The Jovial Colliers was located on the western side of Gloucester Road, almost opposite the Lamb Inn. It was certainly trading in 1766 when a Friendly Society met at the pub.

It has proven difficult to ascertain which existing building once housed the Jovial Colliers, but a recent correspondence with local historian Steven Carter suggests that the property comprising Maa Cuisine and the adjoining residential house seems the most likely location. Note the similar first floor windows.

Courtesy John Saunders

The Jovial Colliers was for sale in again in 1833 with two parlours, a bar, club room, six bedrooms, good kitchen, back kitchen, brew-house, roomy cellarage, club-room, six bedrooms, two attics, stable with loft over, large productive garden, part newly-built in the occupation of Thomas Godwin, proprietor, and now of Richard Smart.

Gloucester Journal, Saturday 20th July 1872 – The Coleford Fetes: The Coleford Fetes, which have been looked forward to for some time, came off on Saturday, one under the management of Messrs. Miller and Clayton, took place at the Whitehall fields, or Voyce’s Grounds, situated on an eminence commanding an extensive prospect of the surrounding country, embracing within its range distant hills of the Monmouthshire Hills, the cone of the Sugar Loaf mountain, the beautifully-wooded country in the direction of Monmouth, and a good extent of Forest scenery. The amusements consisted of donkey races, quoits, Aunt Sally, Merry-go-rounds, rifle galleries, comic and negro minstrels, gymnastic performances etc. The Forest Vale Brass Band was in attendance, and dancing to its strain was carried on until dusk, the irrepressible kiss-in-the-ring, without which no rural gathering appears to be complete, was also indulged in. Between 500 and 600 persons visited the field, and the entertainment passed off pleasantly, a fact which may perhaps in some measure be attributable to the absence of any intoxicating liquors from the grounds.

Another fete also came off on the same day in a field in the occupation of Mr Pullen, of the Jovial Colliers Inn. The Trafalgar Brass Band was in attendance, but the number of visitors was small, the attractions held out at the opposition fete being doubtless too much of a draw.

Steven Carter told me that there was one incident in the pub when the landlord slapped a female customer for discussing some sheep that he wanted to buy. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the Jovial Colliers eventually lost its licence in the 1870’s.

There is a traditional song called “The Jovial Foresters”, that GlosFolk describes as the only surviving song “celebrating the centuries-old coal mining industry of the Forest of Dean.” Although “firmly about the Forest”, wrote Folk expert Gwilym Davies, its origins are obscure. Steven Carter believes that the Jovial Colliers Inn in Gloucester Road, Coleford, may have been the origins of the song.

Or could this building been the Jovial Colliers?, which is a little further down Gloucester Road.

Landlords at the Jovial Colliers include:

1830,1833 Thomas Godwin

1833 Richard Smart

1837 George Porter (also listed as a butcher)

1842 David Smith

1851,1856 Benjamin Gwilliam (aged 33 in 1851 census)

1870 William Pullin (also listed as a butcher)

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