Little is known about the Folly Inn or how it got its unusual name. The 1891 census gives detail that it was situated in Folly Lane that exists today heading north from St Pauls Road towards Tommy Taylors Lane. In the 1891 licensing book the Folly Inn is recorded as a beer house, free of brewery tie, with an annual rateable value of £15.5s.0d. The occupying landlord was James John Yeend and the owner was James Leighton. It seems likely that the Folly Inn was demolished during slum clearance in late Victorian / early Edwardian times. There is no mention of the Folly Inn in the 1903 licensing book. Folly Lane now consists mostly of council housing probably dating back to the 1930’s.

Courtesy Cheltenham & District Time Machine Facebook Group

James Leighton owned seven other pubs in Cheltenham. The Black Horse in Rosehill Street; Bridge Inn in Tewkesbury Road; Early Dawn in the Lower High Street; Greyhound Inn in Hewlett Road; Hop Pole in Gloucester Road, Midland Inn in Gloucester Road and the Railway Inn in New Street. James Leighton lived at Ash Tree House, High Street – next to the present day Frog & Fiddle.

The Great Western Railway ‘Honeybourne Line’ to Stratford-on-Avon was constructed to the immediate west of Folly Lane at the beginning of the 20th century. The area was previously laid out as market gardens known as Plough Gardens.

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