The Yew Tree History

A History of The Yew Tree Bed & Breakfast and Holiday Cottage in the Cotswolds…

What is now known as the “Cottage” was built in 1552. The front entrance on the ground floor was on the north side, now the fire exit. The two windows are in their original sites; there would have been a third on the south facing wall & possibly a door to the outside and privy. The brick floor was removed when modernisation and damp proofing took place in 1990. The fireplace was in the corner by the side of the wardrobe. Where the shower is, there would have been a steep staircase to the room above. This room would have been a bedroom for the whole family. The fireplace is as it was although the chimney was sealed in about 1820. To the right of the fireplace, the original wall plate can be seen, depicting the original ceiling height. The three openings on this floor were all windows. What is now the front door was converted into a barley door, probably in the early 19th century when a lot of work apparently took place. This building was used as a brewery and had no floor between the two rooms when the present owners bought it in 1978.

The house was built in 1669 and was attached to the “cottage”. The stables across the road were built a little later. It is thought the house was used as a clothiers meeting place, with the owner entertaining his guests with home made ale. This then progressed into an alehouse, with the landlord brewing his own beer. The Yew Tree Inn is mentioned in The Victorian Guide to the County of Gloucestershire. The landlord was the third most important man in the community, the other two being the Vicar and the Squire. He would have been responsible for slaughtering livestock on request, and delivering coal. He would have had his own horse and cart, which were housed across the road in the stables, the live-in stable boy sleeping in a room above the horse’s stall. (Incidentally David Field signed his name on the chimney breast in 1955!) As previously stated a lot of changes took place in 1820. It is thought that a brewery may have purchased The Yew Tree Inn then. An extension was built, which is now used by the present owners as the kitchen, and guest room above.

When The Yew Tree was bought in 1978, it had been a Public House for at least 150 years. It was delicensed, and the beginning of the present renovations commenced in 1980. The following description is how the house was in 1980. The entrance to the building was through the front door, straight off the footpath. To the right was a Victorian stone structure, with a flat roof, which protruded onto the footpath incorporating etched glass windows. This proved to be incongruous to the 17th century dwelling and also produced little light into the “smoke room”. There was a corridor leading from the front door to the “saloon” at the back of the house (now the dining room). The “smoke room” on the right had nicotine coloured wooden partition walls. A 1960’s style fireplace, when removed, revealed evidence of two more fireplaces, the present one being the original. The “saloon” housed the bar with a hatchway into the “smoke room”. To the right of the fireplace was a dartboard, with the floor marked out on “Marley” tiles. The walls were encased with mock wood up to a dado rail. When renovating this room, the various breweries had had several attempts to replace the floor, leaving the perimeter with three sorts of flooring! Turning out of this room and walking towards the front door, on the right was the landlord’s kitchen. His sitting room was where the kitchen is now. The 1st floor was approached by a dangerously steep and rickety staircase. There were three rooms on this floor, presumably bedrooms. The next floor was used as an attic and housed the cold-water cistern. In all there were 9 flues! Three flues have been retained and the chimneys lined. The present owners stripped the walls of plaster, removed most timber (dry rot and woodworm had rendered any wooden structure useless) and opened up bricked-up windows. The renovations have taken a long time, but we trust you will enjoy our improvements, which have been completed with a sympathetic view to the original character of the building.