The New Inn is a whitewashed rendered building with a modern extension built of local sandstone.
By 1891 the Stroud Brewery already owned a small number of pubs in the Forest of Dean, and probably supplied their beer to some free houses too. Most of the Stroud Brewery pubs in late Victorian times were in the Lydney and Newnham areas, including the New Inn at Viney Hill, and the George and Nags Head in the neighbouring village of Yorkley. The annual rateable value of the New Inn in 1891 and 1903 was £13.10s.0d. It was a licensed beer house with a closing time of 10 pm.
I have often wondered why Stroud Brewery had an interest in expanding their business outside their usual trading area westwards into the Forest of Dean. The River Severn presents a natural obstacle and, until the opening of the Severn Tunnel in 1886 and the Severn Rail Bridge in 1879, there was no easy passage across the river. Stroud Brewery nestled directly underneath Stroud GWR Railway Station, so it is reasonable to assume that the opening of the Great Western Railway from Stroud to Gloucester in 1845 provided the opportunity to transport beer using the rail network. Transfer of casks of beer from the brewery to the GWR line, only a stone’s through away, may have not been as easy as it seems. It is more likely that Stroud Brewery used the Midland Railway branch at Wallbridge, again not too far from the brewery itself. But did Stroud Brewery beer get to the Forest by train over the Severn Bridge via Berkeley, or via the circuitous rail route via Gloucester? Perhaps the clue is the junction of the Nailsworth branch onto the main Bristol to Gloucester line at Stonehouse. Trains coming off the branch could only proceed northwards as there was no loop facilitating direct access to the south towards Berkeley Road junction and the Severn Bridge. The probability is that the wagons loaded with Stroud Brewery ales therefore were sent by rail via Gloucester and then marshalled onto goods trains heading towards the Forest of Dean.
Stroud Brewery merged with Cheltenham & Hereford Brewery in 1958 to form West Country Breweries. A ‘Best in the West – 1760 – West Country Ales’ ceramic plaque inlaid into the wall is a reminder of the New Inn’s previous owners.
An ’eating out’ review in the Forester newspaper in February 2007 noted that there was ‘no trendy furniture or posh décor to dazzle the diner when they walk into the restaurant. Sue Mapp and Ian Williams have realised that their customers want a traditional, hearty, square meal at a reasonable price – just something simple. You couldn’t buy the ingredients and cook them at home for the money. The best bit is that it’s like enjoying a home-cooked Sunday lunch without the washing up.’
Landlords at the New Inn include:
1891,1903 Charles James
1939 Bernard Partridge
1960-1969 Arthur Herbert Stanley (died 25th June 1969. He took on the licence of the New Inn from his mother in law – Mrs L. Partridge)
2002 (Nov), 2007 Ian Williams and Sue Mapps