|Forest of Dean Pubs - Placenames Tidenham to Yorkley
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In the 1891 and 1903 Gloucestershire licensing enumerations the Coffee Rooms at Tidenham is listed as an alehouse, so presumably it was licensed to sell alcohol. It had a very low annual rateable value of £6.7s.0d. Robert C. Jenkins was the owner and it had a premise licence open until 10 pm. There was no brewery tie attached to the licence. The Coffee Rooms was located at the top of the ‘new’ pier in Tidenham.
Landlords at the Sugar Loaf include:
I am grateful to the Tidenham Local History Group for some of the following information. www.tidenhamhistory.co.uk
Cross Keys Inn, Coleford Road NP16 7BN
Above: Image Courtesy Tidenham Local Historical Society - www.tidenhamhistory.co.uk
The Cross Keys Inn sits on the crossroads near what was the Turnpike with roads leading to the old Beachley ferry, Gloucester, Coleford and Chepstow. It was recorded in the 1841 census when James Williams was the publican and closed in 2008 when it was converted, the last landlord being Simon Orgee.
The Cross Keys was the meeting place for the Tidenham Friendly Society (founded in 1835) in 1868 and there are many accounts in the Chepstow Weekly Advertiser (CWA) of anniversary parties held at the pub.
Mary and Hannah Hill were the owners of the Cross Keys in 1891 and 1903 and they traded free of brewery ties. The licensed ale house had an annual rateable value of £21.10s.0d. and closing time was at 10 pm.
Before the pub closed there were reports of the premises being haunted by the distressed spirit of Sarah Prichard who, with her husband John, were landlords at the Cross Keys in the 1860’s. They lost two of their three children early in childhood and, apparently, were evicted from the Cross Keys. James and Sarah then took on the new license of the Live & Let Live. James himself died in 1873. Bad fortune and a sense of recrimination were the perhaps behind the motive for the alleged sightings of Sarah’s ghost at the Cross Keys.
The Sunday Closing Act of 1881 of Wales meant pubs in Chepstow were not open on the Sabbath. Being within easy walking distance from the Welsh border both the Cross Keys and nearby Live and Let Live benefited from a healthy Sunday trade.
Brian Harris, the licensee at the Cross Keys from 1975-1980, was a former professional footballer who played for Everton in the 1966 F.A. Cup Final against Sheffield Wednesday. Despite being 2-0 down, Everton eventually won 3-2. Amongst the crowd at Wembley were Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Brian Harris later became the manager of Newport County and assistant manager at Cardiff City. He died in Chepstow in February 2008, aged 72.
In August 2008 permission was granted by Forest of Dean District Council to convert and extend the Cross Keys Inn to nine one-bedroom flats and three two-bedroom flats.
Landlords at the Cross Keys include:
Live & Let Live, Coleford Road NP16 7BN
James and Sarah Jane Prichard were tenants at the nearby Cross Keys. In the 1861 census James Prichard is recorded as being a wheelwright by profession originating from Hewelsfield and living with his wife Sarah Jane at the Cross Keys. They had three children whilst living there Andrew, William and Catherine. Both William (2 years 6 months) and Catherine (4 years 3 months) died in childhood and there is a gravestone in Tutshill Churchyard in memory of them. Catherine died in August 1867. But James and Sarah had more bad news to come as just two years later in 1869 they were apparently told to leave their home at the Cross Keys. A story that had been handed down is that the Prichard family moved just up the road where two cottages were being constructed but not yet completed. They took on the cottages and converted them into a public house, poignantly named ‘Live & Let Live’. James himself died in 1873, leaving Sarah at the pub until the end of the 19th Century. It has been said that the bitter and angry spirit of Sarah Prichard frequently haunted the Cross Keys pub prior to its closure.
Bristol United Breweries were the owners of the Live & Let Live in 1891 and 1903. At that time the brewery in Lewins Mead Bristol, only had one other tied house in the Forest of Dean – the other being the nearby Rising Sun in Woodcroft. Presumably the Bristol brewed beers were transported by railway to the Chepstow area through the Severn Tunnel, which opened in 1886. Georges & Co. Bristol Brewery took over Bristol United in 1956. The annual rateable value of the Live and Let Live in 1891 and 1903 was £13.15s.0d. It had a licence as a beer house and closing time was at 10 pm.
For 45 years the Live & Let Live was run by the Carpenter family. In 1901 Herbert and Ellen’s great-niece Blanche Blatchly (aged 7) moved in with them. In October 1916 Blanche married Stanley John Mayo. After being wounded in France in Army Service Stanley was medically discharged and took up residence in the Live & Let Live. Ellen Carpenter passed away in April 1928 and Bristol United Breweries asked Stanley to take on the tenancy. Stanley Mayo retired from the Live & Let Live in 1946.
Bristol United Breweries were acquired by George’s Bristol Brewery in 1956. Through subsequent amalgamations the Live & Let Live became a Courage Brewery House.
Maureen Hughes was the licensee of the pub from 2000 to 2004. She returned to the pub with her daughter Zoe in May 2009. She said: ‘I feel since we left the pub it hasn’t been treated in the same way that we liked it to have been. We want to take it back to what it used to be – which was a traditional pub for locals to enjoy a drink.” She added, “We cook good quality homemade food and provide evening entertainment like quiz nights and darts.”
The parent company that owned the pub went into receivership in 2012 and their portfolio of properties, including the Live & Let Live, were put up for sale. It was bought by local hairdresser Paula Smith. The tenant landlord Chris Luxton, who was told that would have 28 days’ notice to vacate when the sale went through, said “It’s a thriving community pub. Quite a few elderly people use it. It’s the kind of place where people come expecting to pay a fiver for ham, egg and chips and enjoy a few pints.”
The Live & Let Live called ‘last orders’ for the final time on 28th January 2013. An application was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council in January 2014 for ‘partial change of use of the ground floor from drinking establishment to hairdressers’ which included external alterations to the elevation and changes to the doors and windows. The applicant was granted permission.
That begged the question, ‘is it a salon or saloon?’ Paula Smith told councillors, “Out of respect to the local community it will remain a public house, but with a salon attached.” Councillor Gethyn Davis said that he was not happy with the changes being made internally to the building., “I wouldn’t want to socialise in a pub, with whatever the latest smells being used in the hairdressing industry wafting over. However, I am reluctant to say that this hybrid proposal is preferable than leaving the building empty, but a still feel it leaves a lot to be desired.” But Councillor Lynn Sterry said, “I think it’s a great idea, my husband can have a beer while I get my hair done!”
On 5th November 2014 it was reopened as a hairdressing salon and Pritchards Wine Bar. If the surname was based on the previous occupiers, the Prichard family of Victorian times, the chosen name of the wine bar had gained the letter ‘T’. Reviews on Trip Advisor were generally quite complimentary. For example, ‘We were passing Pritchards at the Live & Let Live in Tutshill and needing a Sunday lunch for the family we took a gamble that really paid off. The food was excellent as was the atmosphere and the staff were very friendly and helpful.’ But a post in February 2016 lamented, ‘Unfortunately this venue is now closing. This hasn't really taken off and has now finished through lack of support.’
In 2016 Pritchards Wine Bar reopened as Toast Tutshill Co. This is a Café, Bar and Community Workshop that serves craft beers, ciders and wine together with simple honest food.
Landlords at the Live and Let Live include:
Albion Inn GL15 4NT
In 1891 the Albion Inn was tied to the local Blakeney Brewery. The Blakeney Brewery closed c.1895, and the buildings were taken over by Arnold Perrett & Co. Ltd., who used it as a storage depot for onward distribution of their Wickwar brewed beers into the Forest of Dean and beyond. The annual rateable value in 1891 and 1903 was set at £12.0s.0d. and the Albion Inn was a licensed ale house with a closing time of 10pm.
The Citizen newspaper reported on the 14th August 1895 that 'Frederick Stanley, aged 10, the son of Mr Ernest Stanley of the Albion Inn, Viney Hill, was rather severely burned whilst lighting the fire on Thursday morning with the aid of paraffin’.
Licensees did not seem to remain long at the Albion Inn. In fact, it seems that the longest recorded tenure was 18 years, which was achieved by Oswald and Lillian Jones – the last licensees at the Albion. The inn ceased to trade in 1957, and the widowed Lillian Jones retired.
The Albion Inn is now a private house, mostly obscured from view by a large hedge surrounding the property. It is to be found on the corner of Pine Tree Way and on the road to Yorkley.
Landlords at the Albion Inn include:
New Inn GL15 4LZ
The New Inn is a whitewashed rendered building with a modern extension built of local sandstone.
By 1891 the Stroud Brewery already owned a small number of pubs in the Forest of Dean, and probably supplied their beer to some free houses too. Most of the Stroud Brewery pubs in late Victorian times were in the Lydney and Newnham areas, including the New Inn at Viney Hill, and the George and Nags Head in the neighbouring village of Yorkley. The annual rateable value of the New Inn in 1891 and 1903 was £13.10s.0d. It was a licensed beer house with a closing time of 10pm.
I have often wondered why Stroud Brewery had an interest in expanding their business outside their usual trading area westwards into the Forest of Dean. The River Severn presents a natural obstacle and, until the opening of the Severn Tunnel in 1886 and the Severn Rail Bridge in 1879, there was no easy passage across the river. Stroud Brewery nestled directly underneath Stroud GWR Railway Station, so it is reasonable to assume that the opening of the Great Western Railway from Stroud to Gloucester in 1845 provided the opportunity to transport beer using the rail network. Transfer of casks of beer from the brewery to the GWR line, only a stone’s through away, may have not been as easy as it seems. It is more likely that Stroud Brewery used the Midland Railway branch at Wallbridge, again not too far from the brewery itself. But did Stroud Brewery beer get to the Forest by train over the Severn Bridge via Berkeley, or via the circuitous rail route via Gloucester? Perhaps the clue is the junction of the Nailsworth branch onto the main Bristol to Gloucester line at Stonehouse. Trains coming off the branch could only proceed northwards as there was no loop facilitating direct access to the south towards Berkeley Road junction and the Severn Bridge. The probability is that the wagons loaded with Stroud Brewery ales therefore were sent by rail via Gloucester and then marshalled onto goods trains heading towards the Forest of Dean.
Stroud Brewery merged with Cheltenham & Hereford Brewery in 1958 to form West Country Breweries. A ‘Best in the West – 1760 – West Country Ales’ ceramic plaque inlaid into the wall is a reminder of the New Inn’s previous owners.
An ’eating out’ review in the Forester newspaper in February 2007 noted that there was ‘no trendy furniture or posh décor to dazzle the diner when they walk into the restaurant. Sue Mapp and Ian Williams have realised that their customers want a traditional, hearty, square meal at a reasonable price – just something simple. You couldn’t buy the ingredients and cook them at home for the money. The best bit is that it’s like enjoying a home-cooked Sunday lunch without the washing up.’
Landlords at the New Inn include:
Bell Inn, Bell Lane
The lane that runs by the side of the Red Lion towards the church is called Bell Lane. Bell House, on the west side of the lane, is a 16th or 17th century timber-framed building. This was once the Bell Inn and was recorded in 1736 as a messuage tenement or dwelling house now used as a public house and called or known by the sign of the Bell. It seems to have had a comparatively short history as an inn as there is no mention of the Bell after 1839.
Red Lion / Lyon Inn GL14 1PA
The Red Lion is thought to date back to the 16th century. There is a reference to the Red Lyon at Westbury in 1728. The historic parish church, with its unique and recently refurbished separate spire, overlooks the pub. From Bell Lane there is an easy walk to Westbury Garden Cliff on the River Severn, where there is evidence of ancient life-forms fossilised in the rock for millions of years.
In 1891 and 1903 the Red Lion had an annual rateable value of £33.10s.0d. and was licensed as an ale house. Godsell’s Brewery of Salmon Springs, Stroud owned the Red Lion as early as 1891 and it remained in their ownership until 1928 when Godsell’s were voluntarily taken over and closed by the Stroud Brewery. During the period when the Red Lion was selling Godsell’s ales, the exterior of the pub was re-modelled and timber frames were added to the façade of the original stone building.
Closing time at the Red Lion was at 11 pm, which is perhaps surprising considering that Westbury on Severn is not a large village.
It subsequently passed into the ownership of the Stroud Brewery Company, and later became a West Country Breweries pub before becoming the property of Whitbread in the 1960’s. A West Country Ales ‘Best in the West’ ceramic plaque is still in situ.
A review in April 2007 described the Red Lion as ‘everything a traditional English pub should be, but with a superb menu which would not look amiss in a top city restaurant. Here you will find true character, nooks and crannies, real fires and beams by the dozen.’ The reviewer gave the Red Lion top marks for value for money and 9 out of 10 for atmosphere, service and food.
An ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper in April 2008 noted that ‘the menu is very much traditional pub meals cooked with top quality ingredients. No mucking around with gastropub fare here.’ Continuing with, ‘For main course we both went traditional, my colleague opting for a mixed grill while I chose sausages and mash. The portions of the mixed grill, which was good local meat well cooked, were perfect. My sausages and mash were a fine example of pure comfort food – quality sausages and a creamy mountain of mash.’
In March 2018 the Red Lion was taken over by Chris and Sue Light and it re-opened with a slightly revamped name, reverting to its original old English Spelling – the Lyon Inn. The pub had a complete interior makeover turning a previously unused space into a 32-seat restaurant area. Although the Lyon Inn was marketed as an upmarket ‘gastro-pub’ Chris Light said: “We have both a bar menu and an al-a-carte menu, so if you want to come in and have a burger and chips and a pint, that’s fine. Our bar menu prices are on a par with other pubs. Obviously we want to build a reputation for good dining. We live in Blaisdon and after hearing people talking about the scarcity of good food in the area we thought ‘why not’ and decided to open our own. We aim to source as much of our food locally as possible including salmon from the Severn and Wye Smokery just down the road. The reaction locally has been fantastic, and the restaurant has been fully booked every night.”
Landlords at the Red Lion include:
Miners Arms, The Bay GL15 4PE
The Tewkesbury Brewery Company owned the Miners Arms in 1891. Only five years later in 1896 the Tewkesbury Brewery in Quay Street was taken over and closed by Arnold, Perrett & Co. Ltd. of Wickwar. It is tempting to ponder whether the average beer drinker in the late Victorian era had any passion about where his or her came from? Arnold, Perrett & Co. were acquiring freehold pubs all over the Forest of Dean and had even closed the Blakeney Brewery. Was there any antipathy towards the Wickwar Brewery? For those drinkers at the Miners Arms who were used to their daily tipple from the Tewkesbury Brewery, which was indeed a rare brew in the area, how did they feel about being foisted with Wickwar Ales? It is entirely feasible, of course, that the quality of Tewkesbury Ales was inferior to those brewed by Arnold, Perrett & Co. and the change of breweries was positively greeted. We will never know but, given the sentiment we have attached to those breweries that have gone in our own lifetime, it seems feasible to assume that there was some resentment towards the avaricious brewery from the other side of the River Severn.
The annual rateable value of the Miners Arms in 1891 and 1903 was £14.0s.0d. The premise licence was for an ale house and closing time was at 10 pm.
Arnold, Perrett & Co. Ltd. were acquired by the Cheltenham Original Brewery in 1937. The particulars of sale of licensed houses in the portfolio described ‘all that messuage or Inn known as the Miners Arms with the yard, garden stables and all other outbuildings.’ The sale also included various pieces of land which was described as belonging to ‘Her Late Majesty’s Woods and Forests’. Ownership of the Miners Arms then passed to West Country Breweries and in the 1980’s it had been absorbed into the vast Whitbread empire. Sometime after 1989 the Miners Arms became a true free house.
In 2005 the Miners Arms gained the accolade of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) National Cider and Perry Pub of The Year.
When the Miners Arms was put on the market in 2006 it was quickly snapped up by David and Caroline Gill. The Miners Arms had built up a reputation as a live music venue, hosting a twice monthly Blues Club. David and Caroline were both keen to build on the success of the Miners Arms as a music venue. Caroline said, “We bit really love live music. As well as Blues we’ve got Jazz and folk music.”
Mario and Karen Constantinides moved into the Miners Arms in April 2007 with their five-year-old daughter Christiana. Having previous experience working in nightclubs they could not resist the opportunity to run their own pub. Mario, whose parents come from Cyprus, had lived in England for most of his life. He was previously a DJ, actor, teacher and security advisor before going into nightclub management. Mario said “The Miners is just what we’ve been looking for. We’ve arrived in heaven.”. He added “Everyone’s so friendly. They gave me a good luck up and down at first and they’ve been marvellous ever since.” Mario and Karen stressed that they had no plans to change the pub and wished to continue the regular blues and jazz events
The Dean Forest Railway opened their Whitecroft Station in May 2012. The reconstruction followed every detail of the original buildings referring to old plans and photographs. This was a great boost to the fortunes of the Miners Arms attracting passengers alighting from the Dean Forest Railway who could enjoy food and drink at the pub as part of their day out on the steam railway. The function room at the pub was renamed the Carriage Room.
The Miners Arms was featured in a BBC 2 series in April 2015 hosted by celebrity Alex Polizzi. The show, screened on four consecutive nights, charted the progress of nine candidates hoping to get the job as head chef at the Miners Arms. Alex Polizzi said, “Mario and Karen Constantinides have turned the run-down Miners Arms in the heart of the Forest of Dean into the busy country pub it is today. However, in such a rural location they have struggled to find a good head chef who respects the local produce. The right chef will help Mario transform the Miners from a country pub to gastro destination.” Karen said, “It was a very exciting and emotional two weeks of filming with a great film crew who became part of the family and we were sad to see them go.” After the programme was screened Mario said, “In the last episode I made sure I would mention Whitecroft and the Forest of Dean as much as I could. Hopefully the show has helped put the village on the map and it will bring more people into the Forest and not only benefit us, but the wider area.”
The winning chef created a complex menu of pheasant boudin with roasted shallots, blackberries, black pudding and an apple puree as a starter; a fillet of beef with a regionally inspired kidney squab pie, hazelnut croquette and local ale for the main course and a chocolate hazelnut and caramel mousse with cherry for desert. The winner said, “I’m really pleased with the outcome. I wasn’t sure I would win but I showed the owners and Alex what I can do, and it obviously impressed the owners as I won.”
But just a few months later the winning chef’s brief flirtation with nationwide fame was shattered when, after a night of heavy drinking, he was arrested and charged for drink-driving and driving without the proper insurance. He was also accused of returning to the Miners Arms at half past three in the morning and breaking into the premises using a crowbar. Mario said, “He has let us down and dropped us right in it. We have no choice but to let him go. Yes, he did raise the profile of the pub, but to what cost? It’s no secret locally that he tried to break in and then drove off in a rate of knots. The physical damage to the pub was obvious.” His defence lawyer said, “He found, having won what he thought was his dream job that in fact he was expected to undertake, and the circumstances in which he was expected to undertake it became too much for him. He became very depressed, felt very isolated. He realised he didn’t enjoy the work he was doing at this establishment.”
The Forest of Dean Morris have made the Miners Arms their home base since 2013. As well as practising their dances at the Miners Arms it is not uncommon to see the Forest of Dean Morris with other sides dancing there. Live music is still alive and well at the Miners.
The Miners Arms now have new owners. The reviews on Trip Advisor are very positive. The cuisine is still excellent and a good variety of real ales are on offer.
Landlords at the Miners Arms include:
New Inn, Yorkley Road
The New Inn was a brick-built pub. It is now a private residence called Kestrel Cottage.
Stroud Brewery owned the New Inn in 1891 and 1903. It was licensed as a beer house with an annual rateable value of £12.0s.0d. Closing time was at 10 pm.
Landlords at the New Inn include:
Royal Oak, Parkhill GL15 4PG
The Royal Oak was a privately-owned free house in 1891 owned by Annie Gollop. Twelve years later in 1903 the Royal Oak was still privately-owned by Mrs Stacey Jones who leased it out to W.J. Rogers & Co. of Bristol. The Royal Oak was a licensed beer house with an annual rateable value in 1891 and 1903 of £12.0s.0d. Closing time was at 10 pm.
Heather Hurley in her book ‘Pubs of the Royal Forest of Dean’ (Logaston Press, 2004) writes: ‘From the crossroads at Whitecroft, a short walk past the old mill and up the Bream Road leads to the Royal Oak standing in an enviable, elevated position. In the late 19th century it appears to have been kept by Thomas Hampton, and in 1919 the ‘Royal Oak and the outbuildings erected thereon’ were conveyed from Charles Morse to the Stroud Brewery. In 1962 the pub passed to West Country Breweries and later became a Whitbread house. It has survived as a free house into the 21st century.’
A new skittle alley and function room was built in 2000. Landlord Rob Langdon told the ‘Forest & Wye Review’, “Our first skittles team is already in action and a ladies skittles team will be playing early in 2001. We will be able to cater for parties big and small. For weddings we can accommodate as many as 150 guests and, of course, we can offer catering facilities for every occasion.” He added, “The new skittle alley and function room is planned to give our customers what they want. There has already been a lot of interest as it adds considerably not just to the pub but to facilities in the village.”
Staff and customers at the Royal Oak formed their own Charity Fund at the beginning of 2000 and had raised £1,900 in aid of their local primary school by July of that year. The Royal Oak Charity Fund handed over £700 to Pillowell School to help its choir and then raised a further £1,200 for the school.
An application was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council in July 2007 for the extension of the license to sell alcohol on the premises on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from the existing 11 pm to 2.00 am. An extension to permit music and dancing until 2.00 am was also applied for. The remainder of the week (Sunday-Wednesday) permission was sought to facilitate the sale of alcohol and allow music and dancing until midnight.
The Royal Oak had closed in 2008. In May of that year it was given a new lease of life by Nikki and Adrian Glover who had recently moved from Belfast looking for a change of lifestyle. A feature in the ‘Forester’ newspaper that drew attention to the many local pubs that had recently closed in the Forest of Dean, Nikki of the Royal Oak said, “A lot of people hadn’t seen each other since the pub shut. It’s a vital meeting place and we’re restarting the darts and skittles teams. The most important thing is listening to locals and responding to their needs. When the old regulars started coming back and realised that we weren’t going to turn into a nightclub, as it was for a while, word spread and more and more people started coming back.” She also said that the customers of the Royal Oak had asked for real ales to be re-introduced and added, “We’ve got two fantastic chefs, because in this day and age, people expect the food to be good quality and they want to know it is locally sourced.”
An ’eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper in March 2011 was complimentary about the Royal Oak, giving it a score of 9 out of 10 for atmosphere and value for money and 8 out of 10 for food and service. The reviewer wrote, “From my table by the window I can see a steam train puffing past, while the logs burning in the inglenook fireplace wrap me cocoon-like in their warmth. I’m surrounded by a wealth of tradition, stone walls and beamed ceilings. I am in the Royal Oak at Whitecroft, which overlooks the valley to Yorkley and beyond. It’s recently been taken over by a professional chef, who has revamped the interior offering exceptional value for money food.”
The Royal Oak held an August ‘Rocktoberfest’ in 2011. The two-day free to attend festival promised to appeal to rock fans of all ages and the line-up on Saturday night included bands called Mutator, Outgunned, Supercharger and Doods on Stools. The genre of music was in marked contrast some two years later when a regular feature was brass bands playing on the terrace.
In October 2013 the landlord of the Royal Oak sparked controversy when he banned motorcyclists from using the pub. A banner on the gates declared defiantly ‘Sorry, No Bikers’. A local biker, the proud owner of a Harley Davison motorcycle, was not impressed. He said, “I think the ban is very offensive, considering we recently raised £450 for SARA (Severn Area Rescue Authority). We’re angry, it’s discrimination.” Landlord Chas Phipps responded, “The trouble is they come as a club with 10 or 12 machines roaring and people start complaining about the noise. The bikes roar through the whole of the valley and you can’t sleep through the noise. I said ‘no’ to the bikers for that reason. I’ve had complaints before, but it’s come to a head. It’s my licence and I have to protect it.” He added, “The bikers are quite nice lads and I’ve never had a problem with them. It’s not done out of animosity.”
The Forest Folk Club was held in the function room of the Royal Oak in May 2015, and was still hosted there in August 2017. The Forest Folk Club currently meets at the Orepool in Sling.
At the time of writing (Summer 2019) the Royal Oak is closed. It faces an uncertain future.
Landlords at the Royal Oak include:
The New Inn was licensed between 1825 and 1875. I have found no other references to it.
Rising Sun Inn, Coleford Road NP16 7HY
In 1891 the Rising Sun was tied to Daniel Sykes & Co. of the Redcliffe Brewery in Bristol, although just six years later the brewery had merged with the Bristol United Brewery. The Redcliffe Brewery at 107 Redcliffe Street closed altogether in 1898. The Rising Sun at Woodcroft was only one of two Forest of Dean pubs tied to Bristol United Breweries at that time – the other was the nearby Live and Let Live in Tutshill. Presumably the Bristol brewed beers were transported by railway to the Chepstow area through the Severn Tunnel, which opened in 1886. The annual rateable value of the Rising Sun was £18.0s.0d. in 1891 and 1903. It closed at 10 pm.
Bristol United Breweries were acquired by George’s Bristol Brewery in 1956, and the Rising Sun became part of the Courage Brewery estate when the Bristol Brewery was taken over by Courage, Barclay & Co. just five years later in 1961. In 2001 the Rising Sun was owned by Inspired Inns based in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
In October 2006 a review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper was quite positive about the Rising Sun giving it top marks for service and 9 out of 10 for atmosphere and food. It noted that ‘the Rising Sun prides itself on first-rate fresh products and a real passion for food. The restaurant is particularly renowned for its seafood dishes.’ The fresh fish was sourced daily from the fish markets in Brixham and Bristol. The reviewer commented, “The opportunity to eat good fresh fish does not come often, so as a fish fan, I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity. For the main course I had a swordfish steak on a bed of rice served in a smoked salmon sauce and a Thai seafood stir-fry. The succulent swordfish was delicious, the highlight of the meal, while the stir-fry was also a winner.”
Yet just two years later a follow up review in the ‘Forester’ seemed to contradict the praise given to it stating, ‘Having fallen on hard times the Rising Sun is rising again under its new owners. The restaurant has kept its tradition of excellent food but has lost the pretentious air it had under its previous owners’. The reviewer summarised, ‘The pub has ditched the fussy service and pretension of grandeur of old and replaced it with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere that immediately puts you at ease. It now feels like a place where you would be welcome. By taking this approach the future seems bright for the Rising Sun.’
But the Rising Sun had closed by 2011. Worthy Developments, who had acquired the pub, submitted plans to convert the premises into housing. The plans were vehemently opposed by the residents of Woodcroft, fearing that they would permanently lose the only pub in the village. Forest of Dean District Council received a petition of over 1,000 people objecting to the development supported by 135 letters in favour of keeping the pub open. There was only one letter expressing support for the proposed development. The ‘Save Our Sun’ Action Group was set up and campaigners successfully secured an Asset of Community Value protection for the Rising Sun in December 2013. The ACV afforded the opportunity for the Woodcroft Community to raise necessary funds for the purchase of the Rising Sun on the provision that they could prove its viability as a going concern.
Chepstow based Worthy Developments were approached with view for a sale. Two successive offers were firmly rejected by the development company. Forest of Dean District Council dismissed the application for conversion in September 2014 concluding that it would be an unacceptable loss of a community facility stating that ‘the developers have not demonstrated that every reasonable attempt has been made to find an alternative use that could maintain it as a public facility or re-open it as a public house as it is the last one in the village.’ Dr Michelle Hayes, chairman of the Save Our Sun committee said, “Lack of need has not been proven by the applicant. Quite the opposite, given the amount of community support, with a petition of more than 1,000 signatures.” In response a spokesman for Worthy Developments claimed that the Rising Sun had “been operating unsuccessfully by numerous tenants. This property has been vacant since 2012 and for the last five years the pub has only been open for 11 months. The last occupants went into administration with a public auction being held after a one-year period of marketing. It is not a complete shock or surprise that the village has struggled to sustain a pub, given its history. We [Worthy Developments] consider that the applicant has sufficiently demonstrated that the Rising Sun is no longer viable and cannot be made so.”
A campaign to buy and re-open the Rising Sun had raised £216,000 in pledges by July 2018. The intention was to raise £350,000 towards a possible compulsory purchase. There is a crowd funding campaign in support.
Landlords at the Rising Sun include:
Carpenters Arms, Woolaston Common GL15 6NU
Woolaston is a large parish incorporating the isolated settlements of Woolaston, High Woolaston, Woolaston Slade, Woolaston Woodside and Woolaston Common. For the purpose of this website I have also included both the hamlets of Netherend and Brookend which are closest to the main A48 Gloucester to Chepstow Road.
The Carpenters Arms was situated on Woolaston Common and is believed to have been on the northern side of the unclassified road almost opposite the Rising Sun Inn.
William Tudor is described in the 1876 Morris Directory as a beer retailer. He was the owner and occupier of the Carpenters Arms in 1891 and 1903. At that time the pub was a free house with an annual rateable value of £15.7s.0d. The Carpenters Arms was licensed as a beer house.
Dukes Head, Brookend GL15 6PW
The name of the Old Dukes Head was given to another old inn in Brookend. This was on the northern side of the main road and the property is now known as Lansdown House. In 1772 the inn is recorded as the Duke of Beaufort’s Head. According to Heather Hurley in her book “Pubs of the Royal Forest of Dean” the Duke of Beaufort’s Hotel might have replaced an earlier inn on or near the same site, which was known by the sign of Worcester’s Head in 1685. The inn was recorded as the Old Dukes Head from the mid 19th century.
It seems that Charles Madgwick was the last landlord at the Dukes Head. There are no references to the pub after 1906 which suggests that the Dukes Head had closed by the First World War.
In 1891 the Dukes Head was in the ownership of Charles Rymer who leased it to Samuel Barnard. Samuel Fisher Barnard with his brother John Fisher Barnard (Fisher was their mother’s maiden name) were tenants themselves at the Feathers Hotel in Lydney. Trading as Barnard Brothers they had established a small brewery at the back of the Feathers to supply a handful of pubs in the Forest of Dean. Beers were supplied to the New Inn in Bream, and the Bridge Inn and Step-a-Side in Lydney. It is worth reflecting that, if the records are correct, in 1891 beer drinkers in the tiny hamlet of Brookend could drink rare brews from Barnard Bros Feathers Hotel ‘Home’brew’d’ and from Gardner and Branch’s Brewery in St Mary Street, Gloucester.
The annual rateable value of the Dukes Head was £16.5s.0d. in 1891 and 1903. It was a licensed ale house with a closing time at 10pm. The Wickwar Brewery of Arnold, Perrett & Co. Ltd. had bought the property from Charles Rymer by 1903.
Landlords at the Dukes Head include:
Netherend Inn, Netherend GL15 6NN
The Harris family were the owners of the Netherend Inn in 1891 and 1903. Elizabeth Harris was the owner in 1891 and Annie Harris had taken ownership in 1903. More research is required to establish if they were mother and daughter or perhaps sisters. They both ran the pub as a free house. The Netherend Inn was licensed as a beer house with an annual rateable value of £15.7s.6d. Closing time was at 10 pm.
The Sealed Knot Civil War re-enactment group revived a Good Friday tradition in April 2000 when hot cross buns were distributed to the children of the village from the steps of the Netherend Inn. Sallie and Keith James, regulars at the pub, lived in a property where a legacy was entailed by owner Mary Smart on their home in 1685 which decreed that her estate should bequeath the annual sum of £1 to provide bread for the widows and orphans of the parish.
In July 2008 owner of the Netherend Inn, Dave Dunston, expressed his concern about the downturn in trade claiming that the credit crunch was adversely impacting on trade, “It’s a long hard push at the moment no matter what we try. We have regular quiz and cribbage teams in the winter but people don’t come and drink in village pubs as often as they used to.”
Alastair Fraser was the Councillor for Tidenham in 2010. Alastair was a farmer and cared for more than 100 animals, including a three-year old blind wild boar called Stevie Wonder. When an orphaned two-week old wild boar was found in the woods near the Netherend Inn in January 2010 it was taken care of by landlord Dave Dunston who contacted Alastair for advice. Nicknamed Ella, the baby wild boar was fed on goat’s milk. Dave said, “She’s lovely and litter trained too. At one point she was running around then she scampered off to the litter tray, had a wee, and then run off again.” Alastair Fraser added, “She is ultra-intelligent, just like a dog really. She is wonderful to look after. I won’t be releasing her back into the wild, she will have too much of a human footprint. She will join the collection now.”
Landlords of the Netherend Inn include:
Rising Sun Inn, Woolaston Common GL15 6NU
Sir W.H. Marling was the owner of the Rising Sun in 1891 and 1903. He ran the pub as a free house. The Rising Sun had an annual rateable value of £12.17s.6d. in 1891 and 1903 and was a licensed beer house, closing each night at 10 pm.
An ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper in May 2008 began with this appraisal, ‘If you are looking for a traditional pub with great, hearty home-cooked food you need look no further. The Rising Sun is a friendly, family pub with a large beer garden for summer and a roaring fire in winter.’ The review continued, “My family and I have been going to the Rising Sun for years and are among the large number of locals who keep coming back for more. Simplicity is the secret to the pub’s success. The food is homemade the prices reasonable and the service is fast. The pub is also renowned for its real ales and has been featured in the Good Beer Guide for the last 25 years. Phil and Von Brockwell celebrated their 30th anniversary in charge of the Rising Sun this year and their continued success is down to their appeal to local people and visitors alike. The pub is particularly busy in the summer where its large beer garden and views over the Forest are a real draw.”
Phil and Von Brockwell retired from the pub trade in 2010. The Rising Sun was taken over by John Isaacs and Maria Young. In January 2013 a follow-up ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ note that ‘This Wooolaston pub doesn’t try to be a fancy gastro-pub or restaurant – it does what it says so on the tin. And in doing so, it makes it one of the nicest places to spend an evening – especially if you sample some of their home-made food. The Rising Sun is how I imagine a village pub to be – the ceilings are low, the stone walls are left untouched, the furniture is traditional and the fire is roaring in the corner.’
Like Phil and Von, John and Maria have a simple philosophy. They serve home-made fare and a good selection of real ales. The reviewer in January 2013 noted that along with the traditional ales and food, John and Maria also do something else which is often overlooked – exceptional customer service. Another ‘eating out’ review in February 2014 concluded with ‘This isn’t a pub I would necessarily visit for a romantic candle-lit dinner or for an anniversary meal but, on a Saturday evening after a good dog walk, when you want to sit by the fire and have something tasty with a few real ales, there aren’t many better places.’
Landlords at the Rising Sun include:
Woolaston Inn / Queens Head, Brookend GL15 6PW (old building, south side of A48)
The inn, on the south side of the main road to the east of Brookend on the corner of Station Road, was originally known as the Dukes Head. It had a brief spell as the Queens Head in the 1850’s, but the name had changed to the Woolaston Inn by 1863.
The annual rateable value of the Woolaston Inn in 1891 and 1903 was £16.5s.0d. It was licensed as an ale house and closed at 10 pm.
The Gloucester based brewery Gardner & Branch (Crown Brewery, St Marys Street) owned the Woolaston Inn in 1891. This was probably their furthest outlet from the brewery. The business was acquired by Ind Coope & Co. of Burton on Trent in 1895. It seems that Ind Coope then sold the Woolaston Inn to the Stroud Brewery Company. It was in their estate in 1926.
Major P.J.Bradley, M.C. T.D., was given the title of ‘Outside Manager’ when he worked for the Stroud Brewery. He presided at the Woolaston Inn Darts Club Dinner in June 1951, no doubt holding the esteemed position of Outside Manager he enjoyed a prestigious and extremely important position within the hierarchy of management at the brewery. Stating the blindingly obvious he told the darts club diners, “The village pub helps in no small way to peace and happiness in this country, if unfortunately, we have not international peace.”
In 1961 the license of the Woolaston Inn was transferred to a new building, presumably built by the Stroud Brewery, on the northern side of the road. The original Woolaston Inn is now a private residence called Brookend House.
Landlords at the ‘old’ Woolaston Inn include:
Woolaston Inn, Brookend GL15 6PW (new building, north side of A48)
The Woolaston Inn was built by the Stroud Brewery Company in 1961. Ownership later passed to West Country Breweries and then, presumably to Whitbread. The Woolaston Inn had closed for a number of years when it was bought and re-opened as a free house by Lydney entrepreneur Dean James in 2005.
The Woolaston Inn was an all-day carvery in 2006 but also hosted outside music events. In the summer of 2006 around 35 residents living near the pub on the A48 complained about noise claiming that it had spoilt their quality of life at home. There were also concerns that drivers attending the events had parked dangerously outside the main road. A resident said, “Over the last three bank holidays they’ve had quite loud events which have caused excessive noise. It’s a quiet rural area which people have chosen to settle in and the Woolaston Inn has started these events with no regard for the residents.” Speaking for Gloucestershire police a spokesman said that they were only able to respond to crime and disorder which did not apply to these events and parking on grass verges created a potential hazard but was not illegal.
Enterprise Inns acquired the Woolaston Inn in April 2008. The property was being offered on a lease for a term of between five and 25 years with a tie on drinks products. The Pub Company sought a rent of £40,000 a year, rising to £60,000 in the second year with the proviso that it was subject to RPI and a formal rent review after five years. It was described as a substantial detached property set within about one acre constructed in the 1960’s which has gone refurbishment to provide ample trade areas and nine constructed en-suite letting rooms.
In April 2009 the Woolaston Inn was being run by Becci Staniland and her partner Dan Adams. They appointed a new chef, Patrick Carney, who had previously worked with celebrity cooks Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. Becci said, “He is absolutely amazing, we’ve had to change our whole menu since he took over because he’s too good just to be cooking pub grub.” The new menu secured locally sourced food that included slow-roasted belly of pork, pot roasted lamb and mouth-watering deserts such as berry-infused crème brulee. However, just a few months later (July 2009) a new chef was serving faggots and mash with peas. There was a curry and a pint for £5.95 every Wednesday and Fishy Friday, home-made chips and peas for £6.95. An ‘eating out’ review described the pub as ‘modern and clean with two large leather sofas and bar stools scattered around and next to the bar is a games room and doors that open out to an outdoor seating area.’
By the end of the year the Woolaston Inn had changed hands again. Trinidadian chef Ivor De Lloyd brought a flavour of the Caribbean to the Forest of Dean. Ivor had previously worked as a personal chef for a billionaire in Mustique where he also cooked for celebrities including Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and Shania Twain. Launched as Caribe at the Woolaston Inn in November 15th 2009 it featured authentic Caribbean cuisine such as jerk chicken, fish baked in banana leaves and calypso pork along with a range of cocktails. Ivor said, “I think now is a great time to open a Caribbean restaurant. With Levi roots’ cookery programmes on TV and the success of Reggae Reggae sauce people are becoming more interested in West Indian food. We will also do some British dishes with a Caribbean twist so there’s something for everyone.” An ‘eating out’ review in December 2009 described the Woolaston Inn ‘fluttering with West Indian flags, steel drum music and a dining area filled with lush tropical plants.’ A take-a-way service was offered in March 2010.
Enterprise Inns, owners of the Woolaston Inn put the restaurant and pub up for sale in July 2010 for £345,000. Ivor De Lloyd said that he would be sad to leave. He had turned down the offer of a new premises offered by Enterprise Inns. Less than a year later the pub had closed.
It re-opened as the Gurkha Restaurant and Bar, specialising in Nepalese cuisine. Their website give detail that ‘blending both Oriental and Indian flavour into our food, we provide a selection of original dishes that are created to perfection by our experienced and skilled chefs to give you a taste of authentic Napalese cuisine. Plus, we also boast a separate bar to our restaurant where you can enjoy a beverage with your friends and family.’ The Woolaston Inn also offers overnight stay facilities at their B&B.
Landlords at the ‘new’ Woolaston Inn include:
Bailey Inn, Bailey Hill GL15 4RP
The Bailey Inn is on the corner of Bailey Hill and Oldcroft Road. The Bailey Mound stands on the site of a mine air shaft and has long made a favourite slide for the children.
Edith Jones was the owner of the Bailey Inn in 1891 and 1903. She ran it free from brewery tie in late Victorian times but had leased it out to the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery of Shepton Mallet in 1903. The annual rateable value of the Bailey Inn was £12.0s.0d. but the licensing books does not stipulate whether it was a beer house or an ale house. With a low rateable value of £12.0s.0d. however, it was probably a humble beer house.
In the Morris 1876 directory there is a reference to Arthur Henry Morse, carpenter, joiner and agent for Collier & Co’s Bristol Ales & Porter. I have found no other reference to Collier & Co, but the succession of brewery ownership of the Bailey Inn to Anglo-Bavarian may suggest that Collier & Co were acquired by Charles Garton, brewers of Bristol (Easton Road, Lawrence Hill), who were subsequently acquired by the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery in 1898.
In June 1974 a horse named Trigger, belonging to Mr Clifford Wayman of the Bailey Inn was rescued from a disused mineshaft near Danby Lodge. At that time the Bailey was a Whitbread pub, inherited from the licensed properties of West Country Breweries. A ‘Best in the West’ – 1760 – West Country Ales’ ceramic plaque is still in situ.
Gary and Valerie Brown bought the freehold of the Bailey Inn early in 2008. An ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper noted that Gary and Valerie were hoping that the pub became renowned for its organic food. An advertisement (July 2008) proclaimed that the Bailey Inn offered a ‘truly organic experience’. The advert read: ‘Here at the Bailey Inn we don’t serve fast food, just good food as fast as we can. We serve only British meat, mainly organic and some free range. Our vegetables are organic and locally sourced too. Our menu includes organic burgers, our own organic meatballs, and specials such as Welsh steak and ale pie and fillet steak. Vegetarians are well catered for with dishes such as spicy bean casserole, Mediterranean cous-cous salad and mushroom and red pepper Balti.’
In response to popular television talents shows such as the ‘X Factor’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ the Bailey Inn created their own open-mic contest which developed into ‘Bailey’s Got Talent’. Generous cash prizes of up to £1,000 were on offer in October 2008 when six musical acts battled it out for the prize after ten weeks of heats and two semi-finals. A diverse range of music from punk, trad jazz and blues/skiffle was represented by contesting bands. Landlord Gary Brown said, “There is so much talent in the Forest and we wanted to put on a contest. We want to give them a chance to perform live and will give them plenty of support.”
Renowned First World War poet F.W. Harvey lived in Yorkley for the last 30 years of his life. His home was almost opposite the Bailey, and he spent many happy hours in the pub. In April 2010 the Bailey Inn teamed up with the F.W. Harvey Society and launched a ‘Rhymin’ Slams’ monthly event where people could read a poem or recite or sing their own words or songs. The Society’s Chair Roger Deeks said, “Will Harvey was never precious about his poetry, wanting to get across to as many people as possible his vision of the world. He would have enjoyed seeing his local pub stage an opportunity for people to get together and express themselves. Rhymin’ Slam is a great opportunity for people to perform and experience the power of words and change how we see things.”
Landlords at the Bailey Inn include:
Crown Inn, Crown Lane GL15 4TP
When the property estate of the Forest Brewery in Mitcheldean was offered for sale in 1923, the Crown was included and the inventory of sale described the inn as a ‘very attractive property, lately rebuilt at considerable outlay, stone building with rough cast’. On the ground floor there was a ‘bar, smoke room, beer stores, kitchen, scullery, larder, etc.’ There were three bedrooms and a club room on the first floor and a further bedroom and a lumber room on the second floor. To the rear there was an ‘excellent range of stone outbuildings, urinal, two closets, wash-house, coal store, small garden.’ The particulars went on to say that ‘the property is of freehold tenure and let to Mrs Elizabeth Morgan, a tenant of about 24 years’ standing, on quarterly tenancy at £60 per annum.’
The Brown family were the owners of the Crown Inn in 1891 and 1903. Thomas Brown is recorded as the owner in 1891, and Lois Brown in 1903. At the time the Crown was a free house with an annual rateable of £12.0s.0d. It had a beer house licence and closing time was at 10 pm.
Landlords at the Crown Inn include:
George Inn, George Road GL15 4TL
The Coleford Police Court heard in August 1897 that 'Robert White, landlord of the George Beerhouse, Yorkley, was fined ten shillings and costs on the 12th January 1897 for selling beer during prohibited hours.’
Stroud Brewery were the owners of the George Inn as early as 1891. It remained in their ownership until the late 1950’s when the Stroud and Cheltenham breweries amalgamated to form West Country Breweries. The annual rateable value of the George Inn, a licensed beer house, was set at £12.0s.0d. in 1891 and 1903 with a closing time at 10 pm.
Evelyn Beard is the daughter of Horace and Meg (Margaret) Ellway, who ran the George Inn from the late 1930’s until 1957. Evelyn remembers the time when Stroud Brewery beer was in short supply during and after the Second World War. She said, “Beer was scarce at the time, and once a barrel was opened it was sold very quickly until it ran out with everyone buying pints instead of halves to make sure they got their share. The pub would then have to close until the next delivery.’ She also recalled a woman named Hilda Akers who was rather partial to a glass of beer and, apparently, was the first woman to regularly drink at the George sometime during or after the war. She recalled Mrs Akers sitting in the Smoke Room drinking beer and bemused men going from the Tap Room to the Smoke Room just to see her supping her ale. Evelyn also recalled, “a couple of other memories was that Woodbines cost 4d per packet of 10, or 5 wrapped in paper for tuppence (2d.) Players cigarettes were six pence for 10. Plenty of tobacco was sold to the older men who smoked pipes whilst they played cards in the Tap Room.”
Landlords at the George Inn include:
Nags Head, Slade Road, GL15 4RX
A dark chapter in the history of the Forest of Dean occurred on the night of the 29th July in 1851 at the Nags Head. A 26-year old man named Hiram Archer was drinking with his friends at the pub. They were all local lads who worked together down the mine at Parkend. Fuelled by too much alcohol an argument ensued and a scuffle broke out. Hiram Archer was apparently always getting into trouble and was well known by the local constabulary. The landlord, William Charles, sent for the police but the young men dispersed. What happened next was described by the local newspapers as ‘The Brutal Outrage in the Forest’. A middle-aged woman called Mary McCarthy was apparently warming herself by a brazier outside the Nags Head. With Hiram Archer acting as the callous ringleader she was set upon and systematically raped in turn by nine men. Archer and his accomplices were sentenced to transportation for life. Hiram Archer died in October 1853, aged 28, having contracted yellow fever.
Stroud Brewery owned both the George and the Nags Head in Yorkley in 1891. The annual rateable value of the Nags Head was £14.8s.0d. and it was a fully licensed ale house. In 1906 the closing time of the Nags Head was 10 pm. Stroud Ales could be enjoyed at the Nags Head for a further 67 years until the amalgamation with the Cheltenham Brewery in 1958 to form West Country Breweries Holdings. The Nags Head then became a Whitbread pub. In 2013 it was owned by Admiral Taverns. A reminder of its past brewing heritage is a ‘West Country Ales – 1760 – Best in the West’ ceramic plaque that is inlaid into the wall by the front entrance.
Myra Byett became the landlady of the Nags Head in January 1983. At the time of her 30 years’ service behind the bar in 2013 Myra was the longest-serving licensee in the Forest of Dean. Her daughter Sara Byett organised a surprise party for Myra and her regular customers at the Nags Head. For one night only a couple of barrels of beer, donated by the brewery (Admiral Taverns), were sold at early 1980’s prices – just 50 pence a pint. A 1980’s fancy dress disco was the highlight of the evening. Myra said, “The Nags Head is the first and only pub I have run, and I don’t know where the last 30 years have gone. It’s a beautiful building and, apart from the windows, it is exactly the same pub today as it was in 1983.” She added, “The Nags Head is a real homely place and we are always hosting annual events for the community such as a bonfire for Guy Fawkes Night and a Santa’s Grotto at Christmas. I’ve seen generations of the same family come and drink in the pub and I’ve made plenty of lifetime friendships during my time here.” Admiral Taverns also sent Myra some complimentary T-Shirts to mark the anniversary – but spelt her name wrong.
In 2010 Myra started to serve food at the Nags Head. An ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper in November of 2010 noted that ‘the pub offers a cheap and cheerful service with no frills. The menu consists of the usual pub food suspects, including scampi, cod, curry and lamb shanks in mint gravy sauce.’
Landlords of the Nags Head include:
Royal Oak GL15 4TA
Yorkley would have been a great place for a pub crawl in late Victorian times. Beer drinkers could enjoy the local Wintle’s Forest Brewery ales at the Royal Oak then nip over the road for a pint of Stroud Ales at the George. A quick walk down the hill to the Stag Inn for a pint of Tewkesbury Brewery ale followed by a walk back up the hill to enjoy a pint of Anglo-Bavarian Somerset ale at the Bailey Inn. If time allowed there was always the opportunity to sample more Stroud beer at the Nags Head.
When the property of the Forest Brewery in Mitcheldean was put up for auction in 1923 the sale particulars described the Royal Oak at Yorkley as a freehold beer house with a bar, smoke room, beer store, kitchen and wash-house on the ground floor. On the first floor there were two bedrooms and a club room. To the rear and at the side there was a ‘garden, pig cots, closet and stabling for two’. It was a stone built building and the property was let to Mrs Phillips, ‘a tenant of about 29 years’ standing , on quarterly tenancy of £26 per annum. This included a ‘meadow with valuable frontage and two adjoining cottages ‘which the tenant sub-lets at a total inclusive rent of £13 per annum.’
The Royal Oak was almost opposite the George Inn. There is a private residence called Royal Oak Cottage.
Landlords at the Royal Oak include:
Stag Inn, Stag Hill GL15 4TD
Gloucester Journal 24th January 1903. Prosecution in Dean Forest – a Landlady Convicted: The Coleford Justices had before them on Wednesday the case in which Eliza Smith, landlady of the Stag Inn, Yorkley, was summoned by P.C. Honeybone for selling 6d. worth of brandy to a lad under fourteen years of age. The defendant was ordered to pay 5s.6d. costs. The court heard that ‘the brandy was for a woman who was ill. The bottle was properly sealed and it had not been broken’. Mr Bertham urged that under the circumstances the case not to be registered.
The pub was bought by Albert Brown in the early 1930's. (Albert was the father of Edwin Brown - see Bailey Inn).
The Stag closed when the landlady, Margaret Brown, took retirement in 1954. The Stag Inn has been a private residence since the 1950's. The house is named the Old Stag.
Landlords at the Stag Inn include: