The Kings Head is located up windy and narrow lanes in the oldest part of Kingscourt. The 1996 edition of ‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’ described it as being one of the most difficult pubs to find in the county. However, the views afforded over the Woodchester Valley are magnificent.
It is interesting to compare the photographs of the Kings Head. The first photo shows the pub in Edwardian times (the landlord might be Alfred Niblett). A small vegetable garden is evident at the front of the pub – are those Alfred’s prize cabbages? The second photo shows the Kings Head in modern times. A square extension has been built to the frontage, strengthening ‘S’ bars have been added and the vegetable patch is now an oil patch!
April 1897: Open During Prohibited Hours – Rhoda Niblett, landlady of the Kings Head Inn, of Kingscourt, Rodborough, was summoned for that she, being the owner of licensed premises at Kingscourt, Rodborough, on the 4th inst., did keep open the same for the sale of intoxicating liquors during prohibited hours. Defendant pleaded guilty, and P.C. Spicer proved the case. It was stated that defendant had kept the house for 40 years without previous complaint. The Bench imposed a fine of 7s.6d., and costs 7s. The licence was not endorsed.
The Citizen: February 1983 – New job at the bar for Eddie: Anthony ‘Eddie’ Edwards and his wife Joan are the new hosts behind the bar at the King’s Head pub at Kingscourt. The Edwards family have taken over the popular pub from Brian Webb, who has moved on to run the Carpenters Arms at Westrip.
Eddie, his wife and three children Tracey (13), Mark (12) and Steven (4) lived at South Cerney until moving to Stroud. Work for many years meant plant operation for Eddie, so why turn to the licensing trade?
“I was self-employed for about five years and I felt I would like to be my own boss again,” he explained. “Both Joan and myself will be working behind the bar and this seemed an ideal way to run a family business.” Although a newcomer to pub life, Eddie is confident that his new venture will be successful. “We are hoping to make many new friends in the area,” he added. “No one who drops into the Kings Head for an evening out or just a bite to eat will leave disappointed.”
2nd December 1987: Ex-plain clothes policeman Paul Beckey has a new beat – behind the bar of a country pub. He and his wife Heather moved from the Midlands to take over the Kings Head at Kingscourt, Stroud. Paul (44) has just retired from the West Midlands force after a police career spanning 25 years. His last posting was as a plain clothes surveillance unit based at Solihull. “We have had enough of city life and have always had a hankering to run a country pub of our own. The Kings Head fits the bill to a tee,” he said.
The couple are now working out ways to improve the business at the pub which has panoramic views of the Nailsworth valley. Their possible plans include an adventure playground and a pets’ corner to keep customers’ youngsters happy.
Stroud News & Journal. Wednesday March 14th, 2018 – Popular landlords celebrate 25 years of service to community (by Paul Joannou): Popular landlords John and Carol Nicholl recently celebrated 25 years behind the bar at the Kings Head at Kingscourt. Besides running a much loved community pub, the couple also recently raised more than £3,000 to buy not just one but two defibrillators. The anniversary fell in the same week as one of the devices was installed in the pub. Carol was full of praise for all the customers who helped raised the money. They were all invited to an anniversary celebration with live music, a buffet and of course a cake at the end of last month.
“The Kings Head is all about local people,” said Carol. “We have a good mix of working and middle class people here who all get on really well. the achievement that we are most proud of is that in eight weeks we raised £3,200 for two defibrillators, one for outside the pub and one for Gastrells Primary School, and that’s quite an achievement. All the money came from donations. We also had an auction of promises which raised £1,300 plus a clothes sale, karaoke and lots of raffles.”
“Over the years we’ve raised a lot of money for the community,” she said.
It has been an eventful journey over a quarter of a century for Carol and John, who revamped the pub, turning it into the heart of the community. “Over the 25 years we picked it up and boosted it but I think me and my husband are now the oldest publicans in the area,” joked Carol.
The interior of the Kings Head has not seen massive, over the top, brewery ‘improvements’ and retains many original features. The CAMRA ‘What Pub!’ website describes it as the closest to a 1930’s-1940’s interior in Stroud.
Map Reference: SO 844033
Owner in 1891: Stroud Brewery
Rateable value in 1891: £9.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Owner in 1903: Stroud Brewery
Rateable value in 1903: £9.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords at the Kings Head include:
1891 Alfred Niblett
1847,1903 Rhoda Niblett
1939 Harry Weaving
1939,1947 Charles Powell
1973 David Bence
1982 Brian Webb (moved to Carpenters Arms, Westrip)
1983, 1987 Anthony ‘Eddie’ & Joan Edwards (Eddie died of cancer in 2003)
1987 (December) Paul and Heather Beckley
1993, 2018 John and Carol Nicholl