The Monmouth & Redbrook Brewery Company

Redbrook brewery was founded by John Sims 1825. Edward Sims 1835, for sale in 1836. Monmouth Brewery co 1839 (thank you to John Saunders for this info’).

Extracted  from ‘Breweries of The Forest of Dean, Monmouth & Ross-on-Wye‘ by John Saunders (2012 Past and Present Books). Used with permission.

This company was formed by Gratrax & Dyke to run the brewery. Gratrax was a Monmouth banker and Dyke a well established businessman with diverse interests in Monmouth.

The brewery had closed for an unknown period, as at the beginning of July 1839 the company advertised in the Monmouthshire Beacon that their ales & porter would be ready in about a fortnight.


The Monmouth & Redbrook Brewery Company beg respectfully to inform the public that their establishment is now in full operation, and they will be enabled to supply SUPERIOR AND GENUINE ALES AND PORTER in about a fortnight, made entirely from Malt and Hops, and warranted perfectly free from Drug or Adulteration of any kind. The proprietors having made every exertion to produce articles of superior manufacture, feel confident that their porter and ales of various kinds will be such as to give general satisfaction.

Monmouth, July 5th 1839

Casks of Nine Gallons each for private families. A large quantity of grains and yeast always on sale.

The advertisement shows that the Company was running the brewery. It would have employed a manager to carry this out, as it would appear that this was purely a business venture by the two partners in the company Gratrax & Dyke.

It is not known for how long the company ran it. In the register of owners that accompanies the Newland tithe map 1840, we find the Monmouth & Redbrook Brewery Co. were still listed as owners, the company was now letting the brewery to Charles Herbert.

Charles Herbert

It is not clear when Charles Herbert had started to rent the brewery, he may have been running it for the brewery company after they purchased it. Previously he had been trading in Monmouth as a maltster so would have had some knowledge of the trade, and he may have been brewing a small amount of beer.

1851 census Charles Herbert.
Dwelling; Upper Redbrook.
Charles Herbert. Head. Age 42. Brewer & Maltster. Born, Llangot Monmouthshire.
Elizabeth Herbert. Wife. Age 59. Born, Cardiff.
John Wilton. Servant. Age 16. Servant. Born, Redbrook, Glos.
Elizabeth Wilton. Servant. Age 20. Servant. Born, Redbrook, Glos.

Shortly after the census was taken Charles Herbert was to purchase the brewery.

He was to lose a loyal worker in a tragic accident on 12th September 1852, Thomas Boulton, 63, had been delivering casks of porter and beer to Mitcheldean and Littledean Hill. On his way home down the hill past the White Hart, Cinderford, his cart struck a pile of stones causing the cart to overturn, which resulted in him fracturing his skull. The landlord of the pub, Mr Horlick, took him in and called a doctor. After the doctor had examined him, he said, there was no hope of him surviving and to send him home. He was conveyed home where he died the following day.

At the inquest that followed in October, the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Edwin Foxhall, agent to W. F. Corbett, Cinderford, for having caused stones to be placed in such a part of the road as to cause the overturning of a cart.

After running the brewery for thirteen years, Charles Herbert decided to retire from brewing, it may have been the accident that prompted him to take this action. In 1853 he advertised the brewery to let.


The premises consist of a ten-quarter plant, malt-house, dwelling house, etc. The business has been carried on by the present occupier for the last thirteen years with a steadily increasing trade. The Pontypool and Forest of Dean Railway will, in a few months, connect it with the whole of the extensive Iron Works of South Wales.

The present proprietor of the business is giving up through circumstances of a domestic nature, and will, therefore, allow the incoming tenant to take the stock of beer, casks, &etc., and anything he might think proper, thereby giving him every facility in taking to a good business on such terms as are scarcely ever offered.

Apply to Mr Charles Herbert, Redbrook, near Coleford, Gloucestershire.

He was not successful in finding a tenant and carried on running the brewery. In 1856 he found a private buyer for the brewery, selling it to Thomas Burgum & Son. Charles Herbert stayed in the village, moving to live at Highbury Farm.


Charles Herbert begs to inform his connection and the Public generally, that he has disposed of the above business to Messrs Thomas Burgum & Son. He gratefully acknowledges the liberal support he has received for the past thirteen years; and with much confidence recommends his successors to the encouragement of his many friends.

THOMAS BURGUM AND SON in succeeding to the above business, beg to state, that the same attention to orders, and determination to send out only good articles, principles which have been so successfully followed by Mr Herbert, will be adhered to as strictly by them; and thereafter look with confidence to the encouragement of the Public.

Families supplied with Malt and Hops.

Redbrook, near Coleford. July 1st 1856

Source; Gloucester Standard July 1856.

Note the spelling of the surname in the newspaper advert. Burgham was the spelling most used by the family, though there are many various ways.

Thomas Burgum & Son

Thomas was an iron founder in the village. He had purchased a site at Upper Redbrook, situated higher up the valley towards Coleford, from Henry and Mary Davies c1828, they had purchased the site of the old Upper Furnace and Foundry at the same time as the old tin works that they had sold to the Sims earlier.

In the 1851 census, Thomas was living with his wife, daughter and their four sons, his eldest son was Henry, age 23, who was working for his father at the foundry as a moulder. This confirms the family had no experience in the brewing trade, so they would have had to employ a brewer to work for them until they had gained the necessary experience. They were to have some good fortune a few years later, their rival in the village, James Hall, who ran the Upper Redbrook Brewery, was declared bankrupt, and the brewery was to close down.

When Thomas made his will in 1850, before he had purchased the brewery, he appointed two executors to carry out his wishes, Charles Herbert and James Hall, the two owners of the breweries in Redbrook, showing the close ties of the village businessmen.

It transpires that the brewery had been purchased for his eldest son Henry. In the 1861 census we find him living at the brewery with his wife and three children, employing four men, though the following year father and son are also listed in a Morris & Co. directory as Maltsters, St Mary Street,  Monmouth. Henry was to pass away in 1869, leaving his wife Eliza with three small children, Emily, Oliver and Beatrice.

Eliza Burgham

Eliza, with no experience in running a brewery and with three small children to look after, had to employ a manager to it, she engaged a Mr William Smith.

The following announcement appeared in the Monmouth Beacon in November 1869:

REDBROOK BREWERY. Mrs Burgham begs most respectfully to return her best thanks to the Nobility, Gentry, and Inhabitants generally of Monmouth and neighbourhood, for the patronage so liberally bestowed on her late lamented Husband, for a period of thirteen years. She also begs to inform them that the business will henceforth be carried on by her only, and she trusts that she may be favoured with a continuation of the patronage bestowed upon her late husband.

Family Ales, Stout, Dublin Porter, Malt, Hops, &c., of the best quality supplied on the most moderate terms.

All business orders to be addressed to the Manager, Redbrook Brewery, Near Monmouth.

This confirms that the brewery had been purchased for Henry, although he had earlier traded as Burgham & Son.

Within a few years Eliza was facing competition with the opening of the nearby Monmouth Brewery, by Henry Porter Tippins, in 1871. She responded by advertising as the Monmouth & Redbrook Brewery, like Gratrax & Dyke had done earlier. Later she was to revert back to Redbrook Brewery, not wanting to confuse buyers, some thinking she owned the two breweries.

On finishing his education her son Oliver went straight to work in the brewery, under the new manager George Lindsey. He was to have a thorough grounding in all the departments, before he eventually took over the management of the brewery.

Oliver was to fall in love in 1881 with Jessie Holloway, after courting her for several years he proposed marriage in 1884, she explained to him that she had no money, though this did not deter him, he told her that his mother was going to give him the Bridge Hotel, Monmouth. This did not materialise and later, in 1886 he began to cool in the relationship, saying there would be difficulty with his mother, and pleaded poverty as an excuse for not getting married. Things came to a head in January 1889, he broke off the engagement and offered her £40 to release him from his commitment. Jessie was left devastated, she took him to the Sheriff’s Court, London, in 1890 for breach of promise, where he was ordered to pay her £400 damages.

At London’s Sheriff’s Court on Thursday afternoon, Mr Under-Sheriff Buchell and a jury sat to assess damages in an action of breach of promise brought by Miss Jessie Holloway against Mr Oliver Arthur Burgham. The plaintiff was the daughter of a cabinete maker, of Bath, and the defendant manager of his mother’s brewery, Redbrook, Monmouthshire. They met in 1881, when the defendant offered marriage. The plaintiff told him she had money; but the defendant said that did not matter, as his mother was going to give him the Bridge Hotel, Monmouth, on his 21st birthday. They were accordingly engaged, and correspondence passed between them. Extracts from these letters were read, in which the defendant spoke of the plaintiff as his “pet” and said that if she was true to him all would come right, that he should choose his own wife, and should not be dictated to by any members of his family. In 1888, however, the defendants ardour cooled down, and he offered her £40 to release him from his engagement. Damages were assessed at £400.

A period of expansion was to take place now that Oliver was managing the brewery for his mother, they started to purchase, lease and sell some licensed houses in the Forest and Monmouthshire, though the majority were in Monmouthshire.

A cooper employed at the brewery, James Yemm, had a drink problem. When he was fined 40 shillings and costs for being drunk and riotous at Monmouth, he asked the magistrates there, what he was to do as his wife would not let him have his clothes or let him in the house with her. The police stated that the prisoner was well known to them, he had sold his suit of clothes to get drink. the magistrates gave him 14 days to pay, in default 28 days in prison.

Following the death of his mother Eliza in 1902, the brewery passed to Oliver.

Oliver Arthur Burgham

Though christened Oliver he was to use his second name Arthur very frequently throughout his life. In the census returns 1871 & 1901 he gave Oliver, in 1881 & 1891 Arthur. This has led to confusion, some thinking that there were two brothers.

It is noted that in the list of public houses published 1903, that some of the licensed houses are still listed under his mother’s name.

Oliver continued to run the brewery, though he was not in good health. In 1904 with his health not improving he instructed Bruton, Knowles & Co, auctioneers, Gloucester, to sell the brewery business including all the licensed houses and hotels he owned or rented, on December 8th at the Grand Hotel, Bristol.





Established 1825.

Situate close to Redbrook Station, on the Chepstow and Monmouth Railways.

Comprising a 5-Quarter Brewing Plant with Stables, Offices, Yards, Stores, & 15 Quarter Malthouse together with 18 Freehold and 4 Leasehold Hotels and Public Houses. Occupying some of the best positions for trade purposes in the Forest of Dean, and neighbouring districts, all within easy reach of the Brewery, and in the occupation of good tenants. Which Messrs Bruton Knowles & Co, have been instructed to auction by Arthur Burgham, Esq., (who is retiring from the business)

To offer for Sale by Auction,


On Thursday, the 8th Day of December 1904 at 2 for 3 o’clock, in the Afternoon in one Lot.

The various properties may be viewed by arrangement with A Burgham Esq., Redbrook near Monmouth, and Particulars may be had of Mr Frank Treasure, Solicitor, St John’s Chambers, Gloucester; or of the Auctioneers, Albion Chambers, Gloucester.

The freehold and leasehold public houses and hotels offered in the sale and particulars were as followed:

Lot 1: Bush Inn, Redbrook

Lot 2: Founders Arms, Redbrook

Lot 3: Queens Head, Redbrook

Lot 4: Wheatsheaf Inn (with Ferry attached), Penalt

Lot 5: Angel Hotel, Monmouth

Lot 6: Albion Inn, Monmouth

Lot 7: Red Lion, Monmouth

Lot 8: Full Moon, Monmouth

Lot 9: Black Lion, Monmouth

Lot 10: Wye Bridge Hotel & Wye Bridge Hotel, Monmouth (Including 6 cottages in Granvill Street)

Lot 11: Prince of Wales Inn, Coleford

Lot 12: Royal Oak Inn, Darkhill (sic), Nr Coleford

Lot 13: The Lamb Inn, Clearwell

Lot 14: The Parrot Inn, Hewelsfield *

Lot 15: Monmouthshire House, Mitcheltroy

Lot 16: White Lion Inn, Tregar, Raglan

Lot 17: Victoria Inn, Llandenny

Lot 18: Cupid’s Hill Inn, Grosmont, Pontralis

Lot 19: Carpenters Arms, Llanishen (Leasehold)

Lot 20: Ostrich Inn, Newland (Leasehold)

The Boat Inn and the Bush Inn, Penalt will be let on 7 or 10 years lease to the purchaser of the brewery. All houses let on annual tenancies determinable by 6 months notice except the Wye Bridge Hotel.

The trade is capable of great extension and wine and spirit, bottled beer and aerated water might be with great advantage be added. All tied for beer, if going into the wine and spirit trade a clause in the letting agreement would tie them should they wish to sell.

Sales for the 12 month ending October 31st 1904, 3,417 and three-quarters barrels of beer, beside hops and malt.

*The Parrot Inn, though being an 18th Century Inn had its license for renewal refused in 1906.

The brewery failed to sell at the auction. Oliver’s health must have improved, he was to carry on running the brewery.

Problems were to develop in 1908 with the Redbrook Tin Plate works, leading to court action over the supply of water from the Mill pond. It was declared that the level of the water in the Mill pond should remain at its present level.

In 1923 Burgam decided to retire, he sold the following public houses by private treaty to Ind, Coope & Co. Ltd. on 1st December for £9,700.

Royal Oak, Darkhill (sic), Coleford

Bush Inn & Queens Head (formerly called Whitehall), Redbrook

Lamb Inn, Clearwell (with Butchers Shop)

Boat Inn (with right of ferry)

Bush Inn, Penalt

Prince of Wales, Coleford

Bridge Hotel (sometimes called the Wye Valley Hotel), Monmouth

Victoria Inn, Llandenny

It appears he had not reached an agreement with the company to sell them, the brewery and contents. The following year he instructed Rennie, Taylor & Co, auctioneers, to sell the brewery and some other property he owned at auction at the Beaufort Arms Hotel, Monmouth, on September 1st.

A condition in the sale was that the purchaser of the brewery had the option of purchasing all the utensils, fittings and materials in trade and all loose plant and effects, casks, vats, jars, bottles, horse harness, drays, carts, beer, malt, barley, hops, and other stock in trade, by valuation. If this option was not taken the remaining stock of trade at the brewery was to be sold on the premises on September 9th.

At the auction the auctioneers declared that the brewery and two other lots were being withdrawn from the sale. Burgham had sold the public houses by private treaty to Ind Coope & Co. before the auction of the brewery was announced, and a private sale had since been agreed with Ind Coope & Co. to sell them the brewery and contents.

After purchasing the business, Ind Coope & Co. closed the brewery. Thus brewing came to an end just short of a century. Their main interest was acquiring the public houses. The brewery and most other buildings on the site were demolished in 1926, just over one hundred years from being built.

Notes: (with kind thanks to Paul Best)
1876. Burgham Mrs Eliza, Ale & Porter Brewer and Maltster, Monmouth and Redbrook. Morris & Co. Directory & Gazette of Newland & Tythings 1876.
1863. Burgham T.H. Brewer, Upper Redbrook, Newland, Coleford. P.O. Directory.

1879. Burgham Eliza (Mrs) Brewer & Maltster, Upper Redbrook. Kellys Directory.

1885. Burgham Mrs Eliza. Brewer, Upper Redbrook. Kellys Directory.

1894. Burgham Oliver Arthur. Brewer & Maltster. Upper Redbrook. Kellys Directory.

1897. Burgham O. A., Upper Redbrook, Monmouth. Kellys Directory.
1902. Burgham Oliver Arthur. Brewer & Maltster. Upper Redbrook. Kellys Directory.

1906. Burgham O. A., Upper Redbrook, Monmouth. Kellys Directory.
1910. Burgham Oliver Arthur. Brewer & Maltster. Upper Redbrook. Kellys Directory. 
1923. Burgham Arth. Brewer, Redbrook, Monmouth. Kellys Directory (Monmouthshire)

 1851 census Thomas Burgham.
Dwelling; Upper Redbrook.
Thomas Burgham. Head. Age 56. Iron Founder. Born, Newland Glos.
Harriett Burgham. Wife. Age 46. Born, Ross Herefordshire.
Henry Burgham. Son. Age 23. Moulder. Born, Newland.
Lydia Burgham. Daughter. Age 19.
Edwin Burgham. Son. Age 14. Moulder. Born, Newland.
James Alfred Burgham. Son. Age 12. Moulder. Born Newland.
William Burgham. Son. Age 8. Scholar. Born, Newland.

1861 census Henry Burgham.
Dwelling; Upper Redbrook.
Henry Burgham. Head. Age 33. Maltster & Brewer employing 7 men. Born, Newland Gloucestershire.
Emily Maria Burgham. Daughter. Age 1. Born, Newland, Glos.
Sarah Williams. Mother in Law. Widow. Age 73. Born, Guildford, Surrey.
Elizabeth Long. Servant. Age 44. Nurse. Born, Newland, Glos. 

1871 census Eliza Burgham.

Dwelling; Redbrook Villa, Newland, Upper Redbrook.
Eliza Burgham. Head Widow. Age 43. Brewer & Maltster, Employer. Born. Newland, Glos.
Emily M. Burgham. Daughter. Age 11. Born, Newland, Glos.
Oliver A. Burgham. Son. Age 7. Scholar. Born, Newland, Glos.
Beatrice M. Burgham. Daughter. Age 5. Scholar. Born, Newland, Glos.
Frances Griffiths. Servant. Age 21. Governess Servant. Born, Central India.
Eleanor L. Davis. Servant. Age 22. Domestic Servant Cook. Born, Llantharnum, Monmouthshire.
Jane Griffiths. Servant. Age 17. Domestic Housemaid. Born, Hereford.
Nathaniel S. Bathropp. Visitor. Age 27. Curate of Newland. Born, Cretingham, Suffolk.

1881 census Eliza Burgham. 

Dwelling; Upper Redbrook.
Eliza Burgham. Head Widow. Age 53. Brewer & Maltster. Born, Monmouthshire.
Emily M. Burgham. Daughter. Age 21. Born, Redbrook, Glos.
Arthur Burgham. Son. Age 17. Born, Redbrook, Glos.
Beatrice Burgham. Daughter. Age 15. Born, Redbrook, Glos.
George Lindsey. Boarder. Age 26. Brewery Manager. Born, Aberdare, Glamorgan.
Mary Hawkins. Visitor. Age 23. Governess. Born, Newent, Glos.
Jervis Johnson. Visitor. Age 35. Accountant. Born, Monmouth.
Mary Rees. Servant. Age 16. Domestic Servant. Born, Monmouth.

Beerhouse License Change.

The license of the Royal Oak beerhouse at Futrell from James Nash to Mrs Burgham, of Redbrook Brewery.
Source; The Citizen July 1881.

Source; Derby Telegraph December 1890.

1901 census Oliver Arthur Burgham.
Dwelling; Redbrook.
Oliver A. Burgham. Head. Age 37. Brewer & Maltster, Employer. Born, Newland, Glos.
Agnes M. Burgham. Wife. Age 33. Born, Liverpool.
Agnes Payne. Visitor. Age 25. Born, Dublin Ireland.  

1939 Probate Oliver Arthur Burgham.
Of The Old Brewery House, Redbrook, Gloucestershire died 2nd July 1939. Probate Gloucester 24th October to Beatrice Mary Thomas (wife of William Thomas) Frank Treasure solicitor and Samuel Thomas Cowcher accountant.
Effects £4,907 5 shillings 1 penny.

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