The Berkeley Arms, a red bricked pub on the banks of the River Severn, is a classic old fashioned pub with a totally unspoilt interior. It is listed in the CAMRA National Inventory of Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest – one of only two in Gloucestershire (See also the Red Lion at Ampney St Peter, near Cirencester).
Sadly, since the death of the last landlord Ted Lord, the Berkeley Arms has closed and faces an uncertain future.
A previous landlady, Jennifer Lord, wrote about her time at the pub in the Dursley Gazette in July 2000: “It was my great joy to hear the water slapping over the breakwater and to observe the orange and red sunsets and hear the cry of the wild geese as they moved on from their incredible journey to the new grounds and to Peter Scott’s wildfowl sanctuary. Outside the pub was a 200 year old walnut tree which in some years produced small very sweet walnuts.”
A wooden sign on the wall of the pub still advertises the Berkeley Brewery, the micro brewery established at Bucketts Hill Farm near Sharpness by the late Dave McCredie in 1996.
The Campaign for Real Ale’s website, What Pub!, give the following account of the Berkeley Arms at Purton. – ‘Overlooking the River Severn, this a completely unspoiled, no-frills rural pub. The interior consists of a tiny drinking area in front of a servery which dates back to Victorian times and it is here that you will find a loyal band of locals drinking and chatting abut all things local and beyond. On the left is separate room with a genuinely old flagstone floor, large high-backed settle, large stone fireplace with a log burner, a piano (which is still played occasionally) and a hatch to the side of the servery. This is one of a fast disappearing type of pub offering the essentials of good conversation and good beer – there is no food, no TV, no pool table, no fruit machine (and piped music is at a very low level). The pub is on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.’
Despite a strict ‘no photography’ rule enforced by the late Ted Lord, these surreptitious images were taken inside the Berkeley Arms when no one was watching!
The pub lease for the Berkeley Arms became available in February 2021. Marketed by Fluerets they said: ‘Our clients, the Berkeley Castle Estate, want to investi n this public house to enable it to have a secure future and become a well known destination public house on the banks of the River Severn. The site comprises not only the public house, but also the outbuildings and barns which offer the potential for conversion, perhaps to letting rooms or function facilities.’
Map Reference: SO 691045
Owner in 1891: Lord Fitzhardinge (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1891: £16.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Lord Fitzhardinge (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1903: £45.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords at the Berkeley Arms include:
1858 Daniel Jones (Farmer)
1879 George Hodder
1885,1891 William Jones
1897 James Hodder (Farmer)
1902,1903,1906,1927 James William Cox (1923 reference to William James Cox)
1931 Thomas Keedwell
Pre/post war – Lionel Keedwell
? Jennifer Lord
Ted Lord (Farmer)