The Fountain is located at 53 Westgate Street on the corner of Berkeley Street. It is entered from Westgate Street through an archway. It has been known as the Fountain Inn since the 17th century. The name probably comes from the Trinity Well, a public water supply, which was nearby in Westgate Street.
There was definitely an inn on the site in 1455, called the Savages Inn. The name changed again in the sixteenth century when it was known as the Catherine Wheel. The present name probably dates from 1672. There is a plaque overlooking the courtyard with the motto: “Dieu defend de droit. GVLIELMVS III” which commemorates an incident in the late seventeenth century in the early reign of William III (1689-1702). Jacobite rebels supporting the cause of the Stuarts held clandestine meetings in the upstairs room. William heard of this during a visit to Gloucester and to show his contempt it is said that he rode his horse up the external stairs to the room. (see below)
Gloucester Journal, April 5th, 1873: Jane Savage, a young woman, was charged at the Quarter Sessions with stealing a purse and £4.15s. in money from Cartwright Clutterbuck. He met her in the Fountain Inn and treated her with drink, then accompanied her to her home in Deacon Street where she took the money from his pocket. Six months hard labour.
Gloucester Journal, April 26th 1879: An amateur negro minstrel entertainment was given in the clubroom of the Fountain Inn on Thursday, in aid of the St. Catherine’s Cricket Club, and was very successful.
The Citizen: Thursday, October 6th, 1988 – Opening time soon for pub: One of Gloucester’s most ancient watering holes – the Fountain Inn in Westgate Street is closed. But regulars need not despair because it will open again soon. And the long-term future of the ancient courtyard inn seems more secured. Sally Burroughs, a spokeswoman for Whitbread, said that the pub had been transferred from the company’s managed house list to the tenanted section. A temporary landlord was being sought while the brewery obtained a permanent tenant to take over. The future of the pub has been in doubt for months while the brewery looked into a possible redevelopment in the area which would involve the pub and its Westgate Street frontage, formerly the Rendezvous Café.
The following information is taken from a display board in the pub:
In 1688 the tyrannical reign of King James II ended following his escape into exile in France. His successor King William III, William of Orange, reigned jointly with his wife Mary who was the daughter of James II and direct heir to the throne. During the early part of their reign there were still a number of supporters of James and the Stuart cause. One of these Jacobite cells met regularly in a room at the Fountain Inn. entry to the meeting room was gained by whispering a password through a brass aperture let into the wall. This feature was still in existence in the 1920’s. According to local legend the relief portrait of William III in the courtyard is said to commemorate a brief visit to Gloucester by the monarch. On hearing of the Jacobite meeting it is said that he showed contempt of their cause by trying to gain entry to the room on horseback.
The Fountain Inn is still a popular traditional pub that sells real ales and good quality food. The courtyard is a delight in the summer with an impressive display of bedding plants.
This page will be updated.
Landlords at the Fountain Inn include:
1830 Henry Knust
1856 T. Upton
1879 W.C. Hardman
1885 John Cameron
1893 A.R. Hawes
1895 Henry Albert Ryland (born Barnwood in 1867, died prematurely in 1895)
1895 Godsell & Sons, Salmon Springs, Stroud (owners)
1902 Edwin Pollard
1919 John Lane
1927,1939 William O.C. Morse
1957 W.G. Hope
1979 Roy and Pam Thomas
1995,2002 (Jan) Joe and Lucy Sanchez
2002 (Jan) ,2004 Peter Sinclair and Liz Giles
2006, 2008 (Jan) Peter Tulley