John Rogers contacted me in January 2008 and told me that the Swan was one of the Stroud Valley’s most noted cider houses: “The locals used to tale tells about the time when American GI’s drank the Swan’s cider during the Second World War. The illegitimacy rate in Minchinhampton was apparently down during that period as the GI’s were too incapable to do anything else! There were other tales of an American soldier freezing to death on the Common in the depths of winter after consuming one or two pints of cider too many.”
December 1965: Customers at a Minchinhampton pub helped a regular to enjoy a new found hobby. George Pollard could no longer attend the Swan Inn as he was confined to his home, but customers at the pub had not forgotten him and helped him with his new stamp collecting hobby. Landlord Frank Taylor put a notice up asking customers for stamps which he could pass onto Mr Pollard and hundreds of stamps were brought in.
Stroud News & Journal, 24th December 1984 – Death of Stroud Licensee: One of Stroud’s longest serving licensees, Mr Raymond Ward, has died in hospital. Mr Ward (59) who ran three local Whitbread pubs over the last 29 years had cancer. He and his wife Alma had been hosts at the Swan Inn at Westend, Minchinhampton for the past nine years and previously the couple ran the Trumpet Inn also in Westend for 10 years. Their first pub was the former New Inn on Selsley Common, where they also stayed for 10 years, and where a popular feature was the unusual outside skittle alley.
The Citizen: 17th May 1985 – ‘Five Valley Talk’ – A gruelling trip in a good cause: Pedal-powered customers from a Minchinhampton pub plan to play their part in the fight against cancer with a marathon cycle ride. Four regulars from the Swan Inn are going into training for a gruelling bike trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The aim to boost the Cheltenham Cobalt Unit funds by up to £4,000. At Christmas, the Swan’s landlord, Raymond Ward, died after a long battle against cancer.
Mrs Alma Ward, who runs the pub in Westend, said: “I lost my husband at Christmas after fighting cancer for six years. When Ray died, he left a gap in my life, and also many other people’s lives. He was very highly thought of.”
The Cotswold stone pub closed in the mid 1980’s. Two interesting etched windows remain in situ at the old pub. One window has the words ‘Wine & Spirits’ but the other is possible unique in Gloucestershire as it still advertises ‘Cheltenham & Hereford Ales.’ It is included on the ‘Inns of the Cotswolds Map’ published by John Bartholomew & Sons in the mid 1970’s and compiled by K.C. Jordan. The 4th edition of CAMRA ‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’ published in July 1978 described the Swan as a ‘small village local in main street.’ Whitbread PA was available on hand pump.
Map Reference: SO 872007
Owner in 1891: William Vines (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1891: £8.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: William Vines (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1903: £8.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Full
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords at the Swan Inn include:
1671 Daniel Gillmore
1842 Ann White
1856,1863 James Sutton
1874, 1906 William Vines
1919,1927 Albert E. Kirby
1939 William T. Harford
1965 Frank Taylor
1975-1984 Raymond & Alma Ward (they were previously at the Trumpet. Raymond died in December 1984, aged 59)
1985 Alma Ward