In the 1891 and 1903 petty licensing books of Gloucestershire pubs and other licensed premises there are two beer houses listed within the parish of Rodborough called the White Lion. One of these pubs was located in the valley on the Dudbridge Road, the other ‘White Lion’ remained a little more elusive. Douglas Jefferies emailed me a few years ago and told me that his grandfather’s cousin was a John Jefferies Junior who was listed as landlord at the RED LION at Swells Hill in the 1901 census. It appears that the entry for the Red Lion is erroneous in the 1891 and 1903 licensing books. The 1901 census also mentions John Jefferies Senior who was a farmer of 15 acres at Swells Hill.
It is surprising that Swells Hill is listed in the parish of Rodborough at all as the hamlet is over a mile to the south-east ‘as the crow flies’ and is accessed off Butterow Hill. Swells Hill is on the west slopes of the Frome Valley, opposite Far Thrupp.
The Stroud Brewery held an inventory of property in 1928 which included the Red Lion Inn and small paddock at Swells Hill, Brimscombe’. The property is now residential and called Red Lion House.
When the Old Red Lion closed it is believed that Stroud Brewery placed a restrictive covenant on the deeds of the property, preventing it ever being re-licensed in the future.
Red Lion House was put on the market in August 1985 when it had an asking price of £85,000. The property details described it as being a former coaching inn dating from the 17th century. ‘Red Lion House is a substantial detached property which has the appearance, despite its lineage, of a traditional Cotswold farmhouse. It is built of natural stone under a retiled roof.’
Owner in 1891: Smith & Sons, Brimscombe Brewery
Rateable value in 1891: £10.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Owner in 1903: Smith & Sons, Brimscombe Brewery
Rateable value in 1903: £10.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse
1891,1903 John Jefferies (junior)