The Plume of Feathers was open in 1654 and possibly even before that. The late Ray Allen wrote in the Forest Review newspaper (Sept.1998) about Coleford pubs and, of the Plume of Feathers Inn, he wrote: ‘It was sold in 1672 by Stirley Kedgwin Snr. to Richard and Mary Sladden, the latter being Kedgwin’s daughter. It was acquired by the Hall family of Highmeadow who rented it in 1769 out at 1s.6d. weekly. Henry Jenkins bought the inn from Lord Gage when he wound up the family’s local estate that century.’
The Feathers Inn was put up for auction on 23rd March 1827. The inn was owned by Henry Jenkins, an innkeeper and stonemason, who had been declared bankrupt in 1819 and had served time in a debtor’s prison. He had no option but to sell his real estate which included the Feathers Inn. The auction was held across the road in the Kings Head. The Feathers was described as ‘a freehold property being the real estate of Henry Jenkins, late of Coleford aforesaid, innkeeper and stone cutter, an insolvent debtor, who was discharged from the King’s Bench Prison, in or about the month of February 1820’. The sale particulars described ‘all that commodious inn and public house, called the Feathers Inn, situate in the centre of the said town of Coleford, together with two large yards, four large stables & other attached buildings, with the appurtenances thereto adjoining, late in the occupation of Mr George Wintle, and now of Mr Richard Smart, as tenant thereof.’
In 1830 it is documented that Thomas Plaisted carriers ran a service from the yard of the Plume of Feathers to Gloucester.
The Plume of Feathers, an alehouse, had an annual rateable value of £21.12s.0d. in 1891 and 1903. Amos Smith is listed as the owner in 1891 when the inn was operating as a free house, with no restrictions on beer supplies. Yet just 12 years later the Feathers had been leased to the Ashton Gate Brewery in Bristol. It was owned in 1903 by the representatives of Mary Ann Smith.
In March 1988 the local newspaper reported that a pair of Courage Brewery Shire Horses drew an admiring crowd outside the Feathers Inn in Coleford. They were advertising the County Cricket team’s visit to play against the pub side.
Pubs of the Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): Buzzing with locals, drifters (like us) and shop girls, the Feathers feels and looks like a pub. Great atmosphere under the landlords robust direction and his staff are efficient and not afraid to exercise their facial muscles. Low, smoky ceiling and horse brassy, the Feathers knows how to serve pleasant food at realistic prices and the Courage’s beer is a welcome invader in Whitbread territory. Upstairs folk music is heard on certain evenings and among the bantering clients was ‘varest’ poet Keith Morgan of “The ‘Azard O’ Chimmuck Szwippin” and “Alberts Dree Wi’ker” fame. Staring into his pint Keith was searching for his muse but hadn’t found it when we left. A little upright piano stood awaiting its Saturday night tickling in a corner.
The 1996 edition of ‘RAIG – Real Ale in Gloucestershire’ described the Feathers as a ‘friendly town centre pub. Home cooked food served at lunchtime (not Sunday). By arrangement parties can enjoy a Bierkeller atmosphere with steins of ale. Outdoor seating in the courtyard in summer.’
The owners of the Feathers in 2007 were Inns 2B Inn Ltd. It is now owned by the Bridlington Pub Company.
Landlords at the Plume of Feathers include:
1827 Henry Jenkins (Feathers Inn)
1830 John Edwards (Plume of Feathers)
1837 Milson Harris
1842 Nelson (sic) Harris (Plume of Feathers. Nelson Harris is Milson Harris)
1851,1852 Milson Harris (aged 48 in 1851 census, also listed as a butcher in 1852)
1856 G. Harris
1870 Edmund Jones (Feathers Inn)
1876,1881 Abraham Lockey (aged 48 in 1881)
1885 John Wyatt
1891 Frank Smith
1902,1906 Thomas Burge
1919 E. A. Bound
1927 Ben Voyce
1939 Frederick John Fox
1997 Michael Adrian Daly
2009 Terry Smith