The history of The Ebrington Arms stretches back nearly 400 years.

Nobody knows exactly when The Ebrington Arms was built but most guesses are around 1640. The building was thought to originally be a a large dwelling or farmhouse but the building has spent most of its life as a public house. Whatever its origins it’s definitely always been the hub of village life, set in stunning countryside by the village green.

1660 Chipping Campden based estate manager, William Harrison, goes missing and is presumed dead when his blood stained shirt collar is found just outside Ebrington. His manservant, John Perry, along with Perry’s mother and brother, are all hanged for Harrison’s murder. Harrison returns to Chipping Campden two years later, claiming to have been abducted and sold into slavery in Turkey. The story is known as the Campden Wonder and has provided the source material for several books and plays.

1717 William Kyte is recorded as the first registered landlord of The Ebrington Arms. During his tenure Kyte was admonished by the local authorities for keeping a disorderly alehouse. He was subsequently ‘supressed from selling ale or any other liquors.’ However, the pub remains in the Kyte family for nearly 200 years.

1782 Samuel Kyte sold ale without a proper licence. He needed the recommendation of the vicar that was ‘not forthcoming’. In 1788 and 1790 Samuel Kyte was convicted of selling ale without the proper licence. First offence was fined 40 shillings and 5 shillings expenses and his second offence fined £4 and 4/6 expenses.

1804 Local landowner, Lord Fortescue, stages a party at the pub for the village in celebration of his son’s ‘coming of age’. It is known that excellent beef and mutton as well as a suitable quantity of beer were served to over 200 people who attended the feast, and public records state that a ‘bellyful of good victuals and drink’ is enjoyed by all.

1838 The small village green, situated at the front of the pub, becomes known as The Three Oaks after a local father of six boys ‘appealed to the almighty’ for his wife to give birth to a daughter. When a daughter finally arrives, the overjoyed father plants the three oaks as a living tribute to his good fortune.

1847 On 27th August 1847 Ann Kyte appeared personally at the County of Gloucester as the lawful widow of William Kyte who had died on June 22nd in testate (leaving no will). He left ‘goods chattels and credits’ to the value of £200.

1850s Several other ale houses sprung up in the area to cater for the Irish navvies working on Brunel’s Great Western Rail Mickleton Tunnel. The Magpie at Charingworth and The Pig and Whistle at Hidcote Boyce (now occupied by a new house bearing the same name), The Red Lion in Ebrington (now a private cottage) and The Wheatsheaf Inn (Top Farm) which is known to have operated in the 1890s before losing its licence. The Wheatsheaf Inn ceased trading when the vicar , the Rev. C. E. Hornby, asked the licensee, Joseph Williams not to renew his license for the locals would walk along the footpath ‘over the clouds’ towards the Vicarage and ‘loll’ against the hedges which deeply upset him. Being a godfearing man, Joseph apparently readily agreed.

1871 Charles Hostwick, a local tramp, is charged with ‘wilfully and maliciously’ breaking one pane of glass at The Ebrington Arms valued at 2s 6d. The culprit, on default of payment, is sentenced to 14 days of hard labour. (This happened again when a drunk put the window through just after Claire and Jim took over the pub, but the culprit just got a night in the cells to sleep it off and a fine of £80.)

1879 Valuation of effects of The Ebrington Arms, then the property of Miss Elizabeth Kyte (March 20th). Various prints framed and glazed, oil painting. 1 and a half dozen orange bitters, 3 doz pints of claret (Vin Ordinaire), 4 doz pints St Julien, 9 doz orange bitters, 1 doz Julien Claret, 1 gallon of brown brandy, half a gallon of port, cask of sherry, 1 gallon of whisky. £23-3s 6d.

A book called ‘My Village My Home’ is a book put together of local man, Jack Wheatcroft’s journals that he kept growing up in Ebrington in the early 1900s. He mused; ‘There is a sense of something peaceful and gracious about the very wildness of these clusters of houses found within the folds of the hills, a sense of tranquillity over all. I suppose, if one is religious, the church would be called the centre of village life. Yet I would plump for the pub, The Ebrington Arms, for it is here, after a day’s toil, that men meet to relate local gossip and here, too, are told old tales over and over again.’

1901 The village parish council write to the Government regarding the ‘need for legislation’ with reference to the manufacture of beer which they state should only be brewed from ‘barley, malt, hops, yeast and water.’ The council cites no less than 667 cases of beer poisoning in neighbouring Staffordshire, with some beers featuring arsenic amongst their dubious ingredients.

1906 The pub’s Club Room (now two ensuite B&B rooms) is renovated and extended. The space provides local groups with a dedicated meeting room and is on occasions used as a makeshift cinema.

1912 The pub is advertised for sale and is described as a ‘stone-built and slated freehold free and full licensed inn containing an excellent underground cellar’. There is a good well of water on the premises (now known to be under the flagstones in the first dining room) and an “exceedingly good trade of 150-200 gallons of beer and stout”. The pub is subsequently sold to William Ernest Page, thus ending the Kyte family’s 196-year tenancy. It is thought that William Page added the end extension to the building.

1913 October 23rd marked the end of an era when the pub, connected with the Keyte family for 196 years was auctioned by Frank Parsons & Co and sold for £1000 to Hunt Edmunds the brewers.

1914 Regular ‘smoking concerts’ are held in the village to provide the 19 local men fighting in the First World War with supplies of cigarettes and tobacco. New landlord, William Page, approves of these efforts, as he is one of the men on active service.

By 1914 many fixtures and fittings were transferred to the new tenant, Mr William Ernest Nicholls Page, including; 17 brownware cider cups, 7 ginger beer openers, 94 willow pattern plates, 32 pint cups and 5 iron spittoons. Lot 1 also included a trap shed & thatched stabling for 8 horses. Lot 2 comprised “all those 4 recently erected (1886) brick built and slated freehold model cottages, known as Victoria Terrace, with the gardens and outbuildings, adjoining Lot 1, and producing a rental of £26, the landlord paying the rates.’And so began a new era at the pub with the Page family, some of whom still live in the area today.

1932 Local magistrates are engaged in a five and a half hour session to deal with 22 summonses resulting from a ‘near riot’ in the village. The incident, which becomes known as the ‘The Christmas Eve Fracas’, saw festive revellers (following a busy night in The Ebrington Arms) going on the rampage after residents actively discouraged their inebriated attempts at carol singing.

1933 The kitchens beneath the Club Room become a butchers shop and remain so until 1954. The original meat hooks still hang from the ceiling in the pub’s new dining room.

1939 The Club Room is used to allocate evacuee children from London to local families throughout the Second World War.

1943 Locals donned fancy dress as part of ‘Wings for Victory Week’ and stage an imagined enactment of the capture of Hitler and Goering. Once seized, the Nazi leaders are imprisoned in The Ebrington Arms. The second annual meeting of the Pig Club also took place at the pub this year, attracting no less than ’95 members and 115 insured pigs’.

1938 Feb 3rd – the ladies of the village flocked to the club room to consider the question of forming a WI. Mrs S. Righton chaired and 45 women joined immediately.

1948 The funeral of pub landlord, William Page, takes place on 30th June. Amongst the floral tributes is one from the ‘Ebrington Arms Locals’.

1950 Locals are told to obtain their new ration books from the pub on 20th April between 2:30 and 5:30pm .

1954 Joseph ‘Joe’ Page becomes the licensee of The Ebrington Arms.

1955 At the cost of £100, the three oaks on the green are surrounded by a stone wall, with the area beneath the trees converted into a car park.

1959 The parish council discusses the problem of bad language heard in the region of the three oaks.

1962 Local actor, Bill Paynebest known for playing Ned Larkin in ‘The Archers’ is taken to hospital with a heart complaint. A hospital spokesperson said: “He is a bright and cheery person and, as he lives locally, has several old acquaintances in the ward with him.”

1967 ‘Fears for Ebrington Oak Trees’ screams the headline of local paper, The Evesham Journal. It is thought that the trees might not be getting sufficient moisture owing to the weight of the cars parked above their roots. Later this year breathalyser tests were introduced, prompting an aggrieved Evesham publican to exclaim: “It is the worst thing that has happened in the whole of the nation for 700 years.”

1969 Joe Page’s son and daughter-in-law, Bruce and Shirley Page, take over the running of the pub.

1974 Former landlord Joe Page dies. One of his obituaries reads: ‘He had been a supporter of everything good in Ebrington. He had left his mark with his wonderful paintings of the village, which are said to be distributed all over the world.’

1977 Planning requests heard in May include the conversion of the games room at The Ebrington Arms into three bedrooms and a bathroom.

1983 The Evesham Journal reports that Bruce and Shirley Page are leaving the pub after 14 years as licensees to set up home in France, therefore ending the Page family’s 70-year history of running the pub.

1985 The Evesham Journal reports that The Ebrington Arms is to change its name after 280 years. The pub is renamed The Three Oaks by new landlady, Judith ‘Queenie’ Johnson, who didn’t like that the pub’s name and coat of arms was derived from long-time local landowner, Lord Ebrington of the Fortesque family who weren’t ardent supporters of the pub. Many locals boycott the pub, whilst many of the remaining customers continue to refer to it as ‘The Arms’.

1987 The Three Oaks is offered for sale for £320,000. The property listing boasts of a “superb dining room for bed and breakfast guests, gardens and bars with inglenook fireplaces, beamed ceilings and original fittings.”

1988 Gareth and Wendy Richards take over the pub and immediately change the name back to The Ebrington Arms. Lord Ebrington gives his blessing to reuse the name and donates a painting of his coat of arms to be hung the pub.

2001 Graham and Sarah Springett bought the pub with Sarah’s parents who had run the popular Plough Inn at Ford. They quickly establish up a strong trade, and the new landlords immediately win the approval of the locals by building a new toilet block to replace the old facilities that previously had to be accessed via the car park.

2003 – 2006 Barry Leach ran the pub as upmarket restaurant but allegedly went bust.

2006 Jan Faber – lived in village having bought the pub from Barry, put it back on the market again after only 6 months.

2007 – current Claire and Jim Alexander the pub’s current landlords gave up successful careers in the music industry to buy, run and fully renovate the pub. In addition to winning numerous awards for their food, drink and accommodation including being named the Campaign for Real Ale’s North Cotswold ‘pub of the year’ in 2009, 2010 and 2011 Jim and Claire have hugely extended this historic building and have opened up what was formerly the kitchen into a new dining area.

 

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