The Dog and Muffler is in an isolated position in the hamlet of Joyford. It has a history that can be traced back to at least 1838. James Hall, a brewer and maltster from Redbrook*, was the owner in 1838. At that time the pub was called the New Inn and John Hill was the resident licensee. (*Note: I have not found any other reference to a brewer and maltster from Redbrook called James Hall).
When the 1891 petty licensing book was issued containing the names of pubs in Gloucestershire, the New Inn had been renamed the Britannia. The pub was a basic beer house with an annual rateable value of £12.0s.0d. The Britannia Inn was owned by the Fox family. The executors of the late Edward Fox are listed as owners in 1891, with presumably his son Frederick George Fox taking ownership of the property in 1903. Free from brewery tie it is thought that cider was being produced at the pub for consumption on the premises. An ornamental cider press in the garden of the Dog and Muffler is probably the original. Closing time in 1903 was 10 pm.
Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): A find, this pretty little old snug boozer has had a space of new landlords and evidence pointed to it having found its direction at last. The bar food was typical fast food grub and the beer Youngers and the cook was friendly, my mate loved it and said a crowd would give it atmosphere. For those wishing to dine in grander style there is a small restaurant area with a good menu. We called midday, midweek, and pubs are like people, never at their best early in the day. Spacious garden for the Summer months.
A ‘Citizen’ newspaper ’Pubwatch’ review of the Dog and Muffler in 1999 written by David Browne gave this account:
‘There has been an ale-house at Joyford for as long as anyone can remember. Joyford lies between Coleford and Berry Hill and boasts a very good pub which currently lacks an inn sign. But locals do not need to be reminded of its name – it’s the Dog and Muffler (formerly known as the Britannia). The building – or at least a part of it – dates from medieval times. It first saw life as an old cider house and then become a traditional pub. At its zenith, in the earlier years of this century, it was a very good one indeed. But it did not keep up with the times. When Dennis and Nadia Brain took it over nine years ago, they recognised that the Dog and Muffler had to reflect changing trends. The building was extended and a new conservatory restaurant, en-suite bedrooms, bar, kitchen and toilet facilities were added. Old and new sit easily together here. The oak-beamed lounge bar, with its open-hearth fire, retains much of the much of the atmosphere of a traditional English pub. Food, as well as drink, has become a major attraction – not only for locals but also for holidaymakers and visitors to the area.
A free house, the Dog and Muffler offers popular beers, a choice of real ales – Sam Smiths, plus a guest – and, remembering its origins, cider (but not scrumpy) from Herefordshire and Somerset. The pub also boasts a play area, a beer garden and a large car park.
But what about the dog and muffler? Where did this unlikely combination come from? “You’ll find the dog – or rather its head – above the fire breast in the Stable Bar,” says Nadia. “It’s actually a Tibetan mastiff, which we think once belonged to a doctor in Lydbrook. The knitted woollen muffler round its neck bears the colours of Berry Hill Rugby Club. It was installed by a previous landlord, Edgar Hillman, who still lives locally. If nothing else, it is a good talking point, and never fails to intrigue visitors.”
1838 John Hill (New Inn. Owner James Hall, Redbrook)
1891 John Kirby
1903 Frederick George Fox
1939 Edwin Powles
1970 (approx) Edgar and Mary Hillman (from the George Hotel, St. Briavels)
1990 Dennis and Nadia Brain (Dog and Muffler)
1998— Nadia Kemley (Dog and Muffler)
2001-2005 Adrian Eyles & Kathleen Croft (Dog and Mufffler)
2006,2013 Richard and Susan Manning (Dog and Muffler)