Fairford. Petty Sessions. 11th October 1902: A carpenter from Quenington was charged with refusing to quit the New Inn, Coln St Aldwyns. He pleaded guilty, and from the evidence given by the landlady, he had behaved disgracefully. Drink was refused him and as he would not leave, Sergeant Neville was telegraphed for.

Sergeant Neville said the landlady asked the accused to leave the premises. He refused, and he then put him out. Witness followed the defendant to the Pig & Whistle and other public houses. They all refused him beer. The sergeant ascertained that he had been seen to be very drunk as early as a quarter past seven that morning. The Chairman said it was very disgraceful conduct, and fined him 15 shillings, to include costs.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is New-Inn-Coln-1024x771.jpg
Courtesy Nick Warner

‘What’s Brewing’ (CAMRA magazine) – Historic tavern survives developer by Stephen Cox: The villagers of Coln St Aldwyn’s fought more than two years to save their only pub from the developers. but now the New Inn is re-open for business under new and more dynamic leadership. In summer 1988 the Gloucestershire villagers learnt that the New Inn had been bought by a developer, who submitted numerous plans to the local authority to turn it into housing. Built around 1600, the pub is a rambling Cotswold stone building that would have been wasted as a yuppie holiday homes.

A 100-strong petition decided to fight the closure and the Coln St Aldwyns Society was launched. The society was able to enlist a local QC (who gave his services free), journalists and ‘resting’ business executives to run the campaign, and from its earliest days it was fully supported by the local branch of CAMRA.

Society chairman David Trudgill explained over a celebratory pint: “The pub is more than just a place to drink beer. We realised that it was a major part of the social life of the village, a meeting place, a community centre. It would have been a tragedy on aesthetic grounds alone had the developer succeeded.” The developer said the pub was unviable and closed it. CAMRA and the society were convinced this was only due to lack of interest by the previous owners. The loss to tourism, the social life of the village, and its economy if the pub closed permanently were obvious.

The society offered to buy the pub, raising promises of £500,000 to do so. They were rebuffed. After much lobbying, and a massive publicity campaign, the local authority refused planning permission on all counts. The developer appealed and it went to a public enquiry. The inspector’s report came down clearly on the side of the village. The then Environment Minister, Chris Patten, concurred and the developer conceded defeat.

So after two years of campaigning, the New Inn was sold to Chris Knight, a hotelier who has ambitious plans for it. The pub has been extensively refurbished, in good taste, emphasising the wood beams and Cotswold stone. He is moving into food, and upmarket accommodation and now calls the place a “country house hotel”, which might raise the odd CAMRA eyebrow.

Hopefully there is still a welcome in the New Inn for tourist, cyclist or local who want a pint of decently kept, independently brewed beer. “I only stock real ales I drink myself,” Chris Knight says cheerfully. Nor will any electronic machines be allowed to offend the eye and ear as he can’t stand them.

The society spent £80,000. Its fighting zeal will not disappear, as it plans to remain in operation to defend the encroachment on the village and “ginger up” the local council. Pub campaigners elsewhere can take heart from their victory. A pub closed for two years can be saved. as David Trudgill says, “To have lost such a pub with so much potential would have meant losing something of England. If we couldn’t save this pub, no pub was safe.”

New Inn – a new beginning: In June 1988, The New Inn at Coln St Aldwyns in the Cotswolds became famous – and that fame lasted far longer than the proverbial 15 minutes. From the low point of being branded uneconomic with plans to convert it into flats, it has climbed to the heights of exclusive Guide status, rosettes and awards. The New Inn’s life took off with its rescue by Brian and Sandra Anne-Evans. By October 1993, it had gained initial recognition in Egon Ronay’s Pubs & Inns guide. This year has been a bumper one. The New Inn’s restaurant has been awarded two rosettes by the AA and will be in its Best Restaurants in Britain, 1996.

With a 76 per cent rating for food, drink and accommodation, it has also gained an entry in the 1996 AA Hotel Guide. Brian Evans puts the new-found success down to hard work, a strong team ethic, his head chef and his general manager. “Tony Robson-Burrell and Stephen Rawlings have made an enormous difference,” he says of them.

The New Inn combines a beamed bar, restaurant and lounge with 11 beautifully and differently decorated rooms, all en-suite.

Wilts & Glos Standard, 9th October 1998 – Inn is just like home: Innkeepers Brian and Sandra Evans have a major accolade for their pub’s hospitality. The couple, who run the New Inn, Coln St Aldwyns, near Cirencester, have been awarded the AA Courtesy & Care Award, one of only 14 such awards in the country. Mr Evans said: “All our staff make a point of greeting guests whenever they see them. We always help people with their bags and make sure the guests are the absolute centre of attention. We’re chuffed to bits with the award, it’s really special.”

Wilts & Glos Standard, 11th July 2002 – “We can achieve even more”: Sandra-Anne and Brian Evans of the New Inn@Coln in Coln St Aldwyns are celebrating their tenth anniversary at the award winning hotel. During their time in the coaching inn, the couple have won a clutch of awards, including two AA stars. Recently, they were joined by talented young chef Sarah Payton who is keen to add more awards and bring her own style of cooking to the dining room.

Brian said: “We have already achieved so much, but feel now we are entering a new era when we can achieve even more.” The New Inn is well known, not only for its food and bar, but for its hotel rooms created by Sandra-Anne who has a background in interior design.

Wilts & Glos Standard. 14th August 2003 – Popular pub sold: A popular pub in Coln St Aldwyns has been sold. The New Inn at Coln has been purchased by Angela Kimmett and her family who intend to build on the inn’s excellent reputation for food. Award-winning French chef Pascal Clavaud has been recruited. He will be assisted by Barry Gardner, a talented young English sous chef.

The sale follows approved plans by Cotswold District Council to build a 12-bedroom staff accommodation block. The former owner, Brian Evans, ran the inn for 11 years. It was sold in an off-market deal by national hotel agents Robert Barry & Co, based in Cirencester.

Gloucestershire Echo, Thursday November 5th 2009 – “We are shining stars in world of quality hotels”:

A Cotswolds hotel is shining with success. The New Inn at Coln has achieved the coveted two red stars status. The AA award puts the hostelry, at Coln St Aldwyns, in the top 200 in the UK. Inspectors singled out the public house, which is part of the hotel group Hillbrooke, known for its unique brand of quirky luxury. General manager Stuart Hodges, at the helm for a year, said: “This award is thanks to the efforts of an excellent team – from front of house through to housekeeping. Two red stars sets us apart from our peers. We’re quirky and unusual, which people like, and we’re completely committed to getting it right four our guests, which people love.”

The AA said: “The achievements of these establishments throughout the year put them at the pinnacle of the hospitality industry.” The hotel team will receive the award at a glittering black tie ceremony in London.

The New Inn overlooks the Williamstrip estate, has a terrace, bar, restaurant and individually designed rooms.

Image: Gloucestershire Echo

Image: Gloucestershire Echo

Courtesy Michael Wilkes
Image Courtesy The New Inn

Licensing Details:

Map Reference: SP 146051

Owner in 1891: Ellen Mary Wilkins (free from brewery tie)

Rateable Value in 1891: £11.4s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse (off sales only – six day licence)

Owner in 1903: Ellen Mary Wilkins (leased Cirencester Brewery)

Rateable Value in 1903: £11.4s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse (six day licence, presumably closed on Sundays)

Closing time in 1903: 10pm

Landlords at the New Inn include:

1891,1903 Ellen Mary Wilkins

1906,1913 Edmund James Wilkins

1919 Frederick W. Smith

1927,1939 Jesse Blackwell

1990 Chris & Hazel Knight (‘opened again on 10/8/90 after a closure of two years’)

1992,2002 Brian and Sandra-Anne Evans

2003 Roger and Angela Kimmett

2022 Baz and Fred

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