Brookend is a hamlet on the main Gloucester to Chepstow Road (A48), just to the south-east of Alvington. The sign of the Dukes Head was carried by two public houses, although not contemporary with each other. An inn trading under the name of the Dukes Head is recorded at Brookend in 1800 when it was owned by Edmund Woodruffe. This Dukes Head had become the Queens Head by the middle of the 19th century and later took the name of the Woolaston Inn.
The name of the Old Dukes Head was given to another old inn in Brookend. This was on the northern side of the main road and the property is now known as Lansdown House. In 1772 the inn is recorded as the Duke of Beaufort’s Head. According to Heather Hurley in her book “Pubs of the Royal Forest of Dean” the Duke of Beaufort’s Hotel might have replaced an earlier inn on or near the same site, which was known by the sign of Worcester’s Head in 1685. The inn was recorded as the Old Dukes Head from the mid 19th century.
It seems that Charles Madgwick was the last landlord at the Dukes Head. There are no references to the pub after 1906 which suggests that the Dukes Head had closed by the First World War.
In 1891 the Dukes Head was in the ownership of Charles Rymer who leased it to Samuel Barnard. Samuel Fisher Barnard with his brother John Fisher Barnard (Fisher was their mother’s maiden name) were tenants themselves at the Feathers Hotel in Lydney. Trading as Barnard Brothers they had established a small brewery at the back of the Feathers to supply a handful of pubs in the Forest of Dean. Beers were supplied to the New Inn in Bream, and the Bridge Inn and Step-a-Side in Lydney. It is worth reflecting that, if the records are correct, in 1891 beer drinkers in the tiny hamlet of Brookend could drink rare brews from Barnard Bros Feathers Hotel ‘Home’brew’d’ and from Gardner and Branch’s Brewery in St Mary Street, Gloucester.
The annual rateable value of the Dukes Head was £16.5s.0d. in 1891 and 1903. It was a licensed ale house with a closing time at 10pm. The Wickwar Brewery of Arnold, Perrett & Co. Ltd. had bought the property from Charles Rymer by 1903.
Landlords at the Dukes Head include:
1856,1876 William Fletcher (1876- Old Dukes Head)
1885 George Wintle
1891,1892 Thomas English (Dukes Head in 1892)
1903 Clifford F. Horder
1902 Hy. Smith
1906 Charles Madgwick