The booklet ‘The History of the Parish of Great Witcombe’ compiled by M.M. Cox and E.M. Clifford in the 1950’s gives the following description: “ The last Court Leet of the Manor was held in 1852 at inn within the parish boundary, the Black Horse Ridge at Birdlip. This old Cotswold style house was called the Black Horse until 1900, when it was let as a private house to Mr Prothero, an architect of Cheltenham. Miss Ruth Mortlock Brown took over the lease in 1905 and greatly improved it. It is now occupied by the Misses Hunter. On the 7th July, 1846, the Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club was founded there after a 9 a.m. breakfast. On the 9th July, 1946, the first day of the Club’s Centenary celebrations, members and delegates assembled here, when they were welcomed by the Misses Hunter, after they were photographed and a plaque unveiled. The inscription reads: “The Cotteswold Naturalists’ Field Club first met here on 7th July, 1846.”

Gloucester Journal: October 11th, 1884: Yesterday afternoon the Corporation of Gloucester visited the Water Works at Witcombe and afterwards dined together at the Black Horse Hotel, Birdlip, on the invitation of Mr Blakeway. Town Clerk and his partner, Mr John H. Jones. The party was conveyed in two four-horse brakes. The mayor was unable to be present.

December 1886:  The ancient and famous Black Horse summer resort is now shut up and its licence cancelled. It has passed by the death of Lady Cromie into the position of Mr W.F. Hicks Beach, the Master of the Cotswold Hounds, who is about to convert it into a private residence.

The Gloucester ‘Citizen’ reported in August 1895 that the “Midland Railway ambulance corps annual picnic took place on Tuesday. The place visited this year was Birdlip, the journey being made through Barnwood. The Black Horse Temperance Hotel was the H.Q. and various excursions into the woods were made from that point.’” No doubt several members of the party opted for alcoholic liquid refreshment at the nearby Royal George Hotel before strolling through the woods.

Map Reference: SO 925144


1856 W. Pinching

1885 Robert H. Johnston

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