In 1876 the landlord of the inn was William Thorn, a blacksmith by trade, and the premises was listed as not having a name. Presumably the occupation of William Thorn gave the Blacksmiths Arms its name. Listed in both 1891 and 1903 as a beerhouse with an annual rateable value of £21.10s.0d., the Blacksmiths Arms was free of brewery tie and owned by Phoebe Thorn. Closing time in 1903 was 10pm. Phoebe Thorn is also mentioned at the pub in 1892. In 1939 Albert W.Thorn is recorded as landlord, so the pub was in the same family for at least 63 years.
The Blacksmiths Arms is an attractive traditional sandstone building with rendering on the upper floor, featuring raised stone lettering bearing the pub name. The Blacksmith Arms have a dedicated website (as seen in April 2019) in which the following description is taken. ‘Situated in the village of Alvington on the A48 between Chepstow and Gloucester this traditional village inn features a character bar and snug room, two restaurants, a pool room equipped for darts, large garden with a children’s play area, and can provide accommodation or camping facilities.’
‘The Blacksmiths Arms originated in 1820 as cottage dwellings with fruit orchards producing local cider. Traditions of warming jugs of cider on the cast iron hobs are remembered to this day and the early Victorian fires and old wood panel seats have been retained to create an atmosphere of old-world charm. These days the Blacksmiths is well known throughout the area for its extensive and varied menu as well as a good selection of beers, wines and real ales.’
The Citizen: 30th January, 1989 – Publicans call time: Landlords Dave and Dee Taylor are leaving one of the Forest of Dean’s most historic pubs after lovingly restoring much of its character. Deeds dating to 1820 show the Blacksmiths’ Arms, Alvington, was originally two cottages with a cider mill. The drink was apparently sold to pubs and other venues with the building actually gaining its own drinks licence in the early 1900’s. The inn also had another ‘cottage industry’ – boot making. “The miners used to go there to be measured up for their boots and were given a hot dinner.” Explains Dave (48). “Then they returned six weeks later for the finished product. The pub also kept pigs.”
The couple, who took over three years ago, have turned the hostelry into an ‘eating pub’. They have added an extra dining room and a children’s room. The family have made a strong impression on the local community and organised events including entries in the Aylburton bed race and the first ever raft race at Lydney Docks.
Dave and Dee, who have a son, Philip, and daughter April, plan to return to their roots in Oxfordshire. Dave may go back to his first love, teaching art, as well as doing relief bar work.
Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): This is a surprise, a stone terraced cottage pub filled to the beams with atmosphere and offering among other things “real Indian cuisine”. Crammed with Victoriana, with little dark nooks and crannies where customers can dine and drink in secure privacy, and there is a live fire too. A small bright bar one end dispenses (via two friendly ladies) Triple Crown, Worthington and Yorkshire Bitter, plus a way out line in potato crisps, Madras Poppadoms, if you don’t mind. This once old cider den boasts an unusually inventive menu which includes the ultimate glutton’s feast, called the Blacksmith’s Barbeque it incudes an 8 oz steak, a chop, a hunk of chicken and sundry other veggie turn ons. “Popular” pub dishes include the usual items and yet more delicious Curry. Prints, bric-a-brac, old settles, brasses and old furniture make this a fun pull in.
CAMRA Good Beer Guide: Listed in 1989
Landlords at the Blacksmiths Arms include:
1891,1903 Phoebe Thorn
1939 Albert W. Thorn
1986-1989 Dave Taylor