Godsell & Sons, brewers at the Salmon Springs Brewery in Stroud, owned the Kings Arms as early as 1891. The logistics of getting the beer from Stroud to Newent could not have been straightforward with horse pulled brewery drays. Presumably the journey was done in two days, first to Gloucester and then the following day to Newent. The Kings Arms must have been one of Godsell’s furthest pubs from the brewery. The pub was a fully licensed alehouse with an annual rateable value of £20.0s.0d. in 1891. Twelve years later the yearly rates had gone up by a significant £14 to £34.0s.0d. Perhaps the Kings Arms had been substantially improved or structurally altered by 1903. The Kings Arms, in common with all other Newent town pubs, closed at 11 pm.
Sid Knight was a long serving landlord at the Kings Arms from 1966 through to 1985. He started to pull pints in 1962, and before that worked at Gloster Aircraft Company as a draughtsman for 27 years. Sid was a well-known figure in local sports circles and during his tenancy with Whitbread at the Kings Arms he had seven skittle sides using the alley.
The Citizen: June 1982 – Folk Club’s New Venue – Newent Folk Club, now meeting at the Kings arms, held a very successful singers’ night when local singers and musicians were joined by visiting performers from Malvern, Gloucester and Berkeley. Traditional and contemporary songs from Ireland, Scotland and England kept the enthusiastic audience entertained. Instrumental numbers on accordion, melodion, flute and guitar made a varied and refreshing programme. Future meetings at this new venue will be held every second ad fourth Saturday each month.
In 1999 Newent Mayor, Councillor David Blick, was drinking at the Kings Arms when he mentioned to landlords Roger and Jenny Bennett that the town should have a Harvest Home festival. This spurred the regulars to hold the Harvest Home at the Kings Arms. Over £300 was raised and the proceeds were donated to the Newent Home from Home. The evening closed with a skiffle band and some rock and roll. The local clog dancers also gave a performance ‘which went down very well and sounded dramatic on the wooden floor.’
The Kings Arms had closed by the beginning of the 21st Century and for more than two years it was boarded up with an uncertain future. Sue and Fred Ellis signed a 10-year lease at the end of 2011 to get the Kings Arms back on its feet. Fred had previously been landlord at the Malt Shovel in Ruardean but ill heath forced him to take early retirement. He was told he had a 50/50 chance of surviving a vital operation. “I came through the operation”, he said, “At first I kept pinching myself to make sure I was still here, but now I’m fighting fit’. Rejuvenated and regenerated Fred and Sue decided to turn the fortunes of the Kings Arms around, “It’s fantastic to be back and I’m looking forward to getting the Kings Arms back in its feet.”
Landlords at the Kings Arms include:
1822,1823 Richard Allen
1830 Susannah Allen
1837 John King
1856 T. Dobbs
1876,1885 Samuel George Wood (he is also listed as a carrier and farmer in 1876)
1891,1902 Charles Greenaway
1903, 1919 John Henry Lodge
1927 Mrs Alice Lodge
1939 Fras. E. Turland
1966 – 1985 Sid Knight
1985 Mike Miles
1989 Bill and Marie Pead
1999 Roger and Jenny Bennett
2009 Tina Godwin
2012 Fred and Sue Ellis