The Swan Hotel must have been one of Godsell & Son’s most prestigious hotels. An advertisement in 1907 called the Swan ‘one of the best and most comfortable in the district, with passengers met from every train calling at Charfield station on the Midland Railway.’ Ownership later passed to the Stroud Brewery Company.
Many celebrities have stayed in the hotel whilst filming in the area – David Niven, Vincent Price, Dick Emery, Wendy Craig, Rex Harrison (when he was filming Dr Doolittle) and Jean Alexander (Hilda Ogden). When the BBC were recording the radio programme ‘Any Questions’ Wotton under Edge, David Jacobs and his guests Margaret Thatcher and Sheila Hancock enjoyed a meal in the Swan, as did the Two Ronnie’s (not Cray and Biggs) when they were recording their ‘Two Old Men’ sketch at Berkeley Castle.
The Swan once held regular dances and the Roger Pearce Trio was resident at the hotel for thirty years.
Above: Swan Hotel Christmas Menu from 1982
The Swan Hotel closed down in February 1998, was boarded up for a year and then reopened as the Face Cabaret Bar. It reverted back to Ye Olde Swan Inn in July 1999 but then closed again. Plans were submitted in 2004 to convert the Swan Inn to retail and office use but thankfully the local town council voiced concern that there was a shortage of hotel accommodation in Wotton under Edge.
Thankfully the plans never come to fruition and at the end of 2005 the ex-manager of the White Lion Aubrey Wood, and his partner Kirsty, took on the lease of the Swan with an option to purchase it outright. The pub had been vandalised, a lot of the fittings and fixtures had been removed including the public bar, the central heating and electrical installation needed major work and the cellar was in a terrible state. This was bad news to Aubrey and Kirsty as they were on a limited budget. Fortunately Aubrey had made many local friends at the White Lion including some tradesmen, who voluntarily came to the rescue to help them refurbish the pub in a very short time. The Swan opened for business again at the end of March 2006.
Owner in 1891: Feoffees of market lands, Wotton under Edge. (free from brewery tie)
Rateable Value in 1891: £47.5s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Godsell & Sons, Salmon Springs Brewery, Stroud
Rateable Value in 1903: £48.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Swan Hotel include::
1755 Christopher Wills
1820,1823 Charles Chaffin
1830 Ann Head
1842,1867 Thomas Robins
1875,1885 Walter Brain (aged 46 in 1875; sergeant in 1877))
1891 Walter Brain
1899 J. Faller
1903 Walter Lovell
1906,1919 John Faller
1920,1927 H.A. Kendall
1933 T. Kenshole
1999? Steve Mirfin (manager)
1999 Aubrey Wood and John Gallagher (Ye Olde Swan Inn)
2006,2007 Andy and Margaret Beardshaw