The Plough Inn dates back to the 16th century, but probably has origins going back as far as the 13th century. It was once the local courthouse and miscreants guilty of such felonies as steeling sheep were detained in cells that are now used for maturing casks of Donnington Ales. Remains of indoor stocks can be seen under the rear of the lounge window. As you enter the main central bar there is a pull across device which, when in place, prohibited access when the court was in session.
A plaque on the front wall reads:
‘Ye weary travellers that pass by,
with dust and scorching sunbeams dry,
or ye be numb’d with snow and frost
with having these bleak Cotswolds crost.
Step in and quaff my nut brown ale,
Bright as rubys mild and stale,
Twill make your laging trotters dance,
as nimble as the suns of France,
Then ye will owne ye men of sense,
that ne’er was better spent sixpence.’
The Plough Inn has become a mecca for National Hunt racing enthusiasts. Opposite the pub is Jackdaws Castle, the famous racing stables of Jonjo O’Neill. During the Cheltenham Festival in March the Plough is frequented by the racing fraternity including trainers, jockeys and stable workers. A 150 feet marquee is erected in the grounds of the pub. Landlord Craig Brown told the Gloucestershire Echo: “We start off with a carvery breakfast for race-goers, then lay on a big screen so the local people not at the races and stable hands can watch and have some lunch. Then race-goers come back for live entertainment, a three-piece band every night, and a chance to meet friends, local jockeys and trainers”.
In 2008 the Plough Inn won the coveted Racing Pub of the Year award. There were celebrations in April 2010 when ‘Don’t Push It’, ridden by Tony McCoy and trained by Jonjo O’Neill, won the Grand National – at odds of 10-1.
Craig Brown took part in the map-cap Cheese Rolling on Coopers Hill in Whitsun 2002. Then, aged 27, he won the first race chasing a bouncing 1lbs Double Gloucester cheese down the precipitous 1:3 slope but injured his knee in the process. Undaunted by his injury, Craig decided to participate in the second race of the day and came third – gashing his head and injuring his neck. It was even feared that he had fractured a leg. Craig told the Gloucestershire Echo: “It was the worst fall I’ve ever had in my life. It was horrendous. I really didn’t think I would take a fall like that.”
In 2009 Craig trained with Jonjo O’Neill and fulfilled the ambition of his lifetime by being selected as one of just ten riders in the John Smith’s People’s Race on Grand National Day. Craig said: “It has been a really tense time but getting through to Aintree means the absolute world to me.” Raising £5,000 for his chosen charity, the Midlands Air Ambulance, Craig rode ‘Thunder Rock’ from the stables and was just pipped to the post by David Griffiths from Worcestershire. Craig said: “All went as planned, but I just couldn’t catch the winner. I’ve loved every minute of it and it was a fantastic experience to take part in the race.”
In 2009 pub regular David Danson-Hill embarked on a 4,487 mile charity bike ride around the entire coast of Great Britain. Setting off from the Plough on June 13th, the 50 year-old artist from Beckford took eight weeks to complete the route in a clockwise direction. He said: “I’ve cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End three times and I just wanted a bigger challenge.”
The Plough has been tied to the Donnington Brewery for many years. The pub has gained an excellent reputation for its cuisine.
The old hayloft and stables adjacent to the pub have been tastefully converted to provide comfortable accommodation for visitors. the Tallot offers three en-suite shower rooms.
This page will be updated with additional information.
Map Reference: SP 088294
Owner in 1891: Right Honorable Lord Sudeley (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1891: £11.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Hugh Andrews, Esq. (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1903: £11.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords at the Plough Inn include:
1885 Isaac Busson
1891 Sarah Busson
1902,1903 Jesse Wiggett
1906 David Wiggett
1919 Frank Holton
1927 Frank Holtam
1939 Thomas Bowles
1990,1997 Wilfred Skinner (run by Andrew and Carol Porter)
1999 Chris Turner
2002,2010 Craig Nicholas and Becky Brown (moved from Halfway House, Kineton)