In 1882 the Woodbine is listed as being in Pitacre, Chesterton. The address of the pub was later 5 Chesterton Lane and eventually became 64 Chesterton Lane. 

Courtesy Michael Wilkes

Wilts & Glos Standard, 2nd October 1997 – Drink served after hours: A Cirencester publican has been fined £150 for serving drinks more than five hours after closing time. Mr Rowdy Wadek Pawlowski (47), the licensee of the Woodbine Inn in Chesterton Lane for more than four and a half years, pleaded guilty at Cirencester magistrates court on Friday to a charge of selling intoxicating liquor outside hours.

The court heard that police went to the public house just after 5am on May 31st this year. They found Pawlowski and 12 people drinking alcohol, said Derek Ryder, prosecuting. On inspecting the till roll, the officers discovered that nearly £50 of alcoholic drinks had been rung up since the legal 11pm end of licensing hours. The last drink had been sold at 4.31am.

Mark Richards, defending, said that Pawlowski had been attending a function away from the pub that night when he invited some friends and family back to the Woodbine Inn for a drink. He had accepted a cheque from one of his guests to cover the cost of the drinks and then kept a tally by ringing the drinks up on the till. “Mr Pawlowski thought that essentially it was a private function”, said Mr Richards. He accepts he has fallen foul of the 1963 Licensing Act because of naivete on his part.”

The court fined Pawlowski £150 and ordered him to pay £30 costs.

Real Ale in Gloucestershire (booklet), 1996 (CAMRA)

Wilts & Glos Standard. 23rd July 1998 – Chip fryer blaze causes pub chaos: (by Emma Griffiths) A scorching Saturday night was had by all at a Cirencester pub after a fire in the kitchen. Bemused drinkers watched firemen run up to the first floor of the Woodbine Inn in Chesterton Lane after the thermostat on the deep fat fryer failed to cut off. The kitchen, which had been refitted less than a year ago, caught alight at 9.15 pm on July 18th – peak drinking time at the pub.

“It was a bit inconvenient,” said landlord Rowdy Pawlowski, who was to the fire by his wife, Sue. “I had put it out but it kept coming back all the time. The room was filled with smoke.” He told everyone to ‘get out quick’ and phoned the fire brigade. “They were here in five minutes,” said Mr Pawlowski, who was full of praise for the service. “The whole street came out to watch. There were fire engines and big burly firemen running about the place. They were here for about an hour but by 10.30pm things were getting back to normal.”

The back wall was seriously damaged and the couple are unable to use the broken washing machine to clean their smoke-damaged clothes. As it is on the same circuit, the juke box cut off as well – to howls of protests from customers.

Two fire engines from Cirencester were called out to put out the fire and were at the pub for around an hour. “The deep fat fryer was well alight and the fat was burning,” said sub-officer Eddie Butler. “The fire had broken through the wall so there were flames on the outside as well.”

Wilts and Glos Standard: The Woodbine pub in Chesterton Lane is staging a 24 hour pool event in aid of Cirencester Hospital. The action begins at 6pm on Friday 6th July 2001 when BBC Gloucestershire presenter Mark Cummings will break off. Games will be played until 6pm on Saturday. That day there will also be a bouncy castle and a fundraising bring and buy sale.

Wilts and Glos Standard, 12th July 2001 – Raising aid on cue: Pool players were on the ball during a 24-hour fundraising marathon at a Cirencester pub. They helped raise £1,600 for Cirencester hospital during a poolathlon at the Woodbine pub in Chesterton on Saturday. The event, organised by landlord Rowdy Pawlowski and his wife Sue, was part of the pub’s summer fair compete with a bouncy castle for children, stalls and games and live music in the evening.

Mr Pawlowski said: “We had a fantastic turnout and the rain held off until about five o’clock. There was lots to do for the children and the pool players carried on for 24 hours. Someone was there all the time to make sure they didn’t fall asleep.”

Wilts and Glos Standard, Thursday 4th July 2002 – Indie band is raunchy: Indie-Rockers Subslider will be launching a sonic attack at the Woodbine in Cirencester tomorrow( Friday). The alternative-indie three piece recently performed at the Unborn at the Corn Hall. The boy’s latest release is Highbreed, which shows off their raw, punchy sound and is bursting with energy. The band have also released a five track EP, Shadows of Time.

Wilts and Glos Standard, 23rd September 2004 – Ghost hunters are in high spirits: Ghostbusters are being called in by the new landlords of the Woodbine Tavern tomorrow night. The Chesterton Lane pub, which has been closed for the last six weeks for refurbishment, reopens on Saturday. But before regulars get the chance to drink at their watering-hole again, a paranormal investigation is taking place.

Andy and Dee Ralph, who bought the pub in June, invited the Bristol Society for Paranormal Research and Investigation (BSPRI) to carry out an investigation of the building after a friend, a member of the society, “picked up on some activity.”

Dee said: “The pub doesn’t have a history of paranormal activity that we know of, although one of the customers said they used to hear a bell ringing. It’s really only since we bought the pub that things were picked up on – our friend noticed a face in the wall.”

The BSPRI works to gather evidence that may prove or disapprove the existence of paranormal phenomena. Claire Watkins, one of the organisers of the BSPRI, said: “The landlords said there were a few weird things happening. We’ll split into groups and hold vigil on Friday night, but we will keep it very scientific. We’ll monitor drops in temperature and take cameras and electromagnetic sensors.”

Andy and Dee have made extensive changes to the popular pub this month. Andy said: “We’ve been knocking down walls – it used to be two bars but now its only one. Everything’s been refurbished and we’ve put in a new floor – it’s been quite an investment.”

Wilts and Glos Standard, 30th September 2004 – Letters – ‘Ghost Stories’: I read with much interest of the ghostly happenings at the Woodbine Inn. This type of manifestation should be very seriously treated. Latent telekinetic powers when suddenly released are extremely dangerous and can only be eradicated by intense exorcism stretching over many months.

It is a well established fact that the stones of an old building can become imprinted with hyperphysical activity stemming from strange behavioural patterns from people who have spent time on a regular basis in the building. I can assure you that whenever I frequented that hostelry, the behaviour I observed was on numerous occasions very strange indeed and usually reached its peak at closing time! The many curses aimed at the bell when ‘time’ was called must have imprinted on the stones, hence the ghostly bell ringing. The ‘face in the wall’ is easily explained by the fact at closing time unsteady individuals when aiming at the door would inevitably hit the wall.

If you do visit the Woodbine go very well prepared with ‘bell, book and candle’. You would also be well advised to be accompanied by an ‘acclaimed’ clairvoyant (perhaps the local college would be willing to assist!)

Finally, I would like to thank Bill Fletcher for his very kind offer to supply various mystic items. I have to hand two yards of ectoplasm (hardly used) – perhaps he would care to do a swap? And to all those people who say fairies don’t exist should have a word with Tinker Bell. Apart from which, every child knows that if you don’t believe then fairies die. So all you doubters, get believing!

Alan Crook, Cirencester

Wilts and Glos Standard, 30th September 2004 – Pub guests fail to be spooked: The Woodbine Tavern reopened after extensive refurbishment on Saturday – but not before a team of ghostbusters gave the old pub a thorough check for spooks. On Friday night, the new landlords invited the Bristol Society for Paranormal Research and Investigation (BSPRI) to investigate the building after reports of ghostly activity.

The BSPRI approach their investigations very scientifically and came to the Chesterton Lane pub armed to the teeth with computer equipment. Director of the BSPRI Simon Priddy said: “I’m a sceptic – I want some hard evidence, something I can’t explain even with all the equipment.” The team spent hours setting up audio, video and electromagnetic devices, some they even built themselves, before settling in to monitor several areas of the building in small groups.

Simon said: “We get the base readings from all the equipment and then see if there are any fluctuations during the night.” The investigation lasted until the early hours but apparently not helped by the general disorder of the refurbishment. Speaking on Tuesday, Simon said: “To be honest the only thing that happened was a video camera moving in the skittle alley – it started to rotate very slowly and it wasn’t meant to.”

But Claire Watkins, one of the organisers of the BSPRI, was less sure the investigation failed to reveal anything spooky. She said: “A few things happened. Some of the more sensitive people picked up on a suicide that took place at the pub. And some members of the group think they saw some lights behind other people.”

A full report of their findings will be written in the coming weeks, and the society has pledged to carry out another investigation once the refurbishment has been fully finished.”

Meanwhile, The Woodbine Tavern, which is now being run by Andy and Dee Ralph, is open every day and will be serving food.

Gloucestershire Echo, 26th July 2006 – Landlord is banned for bar staff abuse: (by Rachel Armstrong) Landlords in Cirencester have called time on one of their own for abusing bar staff. John Evans, who runs the Woodbine Inn in Chesterton, has been banned from all member pubs of the town’s Behave or Be Banned scheme.

Fellow licensees were fed up with the verbal abuse he dished out to a landlady in another pub. So they put their own scheme, set to keep rowdy drinkers and troublemakers out of pubs, into action and banned him for the rest of the year. Tony Smith, chairman of BOBS, said Mr Evans behaviour was not acceptable.

Banished landlord, Mr Evans, said: “I’m slightly embarrassed but regret my language in the Black Horse and I have apologised to the landlady. There was no violence. The police were not involved and I’m not a criminal.”

A spokesman for Cotswold District Council, the licensing authority for Cirencester, said Mr Evans’ inclusion on the BOBS list will be looked at. She said: “We take this sort of thing very seriously and will be following it up with the licensee.

Wilts and Glos Standard, 21st December 2006 – Landlord in BOB’s pub pledge: A Cirencester pub is due to make a return to the Behave or Be Banned Scheme. John Henderson, who has lived in the town all his life, became the new landlord of the Woodbine on Chesterton Lane last week and has vowed to change it into a family pub. John said: “The pub wasn’t open at all on Monday’s before and rarely did lunches so I am going to focus on providing good meals with running normal hours.”

The Woodbine Inn was closed and boarded up in September 2008, on the market to be sold without a licence. Some observers claim that the demise of the Woodbine Inn is a direct consequence of the smoking ban in public places, but another factor could be that the original charm and character of the pub was destroyed when the old fashioned bar and lounge were knocked into one drinking area.

Courtesy Derek King

Wilts and Glos Standard (online), 22nd April 2009:

A derelict Cirencester pub will be knocked down and turned into houses.

The Woodbine Inn, in Chesterton Lane, has stood empty for over a year when it’s landlords found the business unviable.

Hopton Homes, based in Barnsley Park, have applied to build six new homes on the site.

Chesterton ward councillor Deryck Nash said it was no surprise the site would be turned into houses as the pub was not making any money.

“When I first moved to the area in the 1970s it was quite a pleasant pub but for a time there were problems with bad behaviour and people of my generation stopped going there,” he said.

“It seems a sensible use for the building and it will be sympathetic with adequate parking provision.”

Dave Watson, landlord of the Wheatsheaf pub in Cricklade Street, said the Woodbine could have been viable if it was sold as a freehold and not tied to specific brewers.

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891:  Cirencester Brewery

Rateable Value in 1891: £14.10s.0d.

Type of license in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Cirencester Brewery

Rateable Value in 1903: £14.10s.0d.

Type of license in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903:

Landlords at the Woodbine Inn include:

1871 Joseph Pinchin

1885 James Tomkins Boulton

1889 George Evans (junior)

1891 Alvan Hesketh

1903 Ethni Harding

1906, 1939 Francis Stockham (F.W. Stockham in 1913)

1993,1998 Rowdy Wadek Pawlowski

2004,2005 Andy and Dee Ralph

2006 John Evans

2006 (Dec) John Henderson

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