The Kings Head is located in an isolated position on the busy A 40 Gloucester to Ross on Wye road. The much-enlarged pub is impossible to miss as there are flags fluttering around its perimeter. The Kings Head now offers Bed and Breakfast accommodation.
Miss Eliza Hall was the owner of the Kings Head in late Victorian / early Edwardian times. Classified as a beer house it had an annual rateable value of £11.0s.0d. in 1903 with a stipulated closing time at 10 pm. Miss Hall ran the Kings Head as a free house in 1903 but the lease of the pub had been taken by W.J. Rogers & Co who brewed at the Jacob Street Brewery in Bristol. Jacob Street is just to the north of Temple Meads railway station close to the junction of Temple Way (A4044) and Old Market Street (A420). Although a rarity in Gloucestershire, W.J. Rogers beers could also be found locally at the Yew Tree in Huntley and the Rising Sun in Bream.
The Citizen: Friday, August 9th, 1991 – Pub Plan: Planners in the Forest of Dean have given delegated consent to a proposal to build a two-storey extension and additional car parking at the Kings Head Inn, Birdwood, Huntley.
In 1982 Mike ‘Flash’ Jefferies and his wife Marg moved into the Kings Head at Birdwood and turned the layout of the two-bar pub into a large bar area and added a children’s room and play area. Mike had previously been manager at the Robinswood Inn in Matson, Gloucester and, before that, the Tankard & Castle in Hester’s Way, Cheltenham. In 1989 Mike bought the freehold of the Kings Head and significantly extended it, adding accommodation, a larger eating area and a bigger play area for children.
Kara Jefferies was born in the Tankard & Castle in 1974. In 2005 Kara and her sister Michelle took over the running of the Kings Head enabling their parents to retire. The sisters had always been involved in the running of the Kings Head during the 24 years that Mike and Marg ran it. Michelle said, ‘Dad always made sure we appreciated the hard work involved. From the age of eight he made sure we were keeping the outside tidy, collecting glasses and bottling up. It was just what we did and have always done. It’s a seven-day-a-week job which is a way of life for us as I have never lived in a house so it’s my normal.’
Mike ‘Flash’ Jefferies passed away in July 2016. He had been in the licensed trade for 46 years.
During the extension to the premises in the 1980’s the ‘West Country Ales – Best in the West’ ceramic plaque was taken down and it is now a feature inlaid into the walls of the restaurant area. A rare survivor, however, is the ‘Castle’ emblem of the old Cheltenham Brewery which is to be seen in the ornamental ironwork of the hanging pub sign. Once a common sight on many hanging pub signs in Gloucestershire they are slowly disappearing. In recent years the decorative ironwork pub signs bearing the Cheltenham ‘castle’ have disappeared from the Yew Tree in Longhope and the Belfry in Littledean.
Landlords at the Kings Head include:
1891: Mary Holder
1903: Mark Green
1939 Frank Ball
1982-2005: Mike ‘Flash’ and Marg Jefferies
2005: Kara and Michelle Jefferies