The 16th century Barrel Inn was located on the western side of the High Street between Smiths Lane and Quay Street (roughly mid way between the Britannia Inn and the Anchor Hotel). The Barrel had a full licence but was tied to the Stratford on Avon Flowers Brewery for beer only. (1891 & 1903 licensing books).

The Barrel had fine plate glass windows extending almost to the full length from floor to ceiling. Ancill’s Court, a passageway, divided the pub in two. To the right of Ancill’s court was a front bar room and a back bar, and to the left a small front room with a bar and a tiny snug. Behind this was domestic accommodation. There was also a skittle alley at the rear.

The Barrel Inn closed in 1965. The licence of the Barrel Inn was transferred to the new Canterbury pub.  It was demolished on 31st July 1971 and a nondescript modern building now stands on the site. A green and gold cask that used to hang over the doorway was removed upon closure and may still be in existence.

Barrel Inn pub token found by Kevan Parker. John Ball James was landlord of the pub from 1901 to 1907.

From ‘Tewkesbury Pubs’ by B.R. Linnell (1972, second edition 1996)

Where did it go, that elegant green and gold model cask that used to hang over the doorway of the Barrel Inn at 34 High Street? Taken away in 1965 when the house closed, years before the day, July 31st, 1971 when the whole area was bulldozed to make way for a supermarket. It seems odd in these days when almost anyone can get a licence to sell liquor, in shops, cafe’s and newsagents, that in the 1960’s the local bench was firmly against the granting of new licences, which is why the ‘Canterbury’ was not allowed to open until the Barrel closed. The original transfer was granted in 1945 but Socialist-imposed priorities put new pubs way down on the list.

Like many public houses on the street fronts access to the bars was made off a side passage, which, in this case, allowed the whole front to be filled with large etched glass windows. These windows were the additions to a 16th century timber frame. At the time of closure Tewkesbury was in the grip of the developer, someone who made a lot of money pulling down mediaeval pubs like the Barrel and putting brick and concrete office blocks and shops in their place.

The name ‘Barrel’ has not, so far, been noted before 1841 when a licence, a full one, was transferred to James Dee. It holds the dubious record of the most licensees in one year – four – in January, February, March and November 1907. From 1960 onwards times were hard and not even the revival of the skittle alley could make things viable. It was particularly hard hit when the market closed, being a ‘Market House’ within the specified distance of a market and therefore permitted extended hours.

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Flowers & Sons, Brewers, Stratford on Avon

Rateable value in 1891: £19.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903:  Flowers & Sons, Brewers, Stratford on Avon

Rateable value in 1903: £28.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Landlords at the Barrel Inn include:

1841-1845  James Dee

1845  Louisa Jeffs (widow)

1863- 1868  Mary Ann Willcox

-1872 James Ball

-1872 Richard Wells

1891 Fanny Hoare

1891-1900 Catherine Crisp

1900  W. D. Applebly

1900-1901 Alexander Romanes

1901-1907 John Ball James  

1907 (February) Francis Oliver

1907 (March)  George Print

1907 (Nov)-1908  C.W. Stafford -Boucher

1908-1922  Thomas Halling

1922-1942 Thomas Wellon

1942  Frederick Bradford

1959-1963  Norman Jackson

1963-1965  Claire Ferriday

1965  John Chaffey

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