The Pack Horse was located a few yards off the main A417 Cirencester to Lechlade Road in the picturesque village of Ampney St Peter. The pub closed in 1984.
Myra Bye got in contact with me about her family connections with the Pack Horse Inn. She was born in 1963, three years after her parents Alfred and Joyce Charman took over the running of the pub. When Myra was just three months old a fire broke out in the attic of the building. Joyce was pegging out the washing when she noticed smoke and flames coming from the roof and was unable to get back into the house to save her baby. Landlord and husband Alf was away from the pub working as a driver for Harvey’s Coaches in Chedworth. In desperation David Ockwell from the Manor in Ampney St Peter put up ladders in an attempt to reach the baby, but Myra was finally saved by fireman via the bedroom window.
The fire caused extensive damage to the attic and spread half way through the first floor. Years later the jovial and much-missed landlord from the nearby Red Lion John Barnard claimed that regulars of the Pack House were so pre-determined to save beer, which was being passed out of the window, that they forgot about poor baby Myra trapped upstairs. Despite the damage to the Pack Horse, Alf and Joyce were determined to keep the pub open, and for many months trade continued with a makeshift tarpaulin protecting the building.
Map Reference: SP 082013
Owner in 1891: Jonathon Larner (free from brewery tie)
Rateable Value in 1891:£11.4s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Owner in 1903: Jonathon Larner (free from brewery tie)
Rateable Value in 1903: £11.4s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
A bit of history, researched by Myra Bye:
1841 Mary Fuller age 55 lived in Ampney St Peter with servant Sarah Fuller.
1851 Mary Fuller, gardner. lives at beerhouse with John Mills, his wife and family. Probably Pack Horse
1856 Mary Fuller Ampney St Peter beer retailer. She dies in 1858. In the same John Larner buys the Pack Horse . He was a Yeoman and had no children. He appears not to have lived at Pack Horse but at Hill Oak (now in Ampney St Mary).
1861 John Berry 56 at Pack Horse . A land measurer and beer seller
1863 John Berry beer retailer Ampney St Peter. John Berry died in 1869. In 1871 John Berry’s wife Lucinda was lodging at the Crown Ampney Crucis and was described as a former beer retailer.
1871 Pack Horse occupied by John Barnfield a stone mason.
1876 Owner of Pack Horse John Larner dies.
1881 John Barnfield living at PackHorse . Publican and stone mason. He dies in 1889.
1885 Jonathan Larner (John Larner’s nephew , Myra’s Great Grandfather) first recorded in the Kelly Directory living at the Pack Horse and beer retailer 1891 at Packhorse. Publican and stone mason.
1909 Jane (nee Adams) Larner took over the Pack Horse after the death of Jonathan Larner. Their daughter Alice Larner left “service ” in London to look after her mother and the Pack Horse.
1911 Frederick Larner and Alcie took over the Pack Horse after the death of their Mother. Fred went to South Africa to make his fortune and intended to marry a girl in the village, but she had married someone else by the time he returned. Myra Bye still has the unused ring.
1912 Deed of Conveyance of Pack Horse to Fred Larner
1947 Pack Horse was listed Grade 2.
1958 Frederick Larner died. Alice was struggling to live alone so the Pack Horse plus aged Aunt were offered around the family. No one wanted to take on the crumbling house and care of Aunt. Myra’s Dad was the youngest eligible relative. Alf and Joyce had saved £500 each towards a home. They used all their savings to fulfil the requirement to keep the licence. They built a toilet block, dug a deep bore hole for water (the well was condemned for public use), built a cess pit and put a sink in the bar. They also put a kitchen and bathroom in the house. They married in 1960.
28th July, 1984 Alf Carman retired on his 65th birthday. They closed the doors to the public and continued to live in the house.
1998 July. Alf and Joyce converted the barn to a one bedroom Granny annexe.
1998 November Myra and Ian Bye moved to the house with son Seth age 3.
1999 In January the house and village flooded. The same man who rescued me from the fire in 1963 came in the flooding emergency. He was delivering sandbags for the council during the night. My husband went to thank him but said it was too late and he recounted rescuing me from the window. I was feeding our new baby upstairs at the time!
2019 Ian and Myra moved out to Pack Horse to start renovation work 2020
Covid hit and our son Seth was sent home from Giffords circus where he has started work as a musician. He went to the Pack Horse self isolate “for a few weeks.” A year later he and his six circus friends had lived at the Pack Horse for a full year and went off to join Giffords for 2021 season. The village had live entertainment from the safety of their gardens by The Pack Horse Band and the pub sign got an airing again.