From Coalway Cross, with the Britannia Inn on the left-hand side, Coalway Lane or Road is the main route down Lords Hill towards Coleford. The Plough Inn was located on the right-hand side of the road directly opposite the Recreational Ground. The building is now a private house and has a datestone above the arched entrance that reads ‘1828 H.W’. The ‘W’ presumably is the initial of the Wilcox family. In the 1891 licensing book detailing the pubs in the Forest, the Trustees of Edward Wilcox are listed as owners of the Plough Inn. Maybe H.Wilcox, was Edward’s father.
In 1891 the Plough is described as an ale house but, perhaps unusually, has a licence restricting it to 6 days so it was presumably closed on the Sabbath. The pub had an annual rateable value of £11.4s.0d. The Plough Inn started off as a “two room and one up” cottage which later was enlarged into the adjoining cottage which almost trebled its size.
George Salmon is recorded at the Plough Inn as a brewer in 1876, then aged 33. His father was Henry Salmon who had taken over the Coleford Brewery at the Spout in the town in 1857. Harry Clark took over Coleford Brewery in 1879, but ten years later it closed. It is possible that George Salmon was employed at the Coleford Brewery whilst also being the landlord of the Plough Inn. Or tantalisingly did George Salmon brew beer on the premises exclusively for the Plough? The 1891 licensing records give details that the Plough was free of brewery tie.
John Arnold & Sons of the High Street Brewery in Wickwar are listed as owners of the Plough Inn twelve years later in 1903. It is interesting that Miss Mary Fox is the occupying landlady at that time. Mary Fox was a well-known local licensee who started off as a barmaid at the Wyndham Arms in Clearwell. Mary Fox owned the Lamb Inn in Gloucester Road, Coleford in 1903. When Mary called ‘last orders’ in the Plough at 10 pm each evening it is so tempting to think that she might have persuaded her customers to walk the short distance from the pub down Lords Hill and cut across to her other pub, the Lamb in Gloucester Road, to take advantage of the 11 pm closing time of Coleford town pubs.
Although the Kelly’s Directory of 1939 lists George Tillings as landlord he died on 6th November 1937 at the Plough. I have no records of the Plough after this date, which suggests that it had closed by the Second World War.
Landlords at the Plough Inn include:
1863,1870 Edward Wilcox
1876 George Salmon (listed as a brewer)
1891 Alfred Louis Walter Barrett
1902,1906 Miss Mary Fox
1919 William Robertson
1927 Geo. Cole
1939 George Tillings