The Oakwood Inn was located in Mill Hill at the end of the Oakwood Road. When the Oakwood Inn was licensed the pub enjoyed panoramic views towards Bream. However, since ‘last orders’ were called for the final time on Saturday 7th March 1970 trees have encroached on the open space and the private residence is now in a secluded wooded glade.
Samuel Musgrove was the owner and occupier of the Oakwood Inn in 1891 when the pub traded free of brewery tie. The annual rateable value of the alehouse was set at £12.0s.0d. Anglo-Bavarian (later Anglo) Brewery in Somerset had acquired the Oakwood Inn by 1903. ‘Supping up’ time was 10 pm. When the Anglo Brewery ceased trading in 1921 the locals quenched their thirsts with Arnold Perrett’s Wickwar Ales. Ownership of the Oakwood Inn then passed to the Cheltenham Original Brewery in 1937.
In Heather Hurley’s book ‘Pubs of the Royal Forest of Dean’ (Logaston Press) an inventory of sale for the Oakwood Inn in 1937 reads:
“All that messuage or Public House known as the Oakwood Inn situate at Bream in the Parish of Newland in the County of Gloucester together with the outbuildings thereto belonging to and the Water Grist Mill called ‘Oakwood Mill’ and all other buildings and appurtenances thereunto belonging together also with the site thereof and the land occupied therewith and also all those pieces of arable and meadow lands and orchard adjoining or near thereto containing three acres or thereabouts comprised in and conveyed by a Conveyance dated the first day of September One thousand nine hundred made between Isaiah Trotter of the first part Samuel Musgrove and Sarah Musgrove of the second part and the Anglo Brewing Company of the third part.”
The stream running through the Oakwood Valley was used to power a corn mill as early as 1520. A foundry had been established on the site by 1852, which manufactured nails for export. It had closed by 1859 but was later worked by the Pearce family and had closed again by c1916. The Oakwood Valley was also rich in deposits of coal and iron ore, of which the latter has been mined since Roman times. The Flour Mill Colliery site is now the home of a Steam Locomotive Restoration and Repair Shop.
It is worth noting that the name of the landlord of the Oakwood Inn in 1939 was Sidney James – probably not the ‘Carry On’ actor though!
There is a rendered rectangular patch on the wall of the building, which presumably once housed a West Country Ales plaque.
Dean Forest Mercury – Friday 13th March 1970: Popular old inn will be missed. By Harry Price (DFM Bream Correspondent)
After well over a century of trading the Oakwood Inn, Bream, better known to local residents as “The Mill”, has closed its doors. Mr and Mrs Ivor Ellis (Ivor is a Bream man), drew the last pints on Saturday evening. How many no one knows as there was a crowd of over a hundred at the social evening. There was a tinge of sadness about the affair as this was a quiet, but none the less popular old inn which will be greatly missed by many. It has been a rendezvous for the local commoners (or sheep badgers) and many is the deal that has been discussed and completed in the bar, over a pint.
It was also a port-of-call for some of the hikers from Mitcheldean to St, Briavels and vice-versa in the summer, a the ‘waymarked’ trail leads close to the inn, an on a hot summer day a “shandy” was quickly seen off. This next summer no doubt many will be disappointed to find it closed.
How long ‘The Mill’ has been a public house no one seems to know, but the Death Club (which has now moved to the Rising Sun) was in its 104th year. Subscriptions to this used to be 1/6d. per month and the object was, of course, to see (to use a local term) that everyone was put away tidy when they passed away. We wonder who were the men who had the vision to start this Club, which reached a membership of 250, when state help was unheard of and industrial insurance companies were then virtually unknown.
Undoubtedly the ‘Mill’ derived its name from the time when the local farmers brought their corn to grind to flour by the Mill which was driven by a water wheel. Little of the actual Mill now remain, but the stream that supplied the motive power is still there. So is part of the granary, which at one time used used as a dance hall up till about 50 years ago.
The Oakwood has always been able to run a good darts team, and to complete their fixtures this season they will be accommodated at the Cross Keys, Bream. They compete in the Tidenham League
After the hectic Saturday evening Mr. and Mrs. Ellis faced the massive clearing up process on Sunday, and on Monday morning. I saw Mr. Russell Pegler, a local contractor, removing “The Oakwood Inn” letter by letter; which was part of the improvement effected by Whitbreads only two or three years ago, when several hundreds of pounds were spent on decorating, etc.
Mr. and Mrs. Ellis have been hosts the Oakwood for nine years, moving there when the Royal Oak closed at Yorkley where they were in business for seven years. They are retiring to Ellwood. The premises have been purchased for private occupation by a gentleman from London who informs me that it is his intention to retain them as original as possible. He came down especially for the last day as a “pub” and joined the last of its customers.
Landlords of the Oakwood Inn include:
1876,1891 Samuel Musgrove (listed as miller, Oakwood mills and Oakwood Inn in 1876)
1902,1903 Charles W. Morse (listed as builder and undertaker in 1903)
1906 Stephen Bromfield
1919 William Pitcher
1927 Hy. Cook
1930’s Charles Truman
1939 Sidney James
1961-1970 Ivor and Mrs Ellis (they were at the George at Yorkley previously)