Frederick H. Hathaway owned the Cross Keys Inn in 1891 and 1903 and the premises was a free house with no brewery tie. Classified as a beer house the Cross Keys had an annual rateable value of £16.5s.0d. and closed each night at 11 pm.
The Cross Keys is brick built on the ground floor and has a timber framed upper floor with a twin gabled roof. It has two bay windows, which are joined by a wooden framed porch. It is probably of Victorian design and obviously has not been altered in any way. Records of the Cross Keys go back as far as 1821 suggesting that it might have been rebuilt. The Alton Court Brewery of Ross on Wye purchased the Cross Keys in 1906.
The Cross Keys passed to the ownership of the Stroud Brewery Company in the late 1950’s, subsequently being tied to West Country Breweries and Whitbread. A reminder of its past brewery heritage is a ‘West Country Ales – 1760 – Best in the West’ ceramic plaque still in situ.
An advertisement feature in the ‘Severn & Wye Review’ in June 1999 described how ‘times have certainly changed since a hooter sounded all over Lydney to signal the end of another shift at the Tinplate works. It was a tough place to earn a crust. The men were hard and the work was hot and the first place to which many of them headed was the Cross keys. Push bikes were piled by the dozen outside the pub as thirsts were quenched. The Tinworks has long gone but, fortunately, the Cross Keys remains. Now it is a go-ahead, modern pub though still retaining links with the past.’ In its heyday in 1881 the tinplate works and associated forges employed over 200 people.
Landlords at the Cross Keys include:
1891 James James.
1903 George James
1939 James Nelmes
1985 Roser & Valerie Edwards
1999 Richard and Stephanie Parsons
2007 Gordon Blower (Ian Noble – bar manager)