William Morris once described Bibury as ‘the prettiest village in England’. Certainly the location of the Swan Hotel is idyllic, by the old stone bridge over the River Coln. In autumn the foliage clinging to the walls of the Swan turns into brilliant shade of red. The 17th century Swan Hotel overlooks Bibury Trout Farm and the fish swim in abundance in the River Coln. The hotel has been enlarged over the years.
There is a local folk tale which tells of the antics of a mischievous student from Oxford College who persuaded a gullible landlord at the Swan that he could draw both strong and mild ale from the same cask. He drilled a hole at one end of the cask then asked the landlord to stop it with his left hand. He then drilled another hole at the other end of the cask which the landlord stopped with his right hand. Then he told the landlord to hold on while he fetched the pegs, and the student walked out of the inn and was never seen again. The story soon spread around the neighbourhood much to the delight of the landlord, for although it made him look a fool it attracted a great many customers to the Swan and greatly increased his profits.
Wilts & Glos Standard, 26th June 2003 – Sale success for Swan: A family run hotel in Bibury has been sold to a Cotswold chain. The Swan Hotel, which was owned by the late Elizabeth Rose and her family, now belongs to Cotswold Inn and Hotels, based in Broadway.
The sale was handled by hotel agents Robert Barry & Co. in an off-market deal. Agent spokesman Alastair Murchie said: “We were delighted to be able to acquire this trophy on behalf of our clients. The Swan is one of the best hotels in the Cotswolds and will make a wonderful addition to their portfolio. I cannot comment on the sale price, but Cotswold Inns and Hotels also own Broadway Hotel in Broadway, Manor House Hotel in Moreton-in-Marsh, The Bear in Rodborough and the Bay Tree in Burford. “
The 20-bedroon Bibury hotel was built in the 17th century as a coaching inn. It is set next to the River Coln.
Map Reference: SP 115069
Owner in 1891: Lord Sherborne (free from brewery tie)
Rateable Value in 1891: £32.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Lord Sherborne (free from brewery tie)
Rateable Value in 1903: £60.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords / Proprietors at the Swan Hotel include:
1851 Andrew Martin or Marten (aged 60)
1856 A. Martin
1861 Andrew -arton (sic), (aged 73)
1871, 1885 Ralph Lees (aged 35 in 1871 and listed as innkeeper and farmer, 44, in 1881)
1891 Edward Frederick Woodman
1901,1902 Elizabeth Woodman (Mrs) (listed as a widow in 1903, aged 52)
1903,1919 Frank R. Busby
1927 Mrs Evelyn H. Busby