Gloucester Journal: 18th October 1884. Following the first meet of the Newnham Harriers in the Blakeney district, a dinner took place at the Kings Head Inn, Blakeney, on Tuesday evening. There was a large attendance.

Image: Mark Rodway. Copied from Facebook.

The Kings Head is an 18th century building situated on the A48 in the centre of Blakeney. An early photograph of the Kings Head shows a stream running directly in front of the building. A small walled garden between the pub and the stream was planted with ornamental shrubs, etc. Regrettably the stream has now been culverted under the main road and the once picturesque garden has disappeared under tarmac; the inevitability of progress.

In 1891 and 1903 the petty sessional records give detail that the Kings Head was an alehouse. It had an annual rateable value of £27.0s.0d. and closed at 11 pm. Alfred Butler was the owner throughout those twelve years and the Kings Head was free of brewery tie.

In the 1960’s the Kings Head was substantially refurbished. The so-called ‘improvements’ instigated by the brewery architects included the removal of the fine 18th century Venetian window on the ground level which spoilt the frontage of the pub – thankfully the Venetian window on the upper storey was retained.

Gloucester Journal: Saturday, 10th June 1972 – Blakeney Kings Head Dart men in Trophy Hunt:  For the past ten seasons the Kings Head, Blakeney, darts team has won at least two trophies in every tournament they have entered, and during this period have won every major trophy in the Tidenham and Lydney Leagues. This year they also have won four cups in the Lydney league including knock-out champions, winners of the 301, runners up 401, and finalists in the pairs. In the Tidenham League this season they were knock-out champions, and League champions, thus completing the double double.

Advertisement feature: The Citizen. Wednesday, April 6th, 1983: Kings Head Hotel & Restaurant Blakeney. Robert and Dorothy Harris, who have been involved in the catering and pub trade for much of their lives, have just taken over the management of the Kings Head in Blakeney. They moved from Crickhowell, near Abergavenny, where Robert’s parents run the Horseshoe Inn, so he has been living in and around a pub for most of his life and has built up a considerable knowledge of the licensed trade. But he did not work in it himself and for the last 20 years, until his fateful decision to take over the Kings Head, he worked for British Steel, finally becoming a production planning controller. Robert obtained his City and Guilds in catering two years ago, with a view to entering the pub trade and Dorothy worked in the grocery trade as a cook supervisor for Powys education authority. So it’s hard to decide which of them is likely to prove the best at organising food at the Kings Head. They mean to keep the high standard of cuisine the same but intend to add some new dishes of their own from time to time.

The whole pub is being completely redecorated and the kitchen refurbished with the latest in gadgetry to make the preparation of that delicious food a little easier.

1968 advertisement.

The Kings Head closed in May 2008. It was reported in the press that the pub had closed because the rent demanded from the pub company was too high and the tenants could not make enough money. The owner of Blakeney Chip-in chip shop opposite the Kings Head told the ‘Citizen’ “It’s a great shame”.  and there were fears that the building would be converted to residential use. However, just six weeks later a new management stepped in and reopened the Kings Head… “I’ve got the cellar sorted out so all the beers are right and the next thing is to get the food going” said the new tenant. Despite the best intentions the Kings Head closed once again. It reopened once again in May 2011. On the opening night 200 people turned out to celebrate the revitalised Kings Head. Hayley Kear said “They say this is a dying trade but the response we had from the community was incredible and I’d like to thank them for such a warm welcome.” She added “We want to do something for everybody, a bit like the old-fashioned village pubs that catered for all ages” An ‘eating out’ review in August 2011 gave this account ‘You can get some really good meals at this pub if you eat within certain times of the day. Between noon and 7pm there are set menus for only £5 or less – which include such favourites as fish and chips and steak baguettes.’ Another review in April 2012 stated that the Kings Head serves a variety of foods, the most popular being their hearty steaks.

Closed in 2010.

The old Kings Head last traded as La Dolce Vita, a traditional Italian restaurant. The name means ‘the good life, full of pleasure and indulgence’ and is also the title of a Federico Fellini 1960 film. 

New plans for the redevelopment of the old Kings Head were submitted to Forest of Dean District Council in 2021. Part of the building is to be retained for commercial use, the remaining space being converted to residential use. There is some optimism that a small ‘micro-pub’ might be incorporated into the building which will be beneficial to the local community of Blakeney who have been without a pub in the village for some time.

Landlords at the Kings Head include:

1851,1856 Thomas Trotman (aged 32 in 1851, innkeeper, establishment not named)

1876 Edward Evans (Kings Head Inn and posting house)

1885,1891 Isaac Godfrey

1902,1906 Mrs Emma Morris

1919 Henry Baldwin

1927 William J. Smith

1939 Ernest W. Seville

1968 Pat and Bob Murray

1983 Robert and Dorothy Harris

1998 Helen Marie Brice

2007 Philip Cowley and Nicola Clifford

2008 John Modrate (manager), Stuart Field (owner)

2011 David and Hayley Kear

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