Gloucester Journal: March 1790: To be sold, all that well-known Public House, the New Inn, situated at Woodmancote, in the town of Dursley. Also a tenement adjoining the same. For further particulars enquire of Sarah Nicholls, at the New Inn aforesaid.

The New Inn is located on the outskirts of Dursley at the foot of the hill on the A4135 Tetbury Road. On several occasions lorries have lost control coming down the steep hill and embedded themselves in the wall of the pub. There have been two fatalities, driver Shaun Akers in 1984 and driver Peter Hearn in 1988.

Wednesday April 7th 1971

Courtesy Ian Thomas

The Citizen, July 1979 – Cast-iron ball contest winners: Twelve teams took part in the 10th annual cast-iron ball throwing contest between the New Inn, Woodmancote, and the New Inn, Waterley Bottom, near Stinchcombe Hill, Dursley. Winners with the least number of throes, were the Charmills with 28 while the losers were Gloucester International Friendship League with as many as 72. The prize was the Whitbread Trophy.

Teams included Gloucester IFL, Swindon IFL, Bath International Club, The Wurzells, Commercial Alcoholics, Berkeley A&B, Lister Apprentices, The Morris Men, Dursley IFL and the New Inn at Waterley Bottom. Proceeds will go towards the cost of a garden seat in memory of the late Ken Sager, who died at the end of last year and was the instigator of the contest. The seat is to be presented for the garden of Gloucester Friendship Centre at Gloucester IFL’s barbeque on Tuesday 24th July.

The Citizen, 26th July 1984 – Cast-iron record: The annual cast-iron ball throwing competition, a strange event which has been running for 15 years near Dursley, attracted 17 teams this year. The object of the contest, which takes place between the New Inn at Woodmancote and the New Inn at Waterley Bottom, is for each team to throw in turn a cast-iron ball over a difficult one mile course through undergrowth and steep inclines in as few throws as possible.

This year’s winners were a team called ‘Last Year’s Winners’ who, with only 29 throws, beat off their opposition, and broke their record from the previous year when they were joint winners with 32 throws. Unfortunately three cast iron balls were lost in the bracken, putting ‘Droopers Troupers’, ‘Rednock Exiles’ and ‘Swindon IFL’ out of action. The winning team was presented with a cup given to the competition by Whitbread in 1971.

The Citizen, Saturday 25th August 1984 – Driver dies as lorry hits pub: (by Robin Haine) Police crash investigation experts were today examining the wrecked grain truck which rammed into a Dursley pub, killing the driver. The lorry crashed through the brick wall into the lounge bar at the bottom of steep Whiteway Hill – a notorious accident blackspot. The 22-year-old driver, Shaun Akers of St Mary’s Road, Tetbury, was trapped in the crushed cab of the overturned wagon.

Licensee Mt Garnett Priday, a widower, was sitting outside less than 10 yards away when the horror smash happened. “He had a miraculous escape,” said a spokesman for Whitbread Flowers, owners of the centuries old pub. One end of the inn was demolished and the load of grain, estimated at 30 tons, was scattered over the car park.

Rescue workers risked the threat of an exploding gas main in a battle lasting nearly seven hours to recover the body of the driver. The drama started yesterday afternoon when the lorry careered out of control. Emergency services were put on full alert. Horrified neighbours dashed to the crash scene but there was nothing they could do to reach the driver.

Mrs Kathleen Barnfield said: “I heard this tremendous explosion, and I thought it was from the quarry at the back of us. Everyone began running towards the pub.”

“At first you could not see anything because of the grain dust,” said Mrs Jean Bick. “There was a big bang and then a deadly silence. They tried to get to the driver but he just groaned. The lorry was embedded in the pub. This is the second time it has been hit in ten years.”

A Whitbread spokesman said: “It is too early to assess the damage to the building but it will costs thousands of pounds. We shall be working flat out to re-open the pub as soon as possible. Recovery specialists from a local garage helped the emergency services in a delicate operation. At one stage there were fears the whole pub could collapse. Electricity supplies to local homes were cut off and people ordered to stay indoors after it was thought a gas main may have been damaged. Police sealed off the immediate area and traffic was diverted. Building contractors later moved in and worked through the night to make the building safe.

This morning police appealed for witnesses to the crash which happened just after 3.30pm. They are anxious to trace anyone who may have seen the six-wheeler blue and cream Leyland tipper lorry travelling down the hill.

The Citizen, Saturday 7th May 1988 – Trucker dies in hill horror: A lorry driver died as his runaway tanker ploughed into a Dursley pub. The smash was identical to one which killed another trucker at the same spot three years ago.

The Swindon man at the wheel of the tanker which yesterday demolished much of the New Inn at Woodmancote has not yet been named by the police. It was the second time the pub’s lounge bar has been destroyed by an horrific fatal fire. Only three years ago another lorry driver died there and fourteen years before that the premises were first hit by a lorry.

Landlord Garnet Priday (67) was enjoying a cup of coffee in the afternoon sunshine when tragedy struck yesterday. He was sitting on wooden benches beside the inn with his daughter Mrs Linda Savage (37) of Rosebery Road, Dursley, when they heard a thunderous noise. “I looked up and knew from experience it wasn’t going to stop. We ran for our lives,” said Mr. Priday.

The tanker careered down the last slope of steep Whiteway Hill, slid on its side into the front of a cottage adjoining the New Inn and slammed into the pub itself, said a senior fire brigade member. The driver was killed instantly and was certified dead at the scene by a local doctor. His lorry was so embedded in the remains of the building it took more than five hours to recover his body.

As police, ambulance and other emergency teams joined the firemen, householders Steven and Fiona Smith, of the severely damaged cottage next door, were ushered away to stay with friends. The whole front wall of their home was destroyed and their living room left open to the street. Mrs Smith, who is expecting a baby, was badly shocked.

Firemen searched the pub premises with sophisticated heat seeking equipment to make sure no one one was trapped inside before they began to sure and prop the building to free the tanker. Gas board officals were called and cut off a leak, the MEB also disconnected electricity supplies. The road was closed to traffic.

Saturday May 7th 1988

The Citizen, Dead Driver Named: A lorry driver killed when his runaway tanker smashed into into a Dursley pub has been named. Relatives identified the man as Mr Peter Hearn (32) of Cotingham Close, Freshbrook Street, Swindon. Mr Hearn died at the wheel of his cement lorry after it careered out of control down the steep slope at Whiteway Hill, ripped off the side of a cottage adjoining the New Inn at Woodmancote and slammed into the pub itself. Mr Hearn was killed instantly.

The Citizen, 1st November 1984 – Crash pub re-opened: The New Inn at Woodmancote, Dursley, rammed by a grain lorry just over two months ago has been officially re-opened. Whitbread Flowers have spent an estimated £40,000 on restoring the building and Mr. Chris Milne, Managing Director, carried out the re-opening ceremony.

Mr Garnet Priday (63), landlord for the past 14 years said: “The brewery have done a marvellous job. It’s very smart.” Mr Milne praised building contractor Mr David Melsome, of Bisley, Stroud, for his firm’s speed and efficiency.

The Citizen, 8th October 1988 – Farewell to ill-fated pub: Dursley licensee Garnet Priday is looking forward to a quiet retirement after 19 years at the ill-fated New Inn. Mr Priday’s life and business have been disturbed three times during his tenancy by terrifying road accidents. In all cases heavy vehicles lost control on the steep Whiteway Hill and smashed into the pub at Woodmancote. But now, after years of campaigning by local residents, an extra escape road has been built at the bottom of the hill.

Mr Priday, a widower, was the toast of a farewell party at the pub when Whitbread chiefs presented him with a cut-glass decanter and glasses.

Obituary, Tuesday 31st December 2002. Garnet Priday: A well-known local pub landlord has died in hospital aged 82. A licensee for over 30 years, Garnet Priday, who finally turned his back on the beer trade in 1988, died in the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital on December 22nd.

Mr Priday, who was being buried in his native Berkeley today, kept the New Inn at the bottom of steep Whiteway Hill in Dursley, During his almost 20 years there three vehicles ran away downhill and careered into the pub. The New Inn had to be substantially rebuilt each time.

Great-grandfather Mr Priday grew up in Sharpness and attended school there. He began work in the local shipyards as a riveter and moved into labouring at Sharpness Docks, unloading cargo boats. Mr Priday then took over the Fox and Goose pub at nearby Halmore from his parents in 1956, but worked as well for British Waterways on canal maintenance.

He and his late wife Eileen then ran the Berkeley Arms in Cam from 1963-1969.

Glyn and Jo Lewis returned to the New Inn early in 2008. They owned the pub in 2000 but went on to run other pubs. Whilst they were away the New Inn had three landlords in the space of a year.

Dursley Gazette, 8th March 2012 – No last orders at popular pub: The new owner of a popular Dursley pub as assured its regulars it is not closing. Rumours had been rife in Dursley that the New Inn at Woodmancote was to close and be converted into housing.

However, speaking to the Gazette this week, local businessman Mick Nicholls, who has bought the pub from Punch Taverns, has confirmed it will remain as a pub.

Current landlords Maxine and Rob Lynn, who had a tenancy with Punch Taverns, will keep running the pub until Friday 16th March when it will then close while Mr Nicholls moves in. Mick Nicholls said “When it reopens it will be a real ale pub.”

New Inn, Woodmancote, Dursley – September 2015 – A video by Mick Nicholls
New Inn, Woodmancote, Dursley – September 2015 – Dave Hedges in the doorway is the bloke with the starring role. Sue is in the pink. – A video by Mick Nicholls

Pub Dog Walley

The Stroud RE bus group organised a ‘pub crawl’ of inns in the Stroud Valleys and Dursley area on Saturday 25th February 2023. The New Inn at Woodmancote was one of the pubs on the itinerary.

16th September 2023

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Richard Chapman, Dursley Steam Brewery

Rateable value in 1891: £16.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Thomas William Elvy, Dursley Brewery

Rateable Value in 1903: £16.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Owner in 2005: Punch Taverns

Landlords at the New Inn include:

1885 Mrs Eliza Weeks

1891 Frederick Daniel Weeks

1902 Henry Owen

1903,1906 Albert Edward Higgins

1919 Albert Wood

1927 Frank Hands

1939 Albert Edward Pagett

1969-1988 Garnet Priday

1998 John Ashplant and Angela Barker

2001 Glyn Lewis and Gary Rickette

2011 Maxine and Rob (moved from the White Lion)

Mike Smith found this mirror in a car boot sale

2000 Glyn and Jo Lewis

2008 Glyn and Jo Lewis (second tenancy)

2022 Mick (Nicholls) and Mandy – (Now a Free House owned by Mick & Mandy, even though a Pubmaster sign is on display outside)

Share this Page: