Situated at the far end of Horns Road near Stroud Cemetery. There is a stone plaque above the corner of the pub which reads ‘Hillgrove House.’

Charabanc trip from the Crown & Sceptre. Occasion and date unknown. (Rodda Thomas, landlord of the pub, would love to know where the men were going. The lady in white could be Clara Smith, mine-host at the pub in 1906).

The Stroud Brewery Courier, June 1949: ‘Congratulations are extended to five old gentleman who, between them, have been customers of the Crown & Sceptre Inn, Horns Road, Stroud for 258 years. Their individual records as customers are as follows:- A. Jones, 40 years: C. Saunders, 60 years; J. Belcher, 58 years; E. Saunders, 60 years and F. Hopson, 40 years. These records speak well for the fine quality of our ales, as well as the courtesy and attention given by the tenant of this house, Mr Charles Kent.’ 

The Citizen, 13th December 1988 – Ploughs to pints! Agricultural fitter Jim Hooper (37) has swapped ploughs for pints. He and his wife Pat are the new faces behind the bar of the Crown & Sceptre in Horns Road, Stroud.

“I had been in the same job in the same firm for 21 years and always wanted my own business,” said Jim. “My wife used to run a pub. It is a very friendly local, just what we were looking for.” With their 12-year-old daughter Jenny, they have moved from Malmesbury. Mrs Hooper used to work as an auxiliary nurse at a private nursing home in Tetbury. Their future plans include the introduction of pub grub – and ploughman’s will be a speciality.

‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’ (Gloucestershire CAMRA booklet, 1996)

Stroud News & Journal, 5th November 1997 – Too good to miss: Anyone with craft goods, home-grown produce or home-made food to sell should not miss a new Stroud market. The special neighbourhood car boot sale and market will be held every Saturday until Christmas from 10am to 3pm. The sale will be held at The Crown and Sceptre car park, at the corner of Horns Road and Spider Lane in Stroud.

The Citizen, 19th May 1999 – Marathon team hits bullseye: Marathon darts players have scored a magnificent £900 for charity at Stroud. Friends from the Crown & Sceptre pub collected the cash from sponsors after they kept on throwing darts for a whole 24 hours earlier this spring. The proceeds have now been handed over to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust at a ceremony at the inn.

The Citizen, 8th June 2006 – Man died after falling from bar stool: A quiet drink in his local cost Bryan Tillier his life when he fell from a bar stool and broke his spine, an inquest heard. Mr Tillier, 62, had drunk a second pint of his favourite brew – half Stella and half cider – when he rose from his seat in the Crown & Sceptre pub in Stroud and fell to the ground, hitting his head. An ambulance took Mr Tillier to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where he died later.

Pathologist Dr John McCarthy found that Mr Tillier, who suffered from chronic back condition ankylosing spondylitis, had snapped his spine after hitting his cheek on the bar. The doctor gave the cause of death as fracture to cervical spine. The Gloucestershire coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The Citizen 5th August 2009 – Lily helps toast pub’s new look: Pop princess Lily Allen was among the customers who turned up for the reopening of a Stroud pub. Lily and her dad, actor Keith Allen of Minchinhampton, celebrated as the new-look Crown & Sceptre in Horns Road was unveiled. International rugby star Alistair Hignell also enjoyed a drink in the pub on its opening night.

Landlord Rodda Thomas has taken over the helm of the pub, which closed three weeks ago, and he’s given the premises a major revamp. “I always really wanted that pub,” said Rodda, formerly the landlord of the Woolpack in Slad and Stroud pubs The Golden Fleece and Pelican. “It was always a little gem that simply needed polishing.

The pub has been given a facelift in preparation for its official reopening on Friday when Rodda’s mum, Joyce, will cut the ribbon. The Crown & Sceptre is a free house and will always have four real ales on offer. There’s bar billiards on offer and I’ll be showing cricket, football and rugby in the back bar.” I want to make it a real local community pub,” he said.

The Citizen, 25th September 2009 – Tuk-tuk at reopened pub: A newly reopened Stroud pub will be serving up traditional Sunday lunches to hungry punters. The Crown & Sceptre will now not only sell traditional roast dinners on a Sunday, but also offer Thai food from the back of a Tuk-Tuk on Friday evenings.

The Citizen, Pub gets in a big pickle: Regulars at a Stroud pub will find themselves in a real pickle later this year. The Crown & Sceptre in Horns Road is preparing to host its first “Grand Autumn Pickle-Off” competition. There will be four classes: pickled onions, pickled eggs, piccalilli and chutneys and pickles. The grand finals will be held on 15th November 2009 at 4pm.

The Citizen, 26th March 2010 – The Crowning Glory for pub: Beer experts have voted the revamped Crown & Sceptre pub as the best in the district. The Stroud branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has named the hostelry on Horns Road, Stroud as its Pub of the Year.

Branch chairman Bob Brooks, said: “Rodda Thomas has taken a tired, struggling pub and turned it into a thriving real ale led community local in a remarkably short space of time.”

Stroud Life, 21st April 2010 – Addition at pub is clear sign of revival: The Crown & Sceptre pub has a smart new sign thanks to a brewery with a historic name. The hostelry in Horns Road, Stroud is undergoing something of a renaissance and Stroud Brewery’s name has returned to the front of the pub for the first time in 60 years.

The new Stroud Brewery was formed in 2005 in Thrupp, 35 years after the old brewery in Merrywalks was knocked down. Uley Brewery, which was established in 1833 and revived in 1985, paid for the sign on the other side of the pub.

Pub birthday: Popular Stroud pub The Crown & Sceptre will celebrate its first birthday this month. Stroud man Rodda Thomas reopened the Horns Road pub, which had been closed, in July last year. A birthday party will be held on Saturday 31st July 2010.

Stroud Life, 14th April 2010 – Pub takes regulars to seaside: A Stroud pub decamped to the seaside for the day and raised more than £550 for airborne medics. Crown & Sceptre landlord Rodda Thomas took two coachloads of staff and locals to Weston-Super-Mare for a traditional Bank Holiday Monday out. “It was a proper old school trip to the seaside. We had fish and chips, donkey rides, crazy golf, ice creams, the lot. It was terrific.” said Rodda. “We booked two 49 seater buses and took 95 people, kids, families, bikers, everyone. A great day was had by all. We raised £550.11 for the Midlands Air Ambulance, which was really pleasing,” he added.

The Citizen, Thursday 8th July 2010 – Batting against Buddhist monks: Pub cricketers at the Crown & Sceptre are padding up for an international fixture with a difference. This Sunday they will play host to a heavenly 11 of Buddhist monks. The team from the pub in Horns Road, Stroud, plays its cricket in Miserden. The ground is not far from where the monks from the Taashi Lhunpo Monastery are staying.

They will take time out from their tour of Britain, performing masked dance, sacred Tibetan chants and ritual Buddhist music for an afternoon of cricket, the traditional tea, sandwiches and cake between innings and a Himalayan fayre.

The monks are appearing at the Edinburgh Festival, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the Royal Opera House. As keen cricketers they were looking for a fixture between performances. The Crown & Sceptre was delighted to offer them a match.

Stroud Life, 18th August 2010 – Pub prepares for food show: Pickled onions, pickled eggs and pickles and chutneys themselves will be at the tasty heart of a pub’s new country fayre. After the success of last year’s pure pickle competition, landlord of the Crown & Sceptre in Stroud Rodda Thomas and his team are running an entire fruit and veg show next month.

“We had a hugely successful pickle competition in 2009 attended by hundreds of people and afterwards it was suggested we have a proper fair, showing local produce and having competitions. The country fayre is the result,” said Rodda.

Entries for the Crown & Sceptre fun, to be staged whatever the weather in two large marquees on September 3,4 and 5, close on 28th August.

Stroud Life, 17th November 2010 – Landlord gives new life to community hub pub: The words “community pub” could have been invented to describe the Crown & Sceptre in Stroud. It’s the meeting place for all manner of local groups with a wide range of interests from knitting to environmentalism. Stroud Hockey Club holds meetings at the Horns Road pub, as does the parent teacher association at the local school. The pub has its own cricket team, which earlier this year played an international match against a team of Tibetan Buddhist monks. And it must surely be one of the only pubs to have its own motorcycle society, the latter because landlord Rodda Thomas is keen biker himself.

“Having worked in pubs that were owned by big, faceless corporate concerns, I knew I could run a pub much better my way. simply by putting the customers first.” said Rodda. “The support we have from local people is great and its a pleasure to be part of the community and put something back.”

Stroud Life, 25th May 2011 – Oh we do like to be beside the seaside: More that 140 regulars and neighbours from the Crown & Sceptre pub in Stroud raised £675 for the Air Ambulance Appeal with their second annual trip to Weston-Super-Mare.

The Citizen, 30th August 2011 – Pubs bow wow crowds at show: More that 50 dogs and their owners made a new show a barking success. The Crown & Sceptre, re-named The Brown and Sceptre for the day on Sunday, attracted 56 pooches of all shapes, sizes and talents. “It was outrageous,” said Rodda Thomas, landlord of the watering hole in Horns Road, Stroud.

One of the stars of the show was Frank, brother of Rodda’s dog, who demonstrated he could count up to three with promise of biscuits. Prizes were awarded for several classes, including the scruffiest dog, best party trick, best biscuit catcher and the dog the judge would most like to take home.

Stroud Life, 7th September 2011 – Cheers for only pub country fair in land: They really rolled out the barrels for England’s only country fair held at a pub. The awards came thick and fast as the judges picked out their favourite veg, flowers, floral decorations, baking and children’s entries at the Crown & Sceptre in Stroud.

And if Saturday’s country fair was not enough, the Horns Road hostelry staged a three-day beer and cider festival with live music as part of the town’s Outer Fringe.

Stroud Life, 17th October 2012 – Law called to the bar: Legal advice is on offer alongside a pint in Stroud pub, the Crown & Sceptre. A team from WSP Solicitors were at the Horns Road pub on Thursday for the UK’s only legal session in a pub.

They answered questions on everything from family issues, property queries and business disputes. “Some people find it daunting to come into a solicitor’s office. This is about making advice accessible,” said Catherine Green from WSP.

“Its what we’re about – trying to help people and be at the centre of community,” said landlord Rodda Thomas.

Stroud Life, 24th October 2012 – A chutney challenge: Pickles tickled the judges fancy at the Crown & Sceptre’ grand autumn chutney challenge. After chewing over the entries in the Horns Road pub’s “Pickle Off” a quince jelly made by Martin Mason emerged as supreme champion of the competition held on Sunday.

There were jams and marmalades too, plus pickled onions and eggs, alongside premier pickles, chutney and piccalilli all lined up their polished jars.

Stroud News & Journal Thursday 31st January 2013 – Irish acoustic night: Tim Potts leads an Irish acoustic night at the Crown & Sceptre, Horns Road, Stroud, on Thursday. 8pm. Tim spent ten years touring the world as a member of Irish music band Afterhours, but decided to call it a day when he found the busy touring schedule was keeping him away from his young family. He currently runs an oak framing company in Stroud, but still enjoys making music.

Fiddle, Irish pipes, concertina and more will feature in the Thursday evening session.

Stroud News & Journal, 14th January 2015 – Appeal for bagpiper to play at poet night: “Pipe up if you can pipe!” is the plea from a Stroud pub. The Crown & Sceptre on Horns Road is planning to celebrate Burns Night, on Sunday 25th January in proper Scottish style. But one key element of their celebrations is missing. “We would love a bagpiper to come and pipe in the haggis,” said landlord Rodda Thomas. “But try as I might, I cannot find one.”

Stroud Life, 29th April 2015 – ‘Regulars’ pub – run the way they want’: (by Matt Discombe) With a number of pubs on its doorstep and lying off the beacon track in Stroud, The Crown & Sceptre has to do what it can to stand out. And since landlord Rodda Thomas took charge 2009 that’s exactly what he has done. Rodda and team have kept the pub open every day since 31st July that year and in that time they’ve thrown their doors open from motorcycle clubs to knitting groups.

Rodda said: “Years ago you could open a pub and people would just come in. Not any more – now you have to make people want to come to the pub. It’s a community-led pub. The Crown & Sceptre is in an area where everyone lives and we have so many people within walking distance of us. We’re trying to keep everyone happy all the time.”

Inside the back door you’re met immediately with a leopard skin and a picture of Elvis Presley, before entering a traditional Victorian alehouse full of delightful little quirks. Everywhere you look there is something you wouldn’t expect. Pictures of Che Gueverra and Fidel Castro can be found, as Rodda is a fan, and there are classic posters of The Clash and Johnny Cash which set the tone for the weekly live music.

Bizarrely, there is a Hercules propeller attached to the ceiling, which was donated by a regular. Rodda said: “It’s a quirky pub, shabby chic. When we came here there was nothing on the walls but people kept bringing stuff in. The walls reflect the regulars of the pub, it’s their pub, we run it the way they want it run.

Stroud Life, Wednesday 27th May 2015 – Rodda could be the fastest pub landlord in west: Publican Rodda Thomas must be one of the fastest landlords in the west after setting two records at a famous land speed record venue. Aboard his 648cc Triumph T120TT Special, The Crown & Sceptre landlord set two new records in his class, Production Classic Gasoline 650cc (PCG 650cc) over the weekend.

For the standing start kilometre he set a speed of 91.168mph on Sunday. And on Sunday on the standing start mile he set a speed of 90.530mph. The event took place on the wide open expanse of Pendine Sands in West Wales. “I was slower on the Sunday due to different sand conditions,” explained Rodda.

Stroud News & Journal, 15th June 2016 – A Party for Europe: A celebration of EU unity is taking place at the Crown & Sceptre this weekend. The Horns Road pub will be hosting A Party For Europe on Saturday from 3pm. The event will feature live music, including a set from Stroud reggae band, Frankly Skanky. The full line-up is yet to be confirmed. Pub landlord, Rodda Thomas, is encouraging punters to use their vote on June 23rd and have their say on the future of Britain’s role in the European Union.

Stroud News & Journal, Wednesday 19th October 2016 – Friends ready for a mammoth trek: Three biker friends have raised more than £18,000 for good causes as they prepare for an incredible ride through the Himalayas. Rodda Thomas, landlord at the Crown & Sceptre, Steve Smith and Russ Clarke will be heading to India on Friday, where they will ride Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles 1,400km over seven days through the Himalayan foothills, starting in Amritsar and finishing in New Delhi.

The India Motorcycle Challenge will entail long days in the saddle, rough roads, temperatures ranging from 5 degrees to 35 degrees Celsius and Indian traffic. The challenge includes a ride over the infamous Jalori pass at 3,120 metres above sea level and one day of more than 350km. “We’re looking forward to the riding but the important part of the trip is to raise money and awareness for the charities that we are supporting,” said Rodda, who is raising money for Save the Children and its appeal to help the displaced children of Syria.

Photo taken 8th July 2022

Stroud News & Journal, Wednesday 14th February 2018 – Regulars at Crown & Sceptre pub raise money for defibrillator: Regulars at the Crown & Sceptre have raised money for a defibrillator which is now housed outside the pub in Horns Road, Stroud. Once community members had decided to purchase the device, which cost in excess of £1,800. they set about raising money in a variety of different ways. Crown & Sceptre landlord Rodda Thomas thanked the community for their contribution. “We are very proud that our community has been able to raise the money to buy the equipment,” he said.

Simon Biggs – Photo taken 8th July 2022

The Crown & Sceptre is also sometimes known as the Hat & Stick!!

Records of The Crown and Sceptre, Horns Road, Stroud

The building is present on a map of the area dated 1873-1888.

James Stopford is listed in the Kelly’s trade directory in both 1885 and 1889 as a baker and beer retailer, but the address is only listed as ‘Horns Road’, however on the 20th September 1890 the following record regarding the transfer of the licence specifically refers to the pub.

This being the adjourned licensing meeting Mr. R. E. Stewart, solicitor, applied for the transfer of the license of the Crown and Sceptre Inn, Horns-road, from J. Stockford [Stopford], who has left the town, to his wife, and the same was granted.

He is back again by 1891, living at the pub with his wife, Belinda, who took over the licence during his absence.

Census 1891 – residents at The Crown and Sceptre

James B Stopford, aged 50, born around 1841 in Gloucestershire, Occupation – Licenced Vitualler

Belinda Stopford, wife, aged 47, born around 1844 in Gloucestershire.

They had both left by 1896, when the Stroud News and Gloucestershire Advertiser reported an incident where a customer was charged with breaking a window. He claimed he “…met with an accident and fell up against it”, but the truth was more interesting.

‘A Drunken Freak’

Joseph Davis, mill-hand, of Quarhouse, was summoned for being drunk and refusing to quit licensed premises – the Crown and Sceptre Inn, Stroud – on the 24th inst. He pleaded guilty —Mr A. H. G. Heelas appeared to prosecute on behalf of the local branch of the Licensed Victuallers Association, and in stating the case, said that defendant was throwing a leg of mutton about the bar, and otherwise making himself objectionable to the customers. He eventually wound up by throwing the leg of mutton at the window, thus breaking four panes of glass and doing damage to the framework of the window to the extent of 8s 6d. The Association felt bound, he said, to bring the case before the Bench, as they were determined to put a stop to this sort of thing. Conduct like this somewhat imperilled the licences, and the Association wished to do all they could to assist the police in these cases. Defendant said he was sorry for what had occurred, and apologised to Mr Smith in every way. He hoped the Bench would deal leniently with him.

Defendant was further charged with doing wilful damage to a window at the Crown and Sceptre Inn, Horns Road, Stroud, to the amount of 8s 6d. He pleaded guilty to breaking the window, and said he met with an accident and fell up against it.

Frederick James Smith, landlord of the “Crown and Sceptre,” Horns Road, Stroud, stated that on the 24th inst. defendant went to his house about 7 p.m. Subsequently witness went to Stroud, and returned about nine o’clock. Defendant was still there, and he asked him to leave. He said he was as good a —— man as he was, and he should not be pushed out by anyone. Witness opened the door and said he should have to put him out. Defendant had a leg of mutton in his hand, took hold of it by the shank end, and struck it across the window. Four panes of glass and the sash of the window were broken, and the damage was estimated at 8s 6d. He then sent for the police.

By the Bench: The defendant wanted to fight him. He deliberately struck at the window.

Defendant was fined 5s, costs remitted, for the case of drunkenness, and the case of alleged damage was dismissed on defendant promising to pay the damage done to the window.

1901 Census (Taken 31st March 1901)

NameAgeRelation to head of householdOccupationMarital statusBirthplace  
Frederick J Smith33HeadInnkeeperMarriedStroud
Clara Smith33WifeMarriedPainswick
Frederick S Smith5SonStroud
Harold J Smith1SonStroud
Mary Dunn1ServantDomestic servantSingleFrocester

In 1902 Frederick is listed as landlord in the Kellys Directory, and there is an article from Friday the 20th June 1902 in the Gloucester Citizen mentioning him in supporting an event with a roast and fireworks – the start of a long tradition?

“Mr Sam Drake presided over a meeting held at the Crown and Sceptre, Horns Road, Stroud, on Thursday evening, to decide what should be done to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward, as there was apparently very little going in Stroud to interest the general public. It was decided to obtain one or two sheep (or an ox) and roast them on the Recreation Ground if permission can be obtained, and if not, Mr Frederick Smith of the Crown and Sceptre will have the roasting arrangements carried out on his premises. A band will be in attendance if funds will allow. There will also be illuminations, fireworks and general amusements, all of which will be carried out on the Recreation Ground. The sum of £8.10s was collected in less than half an hour, and several other amounts have been promised.”

Sadly, he appears to have already been in ill-health at this time, and died only two years later, in March 1904, reported by the Gloucester Citizen.

About 9.30 on Friday evening the death occurred at Horns Road, Stroud of Mr. Frederick James Smith, landlord of the Crown and Sceptre Inn. For the past two years deceased had been in ill-health, and was subject to fits. He went into the stable which adjoins the house on Friday evening with another man named Henry Lasbury, when he was suddenly seized with a fit. Dr. Davies was at once sent for, but he died almost immediately. Deceased was 38 years of age, and leaves a widow and two children. The facts have been reported to the Coroner, and an inquest will be held on Monday. The inquest seems to have been held at the pub, which was not uncommon.

His wife Clara Smith is listed as the landlady in 1906 in the Kellys Directory. She was born Clara Luker, daughter of a publican in Painswick (at Prospect Terrace, although no pub name can be found), suggesting experience of the business. The Kelly’s entry may have the wrong surname, as in 1905 she married William Thomas Jones, and he is listed as the landlord in 1910. The 1911 census confirms the marriage, listing the two stepsons from her marriage to Frederick and her occupation is cited as ‘Assisting in business’. Perhaps she was the driving force behind the bar.

The registration number of the charabanc in the photograph of the pub outing suggests the vehicle was registered in Gloucestershire before 1921, and the clothing seems pre-war. It is possible that the woman in the photo is Clara Smith/Jones, nee Luker.

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NameRelationship to headOccupationAgeBirthplace
William Thomas JonesHeadCarpenter & Inn Keeper33Stroud
Clara JonesWifeAssisting in business42Stroud
Alec William JonesSon4Stroud
Winifred Esther JonesDaughter2Stroud
Frederick Sydney SmithStepson15Stroud
Harold John SmithStepson11Stroud
1911 Census

In 1914 a property tax audit was conducted and the details of the pub give a clue about the layout

Place: Stroud
Income tax parish: Stroud
Date when served: 25/11/1914

Occupied by:

People holding property:

Cement on brick and slate house. 4 bedrooms, bar, smoke room, jug and bottle department sitting room, kitchen, beer cellar and scullery, loft over, 1 WC and urinal
brick and slate lean to 2 stall stable and harness room, WC, urinal

However in 1921, Clara was once again widowed, as William died on the 9th March 1921, aged only 43. Clara herself died in either 1925 or 1941.

The pub had a new landlord in 1919, Mr George Townsend, who had alterations carried out in 1925. He continues to be listed in the Kelly’s directory in 1923 and 1927, and is mentioned in the Gloucestershire Echo on the 20th February 1934 as the licensee of the pub on the sad occasion of his wife Elizabeth’s sudden death.

In 1939 Chas Kent is listed in Kellys directory as landlord. Records of individuals from this point on are difficult to find due to privacy.

Further alterations were carried out in 1977.

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Stroud Brewery

Rateable value in 1891: £20.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Stroud Brewery

Rateable value in 1903:  £20.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Landlords at the Crown & Sceptre include:

1891 Belinda Stopford

1902,1903  Frederick James Smith

1906 Mrs Clara Smith

1919,1927 George Townsend

1939,1949 Charles Kent

1975 Les Mauler (retired in 1975, aged 70. He had previously been landlord of the Post Office Inn in George Street. He died in May 1985)

1977-1988 John Evans

1988 (Dec) Jim and Pat Hooper

1999,2005 Paul Maurice Rice

2009,2023 Rodda Thomas

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