Cross GL16 8JT
The Wyndham Arms was named after the owners of the nearby Clearwell Castle. First known as Clearwell Court the Grade II listed Gothic Revival mansion was built by Thomas Wydham in 1727 to the design of Roger Morris. It remained in the Wyndham family until the estate was sold in 1893. The Wyndham Arms, part of the estate, was owned by E.J.E Wyndham in 1891 when it had an annual rateable value of £13.0s.0d. and was free of brewery tie. Ownership had passed to H.E. Collins in 1903 and the inn was leased to the Wickwar Brewery (Arnold, Perrett & Co., Ltd.). The Wyndham Arms had alehouse status and last orders were called at 10 pm.
A reference in Slater’s 1852 Coleford directory lists the pub as the Wymondham Arms, which is probably an enumeration error.
The Wyndham Arms was for a long time ran by Maynard and Louisa Keyse. Maynard held the license in 1903 and nearly 60 years later Louisa was still serving behind the bar.
In the early 1970’s Clearwell Castle had a music studio installed and legendary rock bands either recorded or practised there including Deep Purple (whilst part-recording their album ‘Burn’), Badfinger, Whitesnake, Van Der Graaf Generator, Peter Frampton, Led Zeppelin (whilst rehearsing their album ‘In Through The Out Door’ in 1979) and Black Sabbath (whilst recording ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’). Former Black Sabbath roadies David Tangye and Graham Wright wrote in their 2004 book ‘How Black Was Our Sabbath’ about the former exploits of the heavy metal cult heroes. David Tangye recalled in the book, ‘Ozzy (Osbourne) took us to the Wyndham Arms where we got well and truly oiled. We managed to give the local darts team a good thrashing, which didn’t go down very well. We left the pub with a supply of cider. Back at the castle, we went into the sitting room to carry on drinking. There was an inglenook-style fireplace with a fire built, ready to be lit. Ozzy got it blazing, he liked banking fires up to the hilt, and we set about the flagons of cider like they were going out of fashion. We were woken from a stupor at about three in the morning and could smell burning. The carpet around Ozzy was alight and his flares were on fire. I rushed over to where he lay and shook him. We picked up pint glasses and threw the leftover cider over his jeans, which extinguished the flames.. What a mess there was to clear up! Luckily, we were thinking straight enough to turn the carpet around and hide the burnt bit under a Welsh dresser.’
When John and Rosemary Stanford bought the Wyndham Arms back in 1972 for £20,000 it was, apparently, a dilapidated cider house. Over the next 24 years the couple worked hard building up the facilities and reputation of the Wyndham Arms and in 1997 it was put on the market for £1.5 million. A report in the Gloucester Citizen (17th June 1997) stated that: “when John and Rosemary purchased the run down Grade II listed building it was taking just £150 a week. Now they serve 40,000 meals each year, put £20,000 a week into the tills, employ 32 staff and have 17 luxury bedrooms.” When John and Rose Stanford finally retired in 2002 they were the longest serving licensees in the Forest of Dean. Their son Robert took over the running of the Wyndham Arms for a further five years.
In 2001 the Wyndham Arms was named among the top 500 restaurants in Britain when it was included in the ‘pick of the pubs’ section in the prestigious AA guide. An ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper in August 2006 remarked, ‘Our food was excellent. We had starters of homemade country vegetable and herb soup, that came wit homemade bread, and home-cured salmon gravadlax with a honey and mustard dressing, which was well presented and perfect in size. Main course choices for our party included lasagne of roasted vegetables with spinach, pine nuts and a tomato and basic sauce with dressed leaves, and grilled sirloin steaks with fine tomatoes and mushrooms.’ The assessment was 10/10 for atmosphere and food and a 9/10 rating for value for money.
Gloucester Magistrates Court heard accounts of a fight between the pub landlord and his chef in the kitchen of the Wyndham Arms, which occurred in February 2009, that was reminiscent of a scene from ‘Fawlty Towers’. The chef turned up for work at the pub with bright ginger hair which made the landlord see red and there followed an argument and pushing and shoving in the kitchen. The prosecuting solicitor said, “The chef was on the floor with the manager’s hands around his throat and the chef started making choking noises.” The landlord was found guilty of assault and was told to pay £100 compensation to the chef and £50 prosecution costs. After the case the pub landlord said, ‘Everything is okay now and we get on well. We are even cracking a few jokes about it.’
A routine examination of the premises by environmental heath officers in September 2011 prompted a hygiene improvement notice being issued to the owners of the Wyndham Arms. At Gloucester Magistrates Court the owners admitted to 16 breaches of food hygiene regulations. Environmental health officers from Forest of Dean District Council said in their report, ‘The tiled floor was dirty and the floor tile grouting was filthy across the kitchen. The presence of grease, dirt and accumulations food were consistent with a systematic failure to adequately clean the premises over a sustained period of time. The ventilation extract fan was dirty. Grease was running out of the fan unit, down the walls causing the paint to flake off. Grease was pooling on the floor and behind the fryer units and microwave stand.’ Wyndham Arms Hotel Ltd were ordered to pay £43,000 in fines and costs for the catalogue of offences. When the company applied to Gloucester Crown Court claiming that the fines were too excessive the magistrates upheld the sentence and ordered the Wyndham Arms to pay further costs totalling £9,452. The Recorder explained, ‘We do not consider that the fines imposed were at all excessive, they reflect on the nature and gravity of the offences and the mitigating factors in the case.’
The Food Standards Agency assessed the Wyndham Arms in July 2013 and it was only given a one-star rating – amongst 15 other Forest of Dean establishment receiving the same score. A one-star rating signifies that major improvements are necessary.
History turned full circle in June 2016 when the Wyndham Arms was once again bought by the Clearwell Castle estate. The previous owners of the inn had gone into voluntary liquidation. A spokesman for Clearwell Castle issued a statement stating that there were no immediate plans to reopen the Wyndham Arms. He said: ‘It is being redecorated and is being used for accommodation for our wedding guests.’
Landlords at the Wyndham Arms include:
Miners Inn / Montague Inn GL16 8LL
Francis Wintle’s Forest Brewery in Mitcheldean owned the Miners Inn in 1891 and 1903. The premises was listed as a beer house with an annual rateable value of £12.0s.0d. Closing time each night was at 10 pm. Richard Nash was the landlord.
In Heather Hurley’s book ‘The Pubs of the Royal Forest of Dean’ (Logaston Press) there is an inventory of the sale of the Miners Inn in 1937. It reads:
The Miners Inn changed its name to the Montague Inn back in 1982 so that it would not be confused with the Miners Arms at nearby Sling.
An application was submitted in April 2009 to Forest of Dean District Council for permission to alter and extend the public house to include Bed & Breakfast accommodation as well as a smoking shelter.
When I visited the Montague Inn in September 2009 the pub had closed. An ‘eating out’ review in the local newspapers dated 17th December reported that the Montague Inn was ‘a far cry from what it used to be. The pub has undergone a complete makeover in the last nine months, with the décor being a top priority.’ The article continued, ‘New owners Cran and Susan have worked hard to turn this once tired looking inn into a fresh and up-to-date place to relax with friends.’
The Montague Inn closed in 2015.
Landlords at the Miners Inn / Montague Inn include:
Yew Tree Inn GL18 1JS
The Yew Tree Inn is located just to the north of May Hill, a well-known Gloucestershire topological landmark. The county boundary with Herefordshire almost intercepts the pub. Today the Yew Tree has a Gloucestershire address but when the 1891 and 1903 licensing books were being compiled Cliffords Mesne was in Herefordshire – the boundaries have since changed. Consequently, there are no historical records detailing brewery ownership, etc. It is known, however, that the Yew Tree has 16th century origins and was once a ‘cider house’.
Paul Hackett was a Michel Roux trained chef and in 1999 he and his wife Anna decided to leave the high life in London to open their own restaurant in the heart of the countryside. They bought the Yew Tree at Cliffords Mesne. Paul and Anna’s dream was to serve people with ‘wonderful, high-class restaurant food and wines at reasonable prices”. Paul once told the press: “We decided we wanted to change our lifestyle and we came across the Yew Tree. It was a bit run down but we’ve completely refurbished it. Now we’re an eating pub rather than a drinking pub.” The gastro pub gained an entry in the Good Food Guide 2004.
The transition from a ‘run down’ local pub to a high class and successful restaurant may have been commendable from a business perspective but the average beer drinker felt alienated and had no village pub to go to.
When Phillip and Cass Todd bought the Yew Tree in 2005 they immediately set about turning it back to a traditional country pub, serving not only good food but good beers as well. The Yew Tree Inn at that time was described by CAMRA as having ‘traditional bars with quarry tiled floors, pleasant furnishings and cosy log fires during the winter months. There are 21 local ciders to choose from and the Yew Tree has a Beer Festival in April.’ But an application to extend the trading hours so it could serve alcohol until midnight from Monday to Thursday, and 1 am on Friday and Saturdays was not well received by everyone. The council received 12 objections from nearby residents who expressed concern about longer hours, music and dancing which they said might be a noise nuisance. Caroline Todd of the Yew Tree said, ‘The Yew Tree is a village pub in a rural community which was previously run as a restaurant and mainly food led. We now wish to integrate more with the local community by providing suitable entertainment, charity and theme nights, musical evenings, jazz dinners etc.’
The Yew Tree was named ‘Good Pub Guide’ Wine Pub of the Year 2009. The judges said: ‘A back room is charmingly laid out as an informal wine shop, with a good range that is fairly priced. It has an excellent scheme where you can have a bottle with your meal for just its shop price plus £3, which is much lower than the usual mark-up and the better the wine, the bigger the bargain. We wish more pubs used this customer-friendly pricing system.’
Following a change of ownership the fortunes of the Yew Tree appeared to take a downward turn. An on-line review from a Hereford visitor lamented, “I went to The Yew Tree with friends on Friday night. It used to be a regular haunt of mine when my grandparents lived in the village and I have many, wonderful memories of great times spent there and the good food they used to serve. What a disappointment it is now. It was peak time on a Friday night and it was virtually empty - not a good sign. The landlord was friendly enough, but the place looks just like any number of country pubs that have been updated - so many of the lovely, unique features I remembered had been stripped away, leaving a, almost sterile feeling to the place. We ordered food - the menu wasn't very inspiring so I went for chicken. I really wish I'd taken a photo of it because it was indescribably bad. How can anyone go so wrong with chicken, chips and coleslaw? The chicken had been overcooked and then clearly kept hot - I couldn't get my knife into it, let alone chew it. The stringy fries seemed to have been pre-salted somehow and were most unappetising. The meal came with a small pot of sad-looking coleslaw that, although pretty grim, was the most edible thing on the plate. The most unbelievable part of the whole thing was the price - at £11.00, I think the customer should expect food that is tasty and well-cooked. It made me sad to think that this once-great venue has become so mediocre. I won't be hurrying back there.”
The Yew Tree Inn was listed as an asset of community value (ACV) in June 2017, giving it additional protection from development under the Localism Act of 2011. This came after more than 50 residents had petitioned the District Council to save their pub. A councillor said, ‘The owners are relocating to a different part of the country and have put the Yew Tree up for sale. They are hoping to put arrangements in place which will see the pub remain open after the move, until the sale is concluded. Therefore there is a real possibility at a later date it would be a change of use.’
In August 2018 it was announced that the Yew Tree Inn was set to re-open as a restaurant pub with built in holiday accommodation. Development company Meadow Leisure Ltd applied to Forest of Dean District Council for the construction of new kitchen and toilets, enlarged restaurant area and two holiday lets. The developers stated at the time that they intend the new-look pub to be open in time for the Cheltenham Gold Cup week in March 2019. They hoped that the reopened Yew Tree would be a boost for the local economy and ‘provide up to 12 full and part time jobs, including a gardener who will provide fresh vegetables for the restaurant.’ It was envisaged that opening hours would be from 8 am till midnight seven days a week, offering breakfast, tea, snacks and evening meals. The company added ‘It will also host business conferences, business meetings, weddings, wakes and family parties.’
A search on ‘google’ in May 2019 failed to find any mention of the revitalised Yew Tree Inn.
Albion Inn, Parkend Walk GL16 7JS
In 1987 Ralph Anstis wrote an article about the Albion public house, where he lived with his wife, for the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology. They moved into Albion House in October 1984. Keen to discover more about his home Ralph spent time at the Gloucestershire Records Office hunting for documents and old maps relating to the Albion Inn in Coalway. One of the first discoveries that Ralph made was that the building was very close to an old coal-pit which had first been worked in 1735. An updated version of the article from April 2001 is reproduced here.
One such family of encroachers was the Baglin (or Bagland) family who, at least by 1787, were living in a turf-roofed encroacher’s cottage on the site of the present Albion House. The head of the household was Daniel, born in 1744. In this cottage he lived with his wife Sarah and their three children who included three sons, William, Isaac and young Daniel. The cottage stood in two acres of ground, which his predecessors had fenced in many years before, on the side of the rough road (now Parkend Walk) leading from Coalway through the woods to Parkend.
By 1834 old Daniel had died and his son Isaac was living in the cottage with his family, which included his sons John and another Daniel. In about 1840 the government gave Isaac the legal possession of his house and the two acres of ground, and he and his family continued to live there. Within a few years Isaac had knocked down his hovel, built the present house (or part of it, for it seems that an extension was later built onto the first building). In 1842 to pay for its construction he raised a mortgage with Thomas Birt Trotter, a Coleford businessman, but how he persuaded Trotter to lend him money is not known., for Isaac had humble origins and was described in the 1841 census returns of 1841 as a labourer.
Isaac opened the new building as a pub. That the house was not designed as an ordinary dwelling is shown by its construction: three rooms downstairs, one big room upstairs with a fireplace at each end, and a cellar where the beer was no doubt kept. The family lived in a smaller house next door.
A Forester has told us that as a young lad he knew an old man who, when he himself was young, knew Isaac as an old man. He said that he was a tough unpleasant character, who knew him when he was blind, but even so no-one could deceive him over payment for the beer purchased and he was adept at counting the change as any sighted beer house keeper!
The place had several names during its existence, including the Albion Inn and the Old Albion. It was almost certainly not an inn in the usual sense of the word. Apart from having no accommodation for visitors it had no licence for wines and spirits and in fact was a common beer house (annual rateable value in 1891 and 103 was £16.0s.0d.). Beer houses in the 19th century had a lower status than inns, where wines and spirits were also sold. In the beer houses working men could feel free to express their feelings about their employers and political masters without fear of being overheard, for any stranger would be immediately spotted. One will never know but can imagine what conversations must have gone on at times of crisis in the Forest in the sawdust-floored tap room of the Albion (now the dining room). What despair must have been manifested there during the strike in 1874-5, and the slumps in 1883 and 1895 when coal and iron mines in the Forest closed down, leaving the workers unemployed and destitute.
In more prosperous times the atmosphere must have been more relaxed, with laughter and good company and with, perhaps, cock-fighting and skittles upstairs. One can only imagine – for no archives can yield hard facts on the matter – that miners coming through the woods in the evening on their way home from work and knowing that the first house in the clearing would be a welcoming hostelry, lively and bright, where they could slake their thirst with a glass of cider at a penny a quart.
Old Isaac Baglin died in the 1860’s. He was well over 80, and had seen considerable changes in the life of the Foresters in his time. He had begun life as an encroacher, despised, suspected and feared by people outside the Forest, and ended up as a respectable member of his community with his own business. He was succeeded as innkeeper (or beer house keeper or beer retailer, whatever term one prefers) by his son Daniel. When Daniel died in 1872, his wife Maria continued as the beer house keeper. She was followed by their son Oliver who, by all accounts, had inherited his grandfather’s dexterity in handling coins. Until recently he was still remembered in Coalway for his ability to produce the exact change from his pocket without looking.
According to the 1891 census Oliver was unmarried in that year and Benjamin Howell, his wife and six children occupied four rooms at the Albion Inn. It is difficult to image that Albion House itself could accommodate the Howells in four rooms as well as accommodation for Oliver Baglin. But the present occupant of Villa House next door has said that the pub owners lived in her house. It abuts Albion House and there is evidence that there may have been a communication door between the two buildings. So the Howells probably lived in Villa House. In 1891 the Albion Inn had an annual rateable value of £16.0s.0d.
Oliver Baglin carried on with the pub until 1899, when at the age of 57 he retired. He mortgaged the premises to Messrs Lloyd & Yorath Ltd., who were brewers and wine and spirit merchants. They put in a manager, Charles Henry Porter, to run the place. The Old Albion continued to do a good trade after Oliver retired. Indeed in 1906 100 barrels of beer were supplied compared with 77 the previous year, and an average of 96 pints of beer were drawn in a day. This was not a bad performance when one considers that at that time there was one pub to every 196 people in the Coleford district – men, woman and children.
But the days of the Old Albion were numbered. At their annual Licensing Committee meeting in 1906 the Coleford magistrates were unwilling to renew the licence. They gave no reason, apart from saying that they had ‘talked over the matter privately’. After Lloyd & Yorath objected, however, they did renew it. But the following year they arranged for the police to object and when the case came before them a police superintendent said that in his opinion the house was not necessary, and anyway it was badly suited for police supervision. Without retiring the Committee concluded that the licence should not be renewed. There were no objections. And that, somewhat mysteriously, was that. The Old Albion ceased to operate as a beer house on 28th December 1907. It was said that the pub sign outside was seen flapping for years after it closed.
It has been said that the real reason for closing the Albion Inn down as a pub was that it had become a house of ill-repute during Lloyd & Yorath’s reign. If this was so it would explain the magistrates’ disinclination to say in public why they were unwilling to renew the licence; but it is difficult to accept that the structure of the building would allow anything improper to occur. Anyway, we have decided to leave this intriguing possibility to other researchers!
After the Albion Inn lost its licence in 1907 Oliver Baglin resumed ownership of the house. It could now no longer be used for its original purpose and in the following August he sold it by auction at the Angel Inn, Coleford. Since then it has had a string of owners. At one time it was used as a butchers shop.’
Renowned local historian, the late Ray Allen, also researched the history of the Albion Inn at Coalway and concluded that it might have closed after the First World War. His notes are reproduced below:
There was an attempt to close it in 1907, which was thwarted by the brewery spending a great deal of money and time defending it. There had been no convictions against it, nor any other action. Trade was good, and there seemed nothing to warrant its closure. Superintendent Griffin, however, seemed to think that it was difficult to police and supervise, because it was a short distance from the main road. He also complained that it had three back doors, which of course made it difficult to catch anybody. One door was nailed up, and another was blocked up on instructions from the magistrates in a court order. The licence was renewed on 11th July 1907. However, it did close either in 1919 or 1920. Details of its closure are not known at present.’
Landlords at the Albion Inn include:
Britannia Inn, Coalway Cross, Parkend Road GL16 7HX
The Britannia was situated on the south-eastern corner of Coalway Cross with the entrance in Edenwall Road.
Throughout the 12 years from 1891 to 1903 the annual rateable value of the Britannia Inn, a beer house, was £16.0s.0d. Amos Smith was the occupying landlord and owner in 1891 when the Britannia was free of brewery tie. John Arnold & Sons of the High Street Brewery in Wickwar had acquired the freehold by 1903. John Arnold & Sons also owned the Plough Inn in the village at the same time, just a short distance away on the road towards Coleford.
In 1978 Bass Worthington and M&B beers were on offer. The Britannia was described in the 1980 edition of CAMRA’s ‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’ as a “friendly free house at cross roads. Two bars knocked into one large bar.” Although Wadworth 6X was on draught the Britannia was predominantly a cider pub with Bulmers and Coates traditional cider dispensed by electric pumps. The 1996 edition of Real Ale in Gloucestershire simply states: ‘no real beer’.
A guide to Forest pubs (Jon Hurley) gave this account: ‘This is a fairly basic hostelry providing a good choice of beers which include Wadworths 6X, Strongs, Courage AK and Tartan. Hofmeister and Carling are available for the less traditionally minded boozer. There are no oak beams or brass gee-haws here although there is an open fire (albeit a horribly modern one). However, the artistically inclined will no doubt revel in the explosion of modern art which covers the wallpaper (and every one is the work of the manager). Who knows, one day he might be known as Coalway’s answer to Picasso. Buy one now while they’re going cheap.’
The Britannia Inn seems to have closed in 2002. I have no press cuttings in my archives detailing its closure. There certainly seems to be no opposition to its conversion to residential use.
In May 2008 the property was on the market for £114,950 described as a spacious two-bedroom apartment with road parking.
Landlords at the Britannia Inn include:
Crown Inn, Parkend Road GL16 7HX
The Crown Inn was once tied to Arnold Perrett & Co. Ltd. Wickwar Brewery. The South Gloucestershire brewery had a number of pubs in the Forest of Dean. Wickwar ‘Celebrated Gold Medal Ales and Stouts’ were probably introduced into the Forest of Dean upon the opening of the Severn Railway Bridge from Berkeley to Lydney in 1879. The annual rateable value of the Crown Inn in 1891 and 1903 was £16.0s.0d. and it was classified as a beer house. Ownership of most of Arnold Perrett’s tied houses passed to the Cheltenham Original Brewery in 1924.
Cheltenham Original Brewery eventually passed into Whitbread ownership and in the 1980 of ‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’ (CAMRA) the Crown was selling Whitbread PA on handpump and was described simply as a ‘small friendly pub’. In 1993 RAIG described the Crown as ‘recently refurbished with a wide range of food. Karaoke every Tuesday and live music every Sunday evening.’ Marston’s Pedigree and Wadworth 6X were available.
Punch Taverns owned the Crown Inn in 2005.
When new landlord Ian Davidson took over the running of the pub in January 2012 he told the ‘Forester’ newspaper, ‘The Crown Inn has got to be the prettiest pub in the Forest’. He had given the pub a full makeover and had expressed his wish that it could become the hub of the village. He said, ‘First and foremost it’s a village pub for locals and tourists. People think of how nice country pubs are in places like Devon and I say why can’t we have one like that here.’
Landlords at the Crown Inn include:
Plough Inn, 57A Coalway Road GL16 7HL
From Coalway Cross, with the Britannia Inn on the left-hand side, Coalway Lane or Road is the main route down the hill towards Coleford. The Plough Inn was located on the right-hand side of the road directly opposite the Recreational Ground. The building is now a private house and has a datestone above the arched entrance that reads ‘1828 H.W’. The ‘W’ presumably is the initial of the Wilcox family. In the 1891 licensing book detailing the pubs in the Forest, the Trustees of Edward Wilcox are listed as owners of the Plough Inn. Maybe H.Wilcox, was Edward’s father.
In 1891 the Plough is described as an ale house but, perhaps unusually, has a licence restricting it to 6 days so it was presumably closed on the Sabbath. The pub had an annual rateable value of £11.4s.0d. The Plough Inn started off as a "two room and one up” cottage which later was enlarged into the adjoining cottage which almost trebled its size.
George Salmon is recorded at the Plough Inn as a brewer in 1876, then aged 33. His father was Henry Salmon who had taken over the Coleford Brewery at the Spout in the town in 1857. Harry Clark took over Coleford Brewery in 1879, but ten years later it closed. It is possible that George Salmon was employed at the Coleford Brewery whilst also being the landlord of the Plough Inn. Or tantalisingly did George Salmon brew beer on the premises exclusively for the Plough? The 1891 licensing records give details that the Plough was free of brewery tie.
John Arnold & Sons of the High Street Brewery in Wickwar are listed as owners of the Plough Inn twelve years later in 1903. It is interesting that Miss Mary Fox is the occupying landlady at that time. Mary Fox was a well-known local licensee who started off as a barmaid at the Wyndham Arms in Clearwell. Mary Fox owned the Lamb Inn in Gloucester Road, Coleford in 1903. When Mary called ‘last orders’ in the Plough at 10 pm each evening it is so tempting to think that she might have persuaded her customers to walk the short distance from the pub down Lords Hill and cut across to her other pub, the Lamb in Gloucester Road, to take advantage of the 11 pm closing time of Coleford town pubs.
Although the Kelly’s Directory of 1939 lists George Tillings as landlord he died on 6th November 1937 at the Plough. I have no records of the Plough after this date, which suggests that it had closed by the Second World War.
Landlords at the Plough Inn include: