A road going up the steep Church Hill from Upper Lydbrook meanders through narrow country lanes towards Joys Green, passing through the small hamlet of Hausley (or Horse Ley). Superb panoramic views of the Royal Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley can be enjoyed from this elevated position. The Masons Arms was a surprising find in such an isolated location.
The building dates from the late eighteenth century and probably became a basic beer house around 1870. George Davis was the owner in 1891 when the Masons Arms was trading as a free house. The annual rateable value was £18.0s.0d. Francis Wintle’s Forest Brewery of Mitcheldean had acquired the Masons Arms by the beginning of the 20th century. Closing time was at 10 pm.
In May 1937, upon the voluntarily winding up of the Forest Brewery, the entire estate pub was passed to to the Cheltenham Original Brewery, the holding company. The particulars of sale described the Masons Arms as including ‘all outbuildings and appurtenances thereunto belonging comprising pot house, closet, three pig cots, stone erection of stabling with loft over, meadow and garden containing in all three quarters of an acre or thereabouts’. A photograph of the Masons Arms in the late 1940’s show ‘Stroud Brewery Ales’ signage on the building, and towards the end of its life as a licensed premises the pub sign shows some affiliation to the Bass Brewery of Burton on Trent.
It seems that the pub changed its name to the Bush Inn sometime in its history, but then reverted back to the Masons Arms. In October 2006 the pub was still quietly trading but was only open at weekends. It seems to have closed altogether soon afterwards. Considering its out-of-the-way location, it is amazing that the Masons Arms survived as a pub for so long.
Landlords at the Masons Arms include:
1861 John Burton
1881 Abiah Hatton (aged 31)
1891 Isaac Hale (publican and coal miner)
1903 James Brain
1937 Alfred Powell