The Red Lion is almost opposite the Crown Inn on the junction with the A361 and A417 near Ha’Penny bridge. The Red Lion had a long association with Arkell’s Brewery of Swindon. Records show that Arkell’s Kingsdown Brewery owned the Red Lion in 1874 and it continued in their ownership for another 134 years – until Arkell’s closed it down in the summer of 2008! It called ‘last orders’ for the final time at the same time that Arkell’s opened the Riverside a few yards away. Ironically the Swindon brewery had spent £300,000 on refurbishing the Red Lion just four years earlier.
Gloucestershire Echo, Friday 6th July 1990 – Fined for pub attack: A man, aged 27, of Gassons Way, Lechlade, smashed panes of glass at a pub after being thrown out after getting into a fight. He admitted breaking three panes of glass at the Red Lion Inn and another at the Lechlade Antiques Arcade nearby. He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £31 compensation. Mr Derek Ryder, prosecuting, said: “It appears that he had been drinking very heavily. He was in an angry and aggressive mood, screaming and shouting, and was asked to leave the pub after a scuffle with his brother-in-law.”
Gloucestershire Echo, 1st September 1993 – Fare go for pub team’s bus pull: Brawny beer drinkers raised more than £2,300 in a day pulling a bus between two Cotswold towns. The total for Cancer Research is expected to be more than £5,000 when all the sponsorship money comes in, according to licensee Charlie Clack who organised the event on Bank Holiday Monday.
The 50-strong pulling team set off from the Bull Hotel in Fairford heading for Mr Clack’s pub, the Red Lion in Lechlade, some four-and-a-half miles away. They reached their destination in one hour 10 minutes. “We were all quite thirsty at the end of it,” said Mr Clack. “We had to replace a lot of perspiration.”
Wilts & Glos Standard, 31st January 2002 – Colourful Holsten turns air blue: Holsten the parrot has been ruffling a few feathers at a Lechlade pub with its less than courteous bar room banter. Not satisfied with the usual parrot patois of “who’s a pretty boy then”, Holsten has picked up a range of expletives from drinking pals.
Landlord Dave Miles, who has just taken over the Red Lion, believes the boorish bird picked up his abrasive linguistic skills from regulars at his former pub, the White Hart in Stratton, Swindon. “Sometimes Holsten doesn’t say a word, but when the right person comes along it’s non-stop,” said Dave, who runs the pub with his wife Sue. “I know some people try and teach him to swear. He can say just about every rude word you can think of.”
Sue said: “We make sure he’s not around if people are likely to be offended.” Holsten can also mimic the phone ringing and ape the pub dog, Arkells. Not much of a beer fan, it loves tucking into chocolate.
The couple have had th yellow-crested Amazonian parrot since it was a chick. It got its name because of its resemblance to a Holsten Pils bottle.
Wilts & Glos Standard, 1st July 2004 – Old times recalled and bright future toasted: He might be 83, but Ron Siddall can still pull a good pint. Former Red Lion landlord Ron was the special guest when he pulled the first pint in the newly-refurbished pub in Lechlade. Arkell’s Brewery threw open the doors last Tuesday, following a make-over which cost the brewery in excess of £300,000.
Ron spent almost a decade behind the bar at The Red Lion, after he was ‘head-hunted’ by current brewery chairman Peter Arkell, in 1963. “Ron and I go back a very long way,” said Mr Arkell, 82, at the opening. “We were at the old Hammonds Brewery in Yorkshire together – I’d gone there to learn the brewing trade. When I returned to Arkell’s in the late 1950’s I never forgot Ron. I finally persuaded him to ‘bravely’ move South to join us as a landlord just as the Swinging Sixties were starting.”
Little did Ron know that was the beginning of a long-lasting career with the brewery and he finally became an executive director at Arkell’s Brewery in 1975, retiring in 1986. “It’s wonderful to see him again – back where he belongs, behind the bar,” said Mr Arkell.
Ron, who now lives in nearby Highworth with his wife Pat, said: “It’s changed a bit since I was here – but it probably needed to! Things have moved on since I was a landlord – and the pubs are much better for it. Most of all I enjoyed the people of Lechlade, it was such a friendly town.”
New landlord Chris Benton agrees. “I’ve been here since January and the renovations have been going on ever since I arrived. But the town is superb – they’ve been so welcoming. I’m really enjoying the new pub, especially since they put the new staircase in because I had to use a ladder to get to my bedroom, and the first thing I saw in the morning were the cheery faces of the builders!”
The Red Lion is the latest pub owned by Arkell’s Brewery to get the total make-over treatment. “The Red Lion is more than 400 years old and as people’s drinking and eating habits have changed over the years, so pubs have to change to accommodate them,” says brewery managing director James Arkell. “We have a rolling programme of decoration and renovation on all our 103 pubs and it’s wonderful to give renewed life to an old pub which has been with Arkell’s since 1874.”
The Red Lion is now an Italian Restaurant / wine bar.
Map Reference: SU 213995
Owner in 1891: Arkell & Son, Kingsdown Brewery, Swindon
Rateable Value in 1891: £12.18s.5d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Arkell & Son, Kingsdown Brewery, Swindon
Rateable Value in 1903: £12.18s.5d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Red Lion include:
1856 W. Hiett
1885,1906 Robert Stevens
1919 Mrs Elizabeth Mary Stevens
1927 William Pudwell
1939 Mrs Alice Pudwell
1960’s Ron Siddall
1985-1992 Judy Dudley (moved to The Bull in Fairford)
1993 Charlie Clack
2002 David Miles
2004 Chris Benton