The pub was owned by the Stroud Brewery Company despite being in the shadow of Alan Neame’s Eagle Brewery. The Stroud petty sessions recommended closure of the Canal Tavern in March 1926 as they observed that there were ‘three other houses within 655 yards’.  In May 1890 a macabre event took place at the Canal Tavern. The corpse of a young child was retrieved from the canal at Bowbridge by a Frederick Meecham and then taken to the Canal Tavern. Meecham, who had been drinking, then proceeded to remove the trousers of the young corpse. When the landlord, Albert Spillard, protested Meecham became violent and physically assaulted him. In the subsequent court case Frederick Meecham was fined 2/6 for being drunk and disorderly and 11/- for the assault on Mr. Spillard. No reference was made to the untimely death of the poor infant. Albert Spillard had moved to the British Oak by 1902, a few yards away. According to the 1903 petty sessional divisional records the Canal Tavern, in the parish of Rodborough, closed at 10 p.m. whilst the British Oak, in Stroud town parish, closed at 11 p.m. I wonder if the landlords of the Canal Tavern were ever summoned for serving alcohol outside permitted hours? They would be entirely justified in believing that the licensing laws were unfair.

In July 1987 the old Canal Tavern was put up for sale with an asking price of £70,000. Renamed Bridge House the sales particulars described the property as a 300-year-old former tavern at the foot of Butterow Hill ‘which has been totally modernised with full gas fired central heating and double glazing. The olde world character has been well retained with plenty of ceiling beams and exposed stone walls. There’s a sitting/dining room with Inglenook fireplace, a fitted kitchen, downstairs bathroom, sun lounge, and two double bedrooms. There is parking for two cars and a landscaped rear garden with an ornamental pond and fountain.’

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Stroud Brewery

Rateable value in 1891: £12.15s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse

Owner in 1903: Stroud Brewery

Rateable value in 1903: £12.15s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse

Closing time in 1903:

Landlords at the Canal Tavern include:

1890 Albert Spillard

1891 Joshua Wilkins

1903 George Bowns

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