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The Fleece Inn, Hillesley

A warm & friendly Cotswolds village pub Open 7 days a week Bookings: 01453 520003

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About Us    A great village pub in the Cotswolds - owned by its community. 

The Fleece was put up for sale late in 2011, and closed in April 2012.  In June 2012 it was purchased as a freehold, free house by a group of over one hundred local residents.  The purchase was achieved through the creation of the Hillesley Community Pub Limited (HCPL).

The primary aim of HCPL is to secure the future of The Fleece pub in Hillesley as a community facility that welcomes visitors and is owned by a substantial number of Hillesley and surrounding area residents.  A secondary aim is to preserve the value of the capital invested by the community owners and to provide some form of reasonable return.  The company sees itself as part of the Hillesley community and is set up for the benefit of the community as well as its shareholders.  The company will be run in a way which listens to the wishes and concerns of local people whether or not they are shareholders.  Major decisions will be widely consulted on throughout the village.

An experienced Pub Management Company has been appointed to ensure professional management of the pub.  They facilitated the Appointment of a Manager and a Chef.  We have consulted the community to establish the kind of pub that the shareholders want.  Some of the findings indicate the kind of pub The Fleece will be: 


It should be decorated and run with the feel of a “traditional English village pub”.


The publicans need to be friendly and village-oriented.


There needs to be both a “restaurant/lounge” culture and a “bar culture”.


The pub should serve well-kept real ale, including local beers, along with a selection of good wines, spirits, etc


The food offering should include “affordable meals”, although more “up market” food offerings may also be offered.


All food should major on fresh, local produce and should be unpretentious.


There should be a coffee shop offering, with good fresh coffee, during the day, targeted as a meeting place for people in the village in the mornings.


Light lunches/sandwiches should be available at lunch times.


The premises must be clean.


The fire should be lit on cool and miserable days.


The lounges should be comfortable, relaxed and civilised.


The pub should be open every day.


Full use should be made of the garden



Village Pub Buy Out Goes Ahead

We are a group of local residents who shared a passion for keeping The Fleece open, and who believe that we had a unique opportunity to make the pub a true community asset for the community.
 
We were prepared to put our money where our mouth is and invest in acquiring The Fleece.  If you share our vision we welcome you to join us – whether as an investor or as a volunteer helper.
 

The Fleece is located in the attractive Cotswold village of Hillesley, close to  Wotton-under-Edge, Badminton and Westonbirt.  It lies roughly equidistant between Gloucester, Cheltenham, Bristol and Bath.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

A proud community in the process of buying The Fleece
 














For directions see the Contact Us page.
 
It is a traditional pub offering a warm welcome, a range of real ales, fine wines and food all day, with three linked bar areas to choose from.  It is a family-friendly pub and we have ample parking and a large beer garden.

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Watch The Fleece video and Case Study at Pub Is The Hub!

The Fleece Inn is featured in the video case studies site of Pub Is The Hub.  You can watch Jade Canning (former Manager) and Lance Doughty & Tony Shepherd (shareholders) talk about the project to save The Fleece and how things work today at http://www.pubisthehub.org.uk/videos.  PITH has also created a Case Study about the Fleece project that can be found at http://www.pubisthehub.org.uk/projects/project/the_fleece_hillesley.  Many thanks to our good friends and supporters at PITH for this, and for the award of our plaques that are on proud display in the pub.
 


Pub History

The age of the building is unclear – it is listed variously as 17th or 18th century origin – and it is Grade II listed.  The Gloucestershire pub history reference www.easywell.co.uk lists the following facts:

Owner in 1891:  Thomas Witchell, Tetbury

Rateable Value in 1891:   £10.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891:  Alehouse

Owner in 1903:  Thomas Witchell, Tetbury

Rateable Value in 1903:  £10.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903:   Alehouse

Closing time in 1903:  10pm

Easywell also relates: “The Fleece Inn was once tied to Witchell's Tetbury Brewery.  Thomas Witchell did not own many pubs and the Fleece Inn was a rare outlet.  Witchell's were subsequently acquired by another Tetbury Brewery, Warns.  An old photograph shows the gabled end of the pub with the painted lettering: ‘The Fleece Inn. Warn & Sons.  Celebrated Ales, Wines & Spirits’ ”

Elsewhere it is recorded “When the landlady Miss Mary Jotcham retired from the Fleece Inn in 1953 it brought to an end over a hundred years association with the Jotcham family. The Stroud Brewery Courier reported in December 1947 of ‘a grand old lady, who kept one of the Company’s houses for 53 years was the late Mrs Jotcham of the Fleece at Hillesley. Mrs Jotcham died in 1940, but the house is still in the family, Mrs Jotcham’s daughter being the present licensee.”

A list of previous Fleece landlords:

1856  L. Roach

1885  William Gunning

1891  Frederick Jotcham

1902,1903,1906,1939  Mary Ann Jotcham (Mrs Mary Ann Jotcham in 1939)

 

198?  Dave and Celia Rollo 

1997  Celia Rollo

1998  Richard and Clare Poole

2003  Kim and Cliff Williams

 

2004  Neil and Deborah Hardy 

2007  Andrew Starling  

2010  Simon and Helen Stevens

2011  Mark and Rhian Kirby

2012  Jade Canning

2013 Andrew 'Panda' Jones [current]

The building features a rare West Country Ales ceramic plaque recessed into the front wall - see the picture below.  For more information on these plaques take a look at:

http://www.easywell.co.uk/pubs/july2006plaques.htm



             

Customer testimonials

This is a sample from the positive comments about The Fleece we have been delighted to see posted on TripAdvisor:

"Very good selection of real ales and ciders. Traditional country pub lunches in friendly, affable atmosphere. The pub, in new hands, seems to have good local patronage. I was recommended by friends, the best advertising of all"

"The food was 'good pub' standard with excellent chips: soft on the inside and crisp outside. The free house pub is owned by the Hillesley Community and is well appointed and smartly decorated

"We all thought it to be the best fish and chips we'd had for years. Very enjoyable and of course a nice pint to wash it down with"

"After a great walk from Wooton under Edge I came upon this superb village pub and was not disappointed.  The food was brilliant and creative served in the beer garden and washed down with some local real ale, an idyllic setting with food and beer to match. The pub is very welcoming with excellent management, the menu creative and good value for money.  A visit to this pub is highly recommended,you will not be disappointed"