The Fox Inn is located in a picturesque setting backing onto the River Windrush. It lies just over the county boundary in Oxfordshire and has been owned by the Donnington Brewery since the early 1950’s. At the beginning of the 18th century the pub was called the Wharf Inn and it is thought to have been the point where Cotswold stone was loaded into barges and taken downstream towards Burford.
When the Mayer family became landlords of the Fox Inn in 1967 they were only the fifth tenants in 100 years.
An advertisement in May 2012 describes the Fox as the ‘Cotswolds No 1. Riverside Country Pub. Escape to the country, and find a unique Cotswold River Valley of unchanged beauty, betrothed with a quintessential English Inn… simply, an amazing location.
In recent years landlord Paul Porter has transformed the Fox Inn from a simple country pub into something quite special. Crucially the heritage and tradition of a pub has been retained in the unspoilt front bar, but the Fox Inn now boasts a riverside conservatory bar, two riverside terraces, covered and heated outside dining area, a charcoal barbeque and seven riverside letting rooms including the Windrush Bridal Mews Rom. £400,000 was spent on the refurbishment. Paul told the Gloucestershire Echo in May 2011: “You don’t have to lock out the locals and deliver only a gastro-pub to survive and thrive. People want a community and our pub bar has always been an important meeting place – and that’s the way we’re going to stay.”
Paul Porter held a special celebration at the Fox Inn on April 3rd 2003 to celebrate St. Georges Day, the patron saint of England. Donnington BB was sold at a bargain £1 a pint and the English menu included pigeon breast, braised pig trotters. Yorkshire pudding and jam roly-poly. The cheeseboard included Port Soaked Melton Mowbray Stilton and mature Somerset English Cheddar. After the meal customers completed for the Fox Inn St Georges Day Trophy by playing darts, croquet and Aunt Sally.
In the early hours of January 18th 2005 a fire broke out in an outbuilding of the Fox Inn that was used as a storage barn. There was panic as strong winds fanned the flames towards a gas tank. Twenty firemen attended the blaze and managed to bring it under control before the gas tank exploded. They pumped water in from the River Windrush and spent three hours fighting the blaze. The pub yard was left covered with a layer of ash, twisted metal, blackened timbers and destroyed kitchen gear.
The Foxstock Music Festival started at the Fox Inn in 2001, a free summer festival held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. In 2012 the Foxtstock Music Festival was headlined by legendary Canvey Island band, Dr Feelgood who played on Sunday 26th August. There was an admission price for this special gig.
Map reference: SP 205131
Owner in 1891: Edward Rhys-Wingfield (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1891: £13.10s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: W. Winfield, Esq. (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1903: £13.10s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse (six day licence, presumably closed on Sundays)
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords at the Fox Inn include:
1856 John Franklin
1885, 1906 George Reeves
1919,1939 Ernest Frank Paintin
1967,1989 Bill and Pat Mayer (‘The Fox had been run by the Mayer family since 1967’)
1999 Paul Porter
2022 The King Family