The Cross Keys Inn sits on the crossroads near what was the Turnpike with roads leading to the old Beachley ferry , Gloucester, Coleford and Chepstow. It was recorded in the 1841 census when James Williams was the publican and closed in 2008 when it was converted, the last landlord Simon Orgee was the third generation of his family to hold the licence at the pub.
The Cross Keys became the meeting place for the Tidenham Friendly Society (founded in 1835) in 1868 and there are many accounts in the Chepstow Weekly Advertiser (CWA) of anniversary parties held at the pub.
There was reputedly a ghost, in 1868 James Pritchard the landlord died and his wife was ejected from the pub as it was thought she was incapable of holding the licence. She set up her own hostelry along the road calling it the ‘Live and Let Live’, her spirit must be smiling that her hostelry is still open with the wine bar called Pritchards in the Live and Let Live building. When the Cross Keys was still open her spirit was said to haunt the rooms and spy on the opposition.
In the years when the Sunday Closing Act of 1881 meant pubs in Chepstow were not open on that day the Cross Keys and nearby Live and Let Live used to have an influx of customers who made the trip over the Chepstow Bridge to enjoy their Sunday pints. In the book by Grantley James recording the history of the pub (The Cross Keys On the borders of history) he says that Roma Hawkes had a record of Sunday takings of £65 18shillings – this is when pints of beer cost between 6d and 7d a pint so that was over two and a half thousand pints of beer.
Cross Keys Occupants
Date Source Occupant
1841 Census James Williams age 35
1865 Webster John Pritchard Wheelwright
1867 Rate Book Thomas Davies owner occupier
1875 Mercer & Co Thomas Davis
1876 Morris Rowland Hill shopkeeper
1879 Hillman Rowland Hill
1879 Kelly Rowland Hill
1881 Census Rowland Hill age 66 innkeeper
1882 Hillman Rowland Hill
1883 Hillman Rowland Hill
1885 Kelly Mrs Elizabeth Hill
1888 Hillman Mrs Hill
1891 Census Mary Hill age 39, single
1892 Hillman Miss Hill
1893 Hillman Miss Hill
1897 Kelly Henry King
1908 CWA John Ellis Jones
1910 CWA John Ellis Jones
1913 CWA John Ellis Jones
1914 Kelly John Ellis Jones
1923 Kelly Jones, George E
1924 Pub History Jones, G.E.
1928 Pub History Tom Powell
1933 Pub History George Hutchings
1939 Kelly George Hutchings
1949 Pub History Mrs Hutchings
1962 Pub History Mr & Mrs A Hawkes
1967 Family info Joan Purnell
1972 Pub History T. McArthay
1975 Pub History Brian Harris
2000? Pub History Simon Orgee
2008 Closed for conversion
CWA – Chepstow Weekly Advertiser
Kelly, Morriis and Webster were trade directories