The Falcon Hotel has a fascinating history. Built in 1554 it served as a courthouse, as well as a licensed house from the 17th century, and the court of the Baron was held at the Inn for 200 years. It was on many occasions the scene of cockfights and the first ever Masonic ceremony in the county was staged at the Falcon. The hotel also boasts a bowling green that has been in regular use since 1554. The Falcon Bowling Club is one of the oldest greens in the country- only the Southampton Old Green club with a history dating back to 1299 can claim that it is older.

Gloucester Journal. January 1888: Hotel to be let, with immediate possession. The Falcon Hotel, Painswick, with good stabling, garden, and large bowling green. For further particulars apply to Stroud Brewery.

From the beginning of the 19th Century until the advent of the motor age, the Falcon was the principle Coaching Inn and Posting House for the region, with stage coaches leaving regularly for destinations throughout the county. With the coming of the motor age the Falcon offered accommodation for travellers and had its own motor garage. The first regional bus service, run by the Great Western Railway, also served the Falcon.

Courtesy Michael Wilkes

The Falcon was once tied to the Stroud Brewery. The hotel eventually passed into the ownership of Whitbread and was featured in the 1974 book ‘Inn & Around.. 250 favourite Whitbread pubs’. 

Image: Gloucestershire Echo
Image: Gloucestershire Echo

Just over twenty years after the article was written the Falcon Hotel had fallen from grace. It was actually boarded up for two years in the mid 1990’s. The Falcon Hotel was given a new lease of life by Johnny Johnson who was also the landlord of the Butchers Arms at Sheepscombe. Together with the Carpenters Arms in Miserden, the Falcon Hotel became part of Johnny Johnson’s small Blenheim Pub chain. It opened for business again on Friday 22nd June 1996. Johnny told the local newspaper: “It is our aim to restore it to its former glory as a major coaching inn giving it the atmosphere and style of days gone by.”

A review of the Falcon Inn in the Gloucestershire Echo dated Monday April 7th 1997 said, “Stepping through its doors is like stepping back in time. The walls are plain cream, the paintwork brown. Heavy looking old radiators glory in fashionable drab brown too. Antique lamps adorn the walls and ceilings along with old coaching pictures, tankards and various bric-a-brac. Old bookcases and dark wood furniture add the finishing touches to a traditional atmosphere that works a treat. The whole effect is understated elegance of a time gone by.”

In the winter of 2006 Johnny Johnson disposed of his Blenheim pub chain. The Falcon Inn was sold to a family group, John Pearson, Bodil Pearson, Per-Gunnar Ostby and Keith Decarlucci.

Map Reference: SO 866097

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Stroud Brewery

Rateable value in 1891: £32.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Stroud Brewery

Rateable value in 1903: £32.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Landlords at the Falcon Hotel include:

1781 Jacob Holder

1820 Edward Bransford

1839 Daniel Smith

1856 James Tidmarsh

1885 William Henry Reed

1891 Robert Hardcastle Johnston

1902, 1906 John Henry Westcott

1919,1929 John William Goddard (he died in 1929)

1927 Hugh Moreton Goddard

1929,1947 Mrs M. Goddard (John’s widow, an octogenarian in 1947)

1989 Alan and Pat Kimber

1997-2007 Fiona Johnston (daughter of Johnny Johnston, Blenheim Inns)

2007,2008 John and Bo Pearson

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