Mile End is a small village outside Coleford on the B4028. The area is sometimes referred to as Mitcheldean Lane End. The Royal Forest Inn was more popularly known as the Foresters.

Amos Jones and George Hale, colliers, of Broadwell Lane End, were summoned by Richard Edwards, landlord of the Royal Forest in Mile End. The prosecutor told the court that on Saturday 12th May 1901, the defendants came to the Royal Forest and asked Mr Edwards for beer which he refused because both Jones and Hale were the worse for liquor. He asked them to leave several times, but they would not do so, and commenced to use bad language. He eventually ejected Jones and when he was returning to the house he met Hale coming out. Both defendants continued to act disorderly when outside the house. The Chairman said that both Jones and Hale had been there before, and Amos Jones – who had a very bad record – would be fined £2 and 8 shillings costs, and George Hale would have to pay £1 and 8s.

Courtesy Phil Sampson (Facebook post)

According to the 1891 licensing book John Brown was owner and occupier and the pub was free of brewery tie. Classified as an ale house with an annual rateable value of £13.0s.0d. The Royal Foresters had been purchased by Arnold, Perrett & Co. (Wickwar Brewery) by 1903, when Charles Elsmore is recorded as landlord.  However, contemporary Kelly’s directories from the years 1902 and 1906 list Richard Edwards as landlord, so the mention of Charles Elsmore is unexpected. The Gloucestershire directories seem to indicate that the Royal Forest was in the ownership of the Edwards family in 1885 which seems to contradict the 1891 listing of John Brown. More research is required to verify this information, and it is certainly not definitive. Closing time at the Royal Forest Inn was at 10 pm.

The Royal Forest Inn was put up for sale in 1937 and the property consisted of an area of three-quarters of an acre, together with a cottage and out-buildings.  The estate of the Wickwar Brewery, including the Royal Forest Inn, passed into the ownership of the Cheltenham Original Brewery. The beers supplied to the Royal Forest Inn continued to be supplied from the Cheltenham Brewery through the succession of Cheltenham & Hereford Breweries, West Country Breweries and finally being absorbed into the Whitbread pub estate.  A West Country Ales – 1760 – Best in the West’ ceramic brewery plaque still in situ at the Foresters is a reminder of the pub’s previous owners.

The ‘Forester’ newspaper had a ‘bygone’ feature relating tales of the Forest of Dean from days gone by. This amusing tale is taken from their archives from May 1957:

‘Lion jumped out in front of a lorry driver.’ – A lorry stopped outside the Foresters’ Inn, Mile End, after driving between the trees from Edge End. The driver, pale and shaking, got out of his lorry and spoke to Mr Michael Preest, the landlord’s son. “You won’t believe this, but a lion has jumped over the road in front of me!” He then sat on the wall to recover before resuming his journey. The police were informed but didn’t feel it was anything to be concerned about, although they would keep an open mind. Some suggested it may have been a large sheep with an unshorn mane!

An ’Eating Out’ review in the ‘Gloucester Citizen’ in January 2011 was very complimentary about the Royal Forest Inn. ‘This bustling, family pub is an all-round gem – not only does it offer great pub and Cask marque approved ales, but it has a great atmosphere and reasonable prices. It’s hard to find a pub that satisfies all these needs, but this place did when we visited one Saturday night. While we were in the restaurant, the landlord was really helpful and provided us with information on each what each dish consisted of on the blackboard to help us.’

The Royal Forest has since permanently closed and is now in residential use.

Landlords at the Royal Forest Inn include:

1885 Mrs Priscilla Edwards

1902,1906 Richard Edwards

1919 James Frowen

1927 William George Middlecote

1939 Wilfred Jenkins

1978 Ron and Irene Milton

2007 Andy and Debs Piercy

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