There is a reference in 1790 to the Nags Head. The 1830 Pigot’s directory and 1837 Robson’s Commercial Directory refer to the Travellers Rest at Whitecliff, which by 1842 the inn had reverted back to the Nags Head.

For Sale by Auction. May 1833. Courtesy John Saunders

In the 1891 and 1903 petty licensing books the Nags Head is described as an alehouse with an annual rateable value of £11.2s.4d. William Page was the owner in 1891 but the lease was taken by John William Watts, of the Wine & Spirits Stores in St John Street. Twelve years later in 1903 the Nags Head had been sold to Arnold, Perrett & Co. Ltd. By the beginning on the Edwardian era the Wickwar Brewery owned more pubs in the Forest of Dean than any other brewery, even more than the Forest Brewery (Francis Wintle’s) in Mitcheldean.

Opposite the Nags Head stood the Whitecliff Pottery, first noted in 1803, but later the business of John Watts. In 1858 an advertisement read: ‘Manufacturer of Red and Black Ware – Chimney, Garden, Rhubarb and Seakale Pots, Socket Pipes, Draining Pipes, Glazed Ridge and Angle Tiles, Garden Pots of every description. Tobacco Pipes, Marbles, Yellow Ware, etc.’

25th March 1891. Courtesy John Saunders

Gloucester Journal, Saturday 18th May 1907 – Coleford Petty Sessions: Albert Bending, a collier, of Coalway, was summonded for using abusive language and also for refusing to quit the licensed premises of the Nags Head, Whitecliff and was ordered to pay, including costs, £2.2s.

Gloucester Journal, Saturday 8th March 1930 – Well-known Coleford Licensee’s Death: Following several weeks of serious illness, the death of Mr. James T. Williams, of the Nags Head Inn, Whitecliff, has occurred at the age of 69. Mr Williams was a well-known Dean Forest licensee and for many years held the licence of the Lamb Hotel, Coleford. A native of Bream, he came to Coleford in 1908. He leaves a widow.

An inventory of sale dated 1937 suggests that the Nags Head might have ceased trading before World War Two: ‘Parish of Newland – Nags Head: “All that messuage or dwelling house used as a public house and known as the Nags Head with the outbuildings garden and cottage and all other outbuildings and appurtenances thereunto belonging and the piece or parcel of pasture land or orcharding adjoining the same containing altogether four acres and twenty three perches (more or less) situate at Whitecliffe in the Tything of Coleford in the Parish of Newland in the County of Gloucester.”

The building retains the name Nags Head in private residency.

Landlords at the Nags Head / Travellers Rest include:

1790 (Nags Head)

1830,1833 Jeremiah Trigg (Travellers Rest)

1837,1839 William Fryer (Travellers Rest)

1842 Elizabeth King

1856 J. Jones

1868 Elizabeth Jones

1870 Mrs Elizabeth Harris

1876 Hy. Burton

1879 William Teague

1885 William Beard.

1891 Henry Miller

1902 Charles Benfield

1903 Peter Kear Jones

1906 Joseph Gwilliam

1911 John O’Connell

1919 James B. Berrows

1927 James Williams

1939 Harry Edward Brookes

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