The Stroud Brewery owned the Old Crown Inn in 1891 (Watts & Co) and 1903 (Stroud Brewery Company). The pub was a licensed beer house with an annual rateable value of £12.0s.0d. Closing time was at 10 pm. At the time the Old Crown Inn must have been one of their furthest pubs from the brewery. When the Stroud Brewery amalgamated with Cheltenham & Hereford Breweries in 1958 to form West Country Breweries the Crown Inn became absorbed into the large pub estate of the regional brewery based in Cheltenham. Whitbread Flowers eventually disposed of pubs following the ‘Beer Orders’ of 1989 and the Crown in St Briavels came into the control and ownership of pub company, Enterprise Inns.

The Crown Inn closed in February 2011. In December of that year an application was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council for ‘proposed alterations and extension of Crown Inn public house to create dwelling.’

Gloucester Journal, May 24th 1879: Lydia Williams and Clara Steel, young respectable looking women of Clearwell, were charged at Coleford Magistrates Court with drunkenness on May 5th. PC Martin proved that at about 10 o’clock at night he was at St Briavels and heard a great noise and shouting near the Crown beerhouse. On going there, he found the two defendants drunk and quarrelling. Witness requested them to go home and after a lot of persuasion they went. Subsequently they began quarrelling with other women, calling them foul names. They then left the village and near the Lime Kilns the defendant Williams began fighting with an old woman named Stockford. Some 20 or 30 boys and girls followed defendants, hooting them out of the village. Fined five shillings each and costs.

During the Second World War Stroud Brewery tried to supply their ales to their pub estate, but difficulties in obtaining malted barley and sugar for brewing necessitated lowering the original gravity of their ales resulting in weaker inferior beer. The brewery could not keep up with demand. Cost of transportation was another factor in the economy drive. A far-flung outlet such as the Old Crown inevitably was the first to suffer from shortages. A notice on the door in 1944 read, ‘We have no ale, no beer or stout… our week’s supply has run out… we have no sherry, wine or gin… only cider is within’.  A few days later another note appeared, ‘Before you enter through the door… please kindly note what’s on the floor.’ On the doormat a sign read ‘NO CIDER’.

Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): Whilst not the most attractive of interiors (perhaps the breweries should occasionally assist efficient and decent landlords by spending a bit more on their dreary properties), this is still a popular little one bar job with a pool table (cries of Ugh! all round) at one end and a formica style tables and chairs the other. Punters may dine off a snack menu featuring various inexpensive hot and cold dishes. A pleasant landlady keeps the pot a’boiling. There is a usual range of brewer’s beers [Whitbread], a slot machine and minimum parking.

In March 2002 Enterprise Inns evaluated the public houses within their extensive property portfolio and decided to dispose of 144 of their pubs, the Crown Inn being one of those selected. It was on the market for £145,000. Fortunately, there was strong interest from at least four potential buyers, so the future of the Crown Inn looked secured and able to thrive outside the restrictions imposed by the pub company. With an unusual honesty a spokesman from Enterprise Inns said, “We are selling [the Crown Inn] as part of a continuous evaluation exercise into our business and I think it would be a lot more successful as an individually owned public house.” The freehold interest was purchased by Shaun McIntyre and Sandra Watkins.

In October 2004 Sandra and Shaun Watkins sold the leasehold of the Crown to Kate Forte and Alan Palmer for an undisclosed sum from an asking price of £40,000. The sale particulars gave details of a ‘two-storey period building that is arranged over two floors with a public bar for 36-40 covers, a portioned games area with a pool table and dart-board, a central brick fireplace and a projector for a large pull-down screen.’ A spokesman for the commercial property agents handling the sale of the lease said, “Sandra and Shaun wanted to travel while they are both fit and healthy and as they still own the freehold, they will receive an annual rent, which will enable them to have the time to convert the barn in the grounds of the pub in between their globe-trotting.”  Shaun and Sandra returned to run the Crown Inn themselves in 2006. However, they decided to retire from the licensed trade altogether in 2007 and put the Crown Inn on the market with an asking price of £325,000 for the freehold interest.  Sadly Shaun passed away in 2008.

The new owners of the Crown Inn were Peter and Sarah Hazelehurst. They were joined by business partners Neal and Wendy Potter. In August 2007 they were planning to introduce homemade pub food and a range of real ales at the pub. When Moles Brewery of Wiltshire held a competition to name an anniversary ale to celebrate 25 years of brewing the regulars at the Crown came up with the name ‘Moleton Silver’ and were declared winners. 

The Crown Inn closed in February 2011. In December of that year an application was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council for ‘proposed alterations and extension of Crown Inn public house to create dwelling.’

Landlords at the Crown Inn include:

1849 Samuel Palmer (owned William Peel)

1891 William Holmes

1892 J. Holmes

1903 Lawrence Hughes

1939 Samuel Hobbs

2002-2007 Shaun McIntyre and Sandra Watkins (Crown Inn)

2007 (August) Pete and Sarah Haslehurst (Crown Inn)

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