The address of the Mariners Arms is 49 Salter Street. It has recently closed plans are in place for conversion into a convenience store.

Mariners Arms Inn. Georges’ Bristol Beers.

The building is reputed to be the oldest in Berkeley dating back to at least 1476. The Mariners Arms stands on the site of an early monastic building and there are two stone windows in the pub dating from about 1390, which probably was salvaged from the monastery. The name of the pub is derived from the days when boats could navigate up Berkeley Pill and the mariners would walk up the road to the alehouse. It is at the top end of Stock Lane.

Gloucester Journal: March 1888 – Berkeley Police Court: John Day, proprietor of a wild beast show, was summoned for obstructing the highway by placing 10 vans near the Mariners Arms. Defendant did not appear. Sergeant Newman deposed to having cautioned defendant, whom he afterwards summoned. Fined 2s6d and 7s6d costs.

The Gloucester Journal reported on 10th March 1906 that the lodgings, provided at the pub, were for men working at Sharpness Docks. Sixteen beds were available to let and meals were cooked for lodgers. The Mariners Arms was then described as a ‘poor mans hotel’ and the licence of the property was being considered for relinquishing but the police agreed that the Mariners Arms was suitable for police supervision. Sergeant Hoskins said “people would have to break a fence and trespass to get out of the back.”

The Citizen: Wednesday, 30th December 1987 – Death of former licensee: The funeral takes place next Monday of retired Berkeley licensee Mr Stan Barrett who died suddenly at his home on Christmas Eve. Mr Barrett (66) was landlord of the Mariners Arms for 25 years until retiring in 1985. (1960-1985). He moved to Berkeley from the Ostrich, Newland, in the Forest of Dean, which he kept for 12 years. Mr Barrett was born in South Wales and was a former captain of Penarth Rugby Club. During the war he was a radar specialist with the Royal Navy and at one period was attached to the Australian Navy. He leaves a widow, daughter and three grandchildren.

In the late 1990’s the Mariners Arms suffered a series of break-ins and one of the pub regulars, Steve Mould, volunteered to stay in the premises overnight to deter would be burglars. Steve slept on a pub bench and stayed there… for five years! Steve became something of a celebrity after he was dubbed ‘Britain’s Laziest Man’ on BBC Radio Five. He lived up to his reputation in fine style claiming that he only washed twice a month and wore two pairs of broken spectacles sellotaped together, which Steve called ‘double glazing’! Steve told the press: “I’m the most bone-idle person in Britain, I can’t be bothered to do anything. I’m always in the sleep. I have to get up in the morning, otherwise I would miss my breakfast of a pint of cider!” Steve actually worked as the bar and cellar man but enjoyed his infamous reputation. When the Mariners Arms was sold in 2004 Steve moved to his brothers’ house in Dursley. He said: “My brother has a bed, my first in five years, but I’ll probably sleep on the floor because I’m used to it.”

‘Last orders’ has been called at the Mariners Arms.
Image Courtesy Dave Kirby

Stroud District Council. Planning: S.20/1239/FUL – Midcounties Co-operative. Mariners Arms, 49 Salter Street, Berkeley: Change of use, alterations and extensions to former Mariners Arms PH to form a new retail convenient store. Demolition of rear extensions and associated external works. August 2020.

The Gazette, Thursday 1st June 2023 – Opening date for new Co-op after lengthy delays: A major supermarket chain has issued an update following a two-year delay in opening a new store in a derelict pub in Berkeley. Midcounties Co-operative first applied to Stroud District Council in July 2020 to convert the Grade II listed Mariners Arms into a convenient store with an apartment above. The new larger Co-op store would allow the retailer to expand and move out of its current smaller shop in Salter Street. It later received planning permission in January 2021 but construction has been delayed.

Now the supermarket chain has finally revealed that it intends to begin work later this summer and hopes to eventually open the bigger shop next year. In council documents, the old public house is set to be transformed with the old bar and window seats becoming the new store’s staff areas, becoming the new store’s staff areas, bakery and storage areas. Meanwhile, the pub’s old skittle alley, toilets, kitchen and beer store would become the shop floor.

CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Listed in 1999, 2000, 2001

Licensing details:

Owner in 1891: Thomas Pearce Bailey (leased to Arnold Perrett & Co. Ltd., Wickwar Brewery)

Rateable value in 1891: £20.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903:  Thomas Pearce Bailey (leased to Arnold Perrett & Co. Ltd., Wickwar Brewery)

Rateable value in 1903: £20.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Landlords at the Mariners Arms include:

1856 E. Hale

1885,1891  Henry Bruton

1900 Jas. Shepherd (convicted and fined 2nd July 1900 for being drunk on his own premises)

1902 John Martin

1903 William Woodward

1906 George Jones

1919 Tom Haynes

1927 Albert Hy. Green

1939 Mrs Lucy Foster

1960-1985 Stan Barrett

1998 Sandra Cooke

2005 Charles Andrews

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