The Upper George Inn, on the eastern side of the High Street, is now a private house called the Sanctuary. The Upper George was so called to distinguish it from the George Inn (or Lower George), west of the clock tower.
The Upper George once contained rooms known as the Sanctuary rooms which were under the jurisdiction of the Hundred of St. Briavels, and the local Newnham Justices had no authority in those criminals and debtors facing trail there. Mabel Woods in her history of Newnham wrote, ‘as the Magistrates of St Briavels were not likely to trouble themselves over miscreants from their own centre, and only connected by founderous and miry roads, it is easy to surmise that many a Newnham debtor escaped prison by this means, for violating sanctuary was a thing never dreamt of by authorities.’
In 1891 Mary Ann Weaving is recorded as the owner of the Upper George although she leased the property to Arnold, Perrett & Co, Ltd. By 1903 the Wickwar Brewery had bought the pub outright, securing yet another outlet for their beers in the Forest of Dean. The Upper George had ale house status with an annual rateable value of £25.0s.0d. Closing time was at 11 pm. An inventory made in 1907 described the premises as having four bedrooms, landing, sitting room, two attics, kitchen, ante room, smoke room, yard, laundry, front passage, billiard room, bar, beer cellar and spirit cellar. Cheltenham Original Brewery owned the pub in the 1930’s and the deeds of the Upper George then passed to Cheltenham & Hereford and thence to West Country Breweries.
The Upper George called ‘last orders’ for the last time in 1970. The Hyett family moved across the road to the Ship Inn.
The Sanctuary was on the market in April 2017 with an asking price of £650,000. The property was described as Grade II listed set in the heart of the picturesque riverside village of Newnham on Severn. Its history spans several centuries with medieval origins. It is a 15th and 16th century timber frame house with the addition of a Georgian bay and a later kitchen. The rooms have excellent proportions as one would expect of a house of this quality and are furnished and decorated to reflect the essence of this style of dwelling. The main three-storey house benefits from three large reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, four bedrooms, two-bathrooms and a large two-roomed cellar. In addition there is a separate but connected two storey building, the ground floor former stable having previously been used as a retail shop. There is also a large first floor games room together with a separate study. This building could either be used for retail or with the relevant planning permission converted to accommodation for separate use or as part of the main house. The gardens to the rear of the house overlook the river in a south easterly direction enjoying sunshine for a large part of the day.
Landlords at the Upper George include:
1885 Mrs Mary Ann Weaving
1891 George Hiscock
1902,1903 Mrs Alice Martin
1906 Thomas Daniells
1919 William Shroll
1927 Frederick William Cartwright
1939-1970 Herbert J. Hyett