The Swan Inn
The Swan has been a hostelry for hundreds of years, situated as it is on the route of an old drovers’ road leading from the Welsh hills to a ford across the River Severn at Hanley Quay and on towards London. The earliest documentary evidence for its existence is to be found in the Land Tax Assessment record of 1781 when Edmund Jones paid a quarterly tax of 6s 8d (about £30 today) ‘for the Swan’. He was still there when the Enclosure Map of 1797 was published and is identified in the first directory of Worcestershire in 1820 as a ‘vict,’ [victualler – a purveyor of provisions].
By 1830 the Swan was owned by Thomas Cheshire and ten years later by John Barnes. Around 1850 the Tomlinson family began their long stewardship, John Tomlinson handing over in 1876 to his son, Benjamin, who was still in residence in 1904. But one year later the third generation of Tomlinsons, Percy, is recorded as having set up a butcher’s shop annex to the inn, while the Swan was in the hands of Frederick Flux. At this time the locality is given as Hanley Green, but Kelly’s Directory of 1908 identifies the Swan Inn for the first time as being in Hanley Swan.
Sometime in the early 20th century, the Swan appears to have been sold to the Cheltenham Brewery, which let the premises to the Foort family in the 1920s. When Nugent Foort died in the late 1930s, his widow Emma took over, keeping the establishment going throughout the war years. American servicemen stationed at nearby Blackmore Park cheekily referred to the Swan as the 'Dirty Duck'.
After the war Emma’s son, Bill Foort, ran the pub, handing it over in the 1950s to a succession of landlords, while the owners, Cheltenham, merged first with the breweries of Hereford & Tredegar and then Stroud to form West Country Brewery in 1958. Five years later they were taken over by Whitbread. When legislation was introduced in the 1980s to limit the number of pubs that the big brewers could own, the Swan was among many pubs sold to a company called Inn Business.
In 1999 the company was taken over by Punch Taverns, which completed a modern refurbishment of the Swan in October 2004. Today it provides good meals and accommodation, as well as being a focal point of the village.