Built in 1770, the pub was a school for many years before becoming a beer house named the Fox & Hounds – it was known to locals as the Dog & Fox. Opposite the pub there were a terrace of cottages named Harding’s Row, commonly known as Pigs Face Row, which were demolished to make way for the car park in the 1950’s. The Fox and Hounds passed from Stroud Brewery ownership through a short period with West Country Breweries before it became a non-de-script Whitbread pub for several decades.
It was acquired on 16th March 1993 by Ric and Ellie Sainty who renamed it the Old Spot, transforming to one of the best real ale pubs in Gloucestershire.
Ellie told the ‘Citizen’ newspaper back in 1997: “You go into any pub now and quite often there is music playing – sometimes too loud – and you have no choice about what you are hearing. There is nothing better than the camaraderie of having a pint with friends and customers. We always get a good mix of people in from doctors to dustmen, students and couples. We are on the Cotswold Way and when the holiday makers come in it isn’t long before they are chatting to somebody. We don’t have any fruit machines because they are anti-social. Ric is very much a real ale man. We serve 100 guest ales a year. There are very few places where you can go and just enjoy the quality of the beer. People come to us just for that. At most pubs you walk in and you know pretty much what you are going to get. There are gaudy chalk boards everywhere and two-for-one deals. A lot of people don’t want to have menus stuffed under their noses as soon as they walk in. Our lunchtime choice features door-step sandwiches, a platter of fine British cheeses and Old Ric sausages – made with our Old Ric beer.” Old Ric is a beer brewed by Uley Brewery and is unique to the Old Spot. Ric used to joke that the beer was the only one to be brewed in honour of a landlord that was still alive.
Sadly, Ric passed away on 16th July 2008 whilst on holiday in France with his friend Chas Wright of the Uley Brewery. At least Ric achieved the ultimate accolade whilst he was still with us. Cheers Ric!
The interior of the Old Spot is superb. There are items of interest all over the place – even on the ceiling. An old Godsell & Sons sign dominates one wall and there is also a ‘Cotswold Beers by Stroud Brewery’ plaque. You can also browse through a selection of books including most of the CAMRA Good Beer Guides from 1976 to the present day. A wall clock features two bonking pigs. It is no surprise that the Old Spot has regularly been named as CAMRA Gloucestershire Pub of the Year. Owners Ric and Ellie stepped down from working behind the bar in 2000 .
From 2001 Steven and Belinda were ‘live-in’ managers and, under their stewardship, the pub went from strength to strength culminating in the prestigious CAMRA National Pub of the Year award in 2007.
The presentation of CAMRA National Pub of the Year was made to the Old Spot in February 2008.
It was a surprise when Steve and Belinda left the Old Spot in February 2014 to take on the Beehive in Montpellier, Cheltenham. Under their expertise, the Beehive quickly gained a fantastic reputation. (see Beehive page). Tragically Steve suddenly passed away in January 2016, aged just 45.
RIP Ric Sainty & Steve Herbert. Two wonderful landlords, jovial characters and true real ale ambassadors.
Owner in 1891: W.J. Lister (leased to Stroud Brewery)
Rateable value in 1891: £11.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Owner in 1903: W.J. Lister (leased to Stroud Brewery)
Rateable value in 1903: £11.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Fox & Hounds / Old Spot Inn include:
1891 Amelia Morgan
1903 John Thomas Whitmore
1939 John Gordon Owen
1993 Ric and Ellie Sainty
2000 Ted and Trish O’Hara (managers)
2001-2008 Steven Herbert and Belinda Sainty (managers)