James and Sarah Jane Prichard were tenants at the nearby Cross Keys. In the 1861 census James Prichard is recorded as being a wheelwright by profession originating from Hewelsfield and living with his wife Sarah Jane at the Cross Keys. They had three children whilst living there Andrew, William and Catherine. Both William (2 years 6 months) and Catherine (4 years 3 months) died in childhood and there is a gravestone in Tutshill Churchyard in memory of them. Catherine died in August 1867. But James and Sarah had more bad news to come as just two years later in 1869 they were apparently told to leave their home at the Cross Keys. A story that had been handed down is that the Prichard family moved just up the road where two cottages were being constructed but not yet completed. They took on the cottages and converted them into a public house, poignantly named ‘Live & Let Live’. James himself died in 1873, leaving Sarah at the pub until the end of the 19th Century. It has been said that the bitter and angry spirit of Sarah Prichard frequently haunted the Cross Keys pub prior to its closure.
Bristol United Breweries were the owners of the Live & Let Live in 1891 and 1903. At that time the brewery in Lewins Mead Bristol, only had one other tied house in the Forest of Dean – the other being the nearby Rising Sun in Woodcroft. Presumably the Bristol brewed beers were transported by railway to the Chepstow area through the Severn Tunnel, which opened in 1886. Georges & Co. Bristol Brewery took over Bristol United in 1956. The annual rateable value of the Live and Let Live in 1891 and 1903 was £13.15s.0d. It had a licence as a beer house and closing time was at 10 pm.
For 45 years the Live & Let Live was run by the Carpenter family. In 1901 Herbert and Ellen’s great-niece Blanche Blatchly (aged 7) moved in with them. In October 1916 Blanche married Stanley John Mayo. After being wounded in France in Army Service Stanley was medically discharged and took up residence in the Live & Let Live. Ellen Carpenter passed away in April 1928 and Bristol United Breweries asked Stanley to take on the tenancy. Stanley Mayo retired from the Live & Let Live in 1946.
Bristol United Breweries were acquired by George’s Bristol Brewery in 1956. Through subsequent amalgamations the Live & Let Live became a Courage Brewery House.
Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): A small corner pub which seems to use a car park across the road. Lots of beams, brasses, plates, prints and bric-a-brac, including a couple of prints of Premier Grand Crus (Maraux and Latour). A long bar with a new log fire one end houses an interesting and varied range of punters, and offers, in comfort, snacks (various) and wide-ish range of beers which include Courage’s and Fosters (not many of those in this largely Whitbread dominated territory).
Maureen Hughes was the licensee of the pub from 2000 to 2004. She returned to the pub with her daughter Zoe in May 2009. She said: ‘I feel since we left the pub it hasn’t been treated in the same way that we liked it to have been. We want to take it back to what it used to be – which was a traditional pub for locals to enjoy a drink.” She added, “We cook good quality homemade food and provide evening entertainment like quiz nights and darts.”
The parent company that owned the pub went into receivership in 2012 and their portfolio of properties, including the Live & Let Live, were put up for sale. It was bought by local hairdresser Paula Smith. The tenant landlord Chris Luxton, who was told that would have 28 days’ notice to vacate when the sale went through, said “It’s a thriving community pub. Quite a few elderly people use it. It’s the kind of place where people come expecting to pay a fiver for ham, egg and chips and enjoy a few pints.”
The Live & Let Live called ‘last orders’ for the final time on 28th January 2013. An application was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council in January 2014 for ‘partial change of use of the ground floor from drinking establishment to hairdressers’ which included external alterations to the elevation and changes to the doors and windows. The applicant was granted permission.
That begged the question, ‘is it a salon or saloon?’ Paula Smith told councillors, “Out of respect to the local community it will remain a public house, but with a salon attached.” Councillor Gethyn Davis said that he was not happy with the changes being made internally to the building., “I wouldn’t want to socialise in a pub, with whatever the latest smells being used in the hairdressing industry wafting over. However, I am reluctant to say that this hybrid proposal is preferable than leaving the building empty, but a still feel it leaves a lot to be desired.” But Councillor Lynn Sterry said, “I think it’s a great idea, my husband can have a beer while I get my hair done!”
On 5th November 2014 it was reopened as a hairdressing salon and Pritchards Wine Bar. If the surname was based on the previous occupiers, the Prichard family of Victorian times, the chosen name of the wine bar had gained the letter ‘T’. Reviews on Trip Advisor were generally quite complimentary. For example, ‘We were passing Pritchards at the Live & Let Live in Tutshill and needing a Sunday lunch for the family we took a gamble that really paid off. The food was excellent as was the atmosphere and the staff were very friendly and helpful.’ But a post in February 2016 lamented, ‘Unfortunately this venue is now closing. This hasn’t really taken off and has now finished through lack of support.’
In 2016 Pritchards Wine Bar reopened as Toast Tutshill Co. This is a Café, Bar and Community Workshop that serves craft beers, ciders and wine together with simple honest food.
Thanks to Tidenham Local History Group for some of the information.
Landlords at the Live & Let Live include:
1869,1873 James and Sarah Prichard
1873,1892 Mrs Jane Prichard (widow. Listed as beer retailer in 1876)
1901-1916 Herbert and Ellen Carpenter
1916-1928 Mrs Ellen Carpenter (widow – Herbert died 8th April 1916)
1928-1946 Stanley Mayo
1946-1962 Bert Reader
1962-1963 Mrs Reader (widower)
1963-1965 Walter Liddington
1965-1971 Jack Elvidge
1971-1972 Mrs B. Elvidge (widower)
1972-1975 Derrick Smith
1975-1978 Howard Massey
1978-1982 Derrick Smith (second tenancy)
1982-1983 Ken Johnsey
1983-1989 Michael Sowden
1989-1990 Ian Reeve
1990-1992 John Reed
1992-1993 Allan Watts (licensee of the Rising Sun, Woodcroft)
1993-1995 Bernard Hopkins
1995-1996 Feargus Power
1996-1997 Derek Evans
1997-2000 Donald Ellis
2000-2004 Maureen Hughes
2004-2006 Ms. L. Sullivan & Mr A. Carey
2006-2008 Mr C. Bees & Mr. M. Batten
2008-2009 Mark Burns-Lindow
2009-January 2012 Mrs Zoe Evans (daughter of Maureen Hughes, landlady 2000-2004)
2012-February 2013 Mr Chris Luxton