Cross Keys Inn

Cross Keys_9450

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

4 thoughts on “Cross Keys Inn


    Is anyone able to verify for me that this publican
    1841 Census James Williams age 35

    is the same person mentioned as running Ye Olde Tippling Philosohper, at Caldicot?
    Plus is there a link to a Thomas and Fanny brown

    1. Cherie webb ne: purnell says:

      Ken Purnell,was not the landlord ln 1968, it was Joan Purnell, who name was over the door, and she took the pub over in 1967 in the month of June or July from Mrs Hawks and her son who then moved into the fishermans sedbury, and as you see the name is spelt wrong as well. Ps, I know this to be right as I am the daughter!!!

  2. John Morgan says:

    I believe that a certain Mr. Brian Harris held the post of publican from 1975-1980. An F.A. cup winner with Everton in 1966, and manager of Cardiff City when he had retired as a player. I was a good friend of one of his sons Ian. (Mark being the older). The spelling for Mr. Harris appears to have been a typing error I feel. Regards John Morgan (Grew up in nearby Sedbury 1960s & 1970s)

  3. Danny Cotter says:

    Oh my god what a wonderful I stayed here whole working for tesco contractor the kitchen’s in back where they done pizza run by a old couple and Simon the landlord was a big giant of a loverly man I stayed here and trouble started and it want the same I really liked it even tho I’m a southerner the scenery was amazing sorry to see it gone


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