Lord Charles Denton was the owner of the George Inn in 1891, a free house without brewery ties. After Lord Charles Denton passed away his representatives were owners of the pub in 1903. Lord Charles Denton lived at Orielton in 1892, which was probably the name of his residence. He was involved in public affairs. In 1876 he was the honorary secretary of the St Briavels reading room and library, and in 1892 (the year of his death) he was a Guardian of the Poor and was also the County Representative of the Surveyor of Highways. He left an endowment to establish an almshouse for ‘three elderly men and three elderly widows’ which was later built by his heir in East Street. He also left a legacy for the benefit of the village.
In 1903 the George was leased to the Wickwar Brewery (Arnold, Perrett & Co., Ltd.) In 1891 and 1903 the George had an annual rateable value of £12.0s.0d. and closed at 10 pm.
Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): This stone pub with two bars is probably the best Real Ale house in the Forest, stocking as it does Marstons, Adnams, as well as the formidable Wadworth’s Northgate and Worthington’s, plus a wine list for the more “refined”. Atmospheric with a log fire and old furniture the George also boasts a good lunch menu featuring a number of snacks including Salmon. Those famous pub standbys, Lasagne, Chill and the ubiquitous Goujons of Cod are also there, as well as good old Hot Pot all the way from Lancashire. There is a juke box too, a one-armed bandit, an outside Gents (surely a bit primitive these days) and plenty of parking.
In August 2002 a ‘family meal’ review in the local newspaper was enthusiastic about not only about the food in the George Inn but also its stunning location – ‘St Briavels is one of those places that looks as though it should be part of a permanent Hollywood film set. It’s picture postcard pretty, has a magnificent castle and idyllic views. It certainly wins the prize for appeal and the 16th Century George Inn is no exception. As pubs go it must score very highly on décor and style – and unusual too. There is even a 16th Century coffin set into the bar area. Outside there is a courtyard, which on a hot summer evening looks as though it could be in Italy rather than Gloucestershire. There is an outdoor chess set, tables and chairs galore, and views of the castle. To arrive there early on the particular early evening that we did was heaven. And the food was excellent.’
The George Inn was acquired by Wadworth & Co., of Devizes in 2007. After spending a large amount of money refurbishing the kitchen and refurbishing the pub, Wadworth had inexplicably closed the George in January 2008. St Briavels Parish Council Chairman, Derek Marshall, said, “It’s a great shame to see it closed, but I’m sure it won’t be closed for very long because it’s a great pub.” Fortunately, it did reopen. The George is Wadworth’s only pub in the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley.
William Hooper and Nicky Hambling had run Wadworth pubs in Wiltshire and the brewery’s acquisition of the George tempted them to move to the Forest of Dean. Nicky said, “As we wanted a larger pub the George gives us more scope and has three bedrooms for guests. Its absolutely ideal and we have both fallen in love with the area. A taste of Spain was brought to St. Briavels in the summer of 2009 when tapas meals were offered on Wednesday evenings at the George. Popular dishes included chicken sides baked in honey, sardines marinated in lemon, chilli and lemon and chargrilled aubergine served in mozzarella. Landlord William Hooper said, “It’s a good way to attract people during the week as they can try something different that is good value for money.”
In March 2013 an ‘eating out’ review in the Forester newspaper described the menu on offer at the George as ‘great quality pub food.’ It was noted that ‘from the moment you walk into the George the atmosphere is warm and friendly. The traditional surroundings of original beams and wooden décor create a wonderful country ambience.’
Landlords at the George Inn include:
1856 Mrs E. Kear
1876 Joseph Grimes Kear (listed also as an assistant overseer and collector of taxes)
1885 Joseph Kear
1891 Ann Kear
1892 Mrs Joseph Kear
1902, 1906 Joseph Grimes Kear
1919,1939 William E. Burley
1973 Arthur and Jane Dixon (from September, previously at Ye Shakespeare, Bristol)
1988 Maurice and Sheila Day
2007 Bruce Bennett
2009 William Hooper and Nicky Hambling
2012 Kellie and Alistair Baker