Heather Hurley in her book ‘Pubs of the Royal Forest of Dean’ states that ‘the New Inn was housed in one of Bream’s oldest buildings dating from at least 1550 when it was a Forest merchant’s house . It became an inn some time before 1814 and is clearly marked on Bryant’s map of 1824. At the time it would have served as a coaching inn for travellers on the Coleford to Lydney road, for the road leading from the High Street towards Parkend was then only a mere track.
The Cross Keys Inn was situated on the opposite side of the road. In 1864 a village wake was held at Whitsuntide in which villagers competed for prizes strung on a rope across the roadway between the New Inn and the Cross Keys. In 1924 the annual Bream fair is documented as being held in a field near the New Inn and the Maypole.
The New Inn was owned by James Howell but leased to Barnard Brothers in 1891, but twelve years later it is documented that Barnard Bros were owners of the pub which was designated an ale house and closed at 10 pm. The rateable value was £11.4s.0d. Barnard Brothers were brewers based at the Feathers Hotel in Lydney. This was the only outlet for brothers Samuel and John Barnard in this area of the Forest of Dean. Other pubs supplied by this small family brewing business were the Bridge Inn and the Step a Side in Lydney and the Dukes Head in Woolaston.
Alton Court Brewery of Ross on Wye then held the New Inn in their tied estate. Alton Court Brewery was acquired by the Stroud Brewery in 1956, but just a couple of years later the Cheltenham and Stroud breweries amalgamated to form West Country Breweries. It seems that the New Inn was surplus to their requirements and it seems to have closed down soon thereafter.
In February 1983 the Dean Heritage Museum Trust is reported to have purchased the building, but it appears to be still in residential use.
Landlords of the New Inn include:
1870,1876 Jane Hewlett
1885 Samuel Preest
1891,1906 Ann Hewlett (Mrs Annie Hewlett in 1903 and 1906)
1919 Arthur Jones
1927 Albert V. Etheridge
1939 Leonard Crosse
1940’s Ray and Peggy Whitehead
1960’s H. Skidmore