The Royal Oak. A Grade 2 Listed Building. Late C16 timber-framed building, L-shaped on plan. 3 storeys and cellar. Refaced
late C18 with painted brick, dentil blocks below eaves. Tiled gable ended roof.
Exposed timber-framing in wing at rear and in covered entrance to yard. 5 double-hung
sash windows with 3-lights and glazing bars, flat brick arches and keyblocks, ground
floor with leaded panes. Round headed central door opening, large fanlight, deep
reveals. Wide elliptical arched carriageway to left with keyblock. Round-headed
doorway on right. Interior: dining room has original panelling with enriched cornice
and overmantle with enriched pilasters between the bays. Queen-post roofs. Rubble
walling in cellars.
Always the Royal Oak I don't really need to add to this.
1839 Tithe Map     Owner Philip John Miles. Occupier Mary Amey.
1891    Ernest H Hopkins 26 Hotel Proprietor.
1901    Ernest H Hopkins 37 Hotel Proprietor.
From 1910 Survey   Occupier Hopkins E H. Owner Hopkins E H.
1911    Ernest Hambler Hopkins 46 Hotel Proprietor. Property Description: 22 Rooms
1903    Hopkins E H
1906    Hopkins E H
1910    Hopkins E H Fire Brigade Captain
1923    Gabbs P C
1926    J G Currie
1940    T Jones
1945    Mrs Osborn
1950    K Foster
1954    H G Thomas
1966    G W Hansford
1968    J P McIllmurray
1970    Alan and Valerie Kennedy
1976    L Instone
1983    Grew P L
1987    Booth E
1999    Landlord not listed but includes Ledbury Brewery.
2002    As above.
The Royal Oak has of course always been a public house. Most 'pubs' have a regular change of landlord and
this is true of the Royal Oak in the twentieth century but just two Ledbury families cover most
of the nineteenth so their story is of local interest.
The Amey family were landlords from at least 1792 until 1849.
Landlord in 1792 Richard Amey, b in 1765 to Francis and Ann Amey, married in Ledbury to Mary Fox from Ross
in 1785. They had 7 children. Richard died in 1808 leaving Mary as Landlord until her death.
Their last child, Susannah, b 1799 in Ledbury, married William Bruton of Newent in 1837. He, and his mother
in law, Mary by now 75, were joint landlords in 1841.
An announcement in the Hereford Times of Jan 1st 1848 records Mary's death:
'27th ult. At The Oak Inn Ledbury, aged 83, Mrs Mary Amey, mother to Mrs Bruton'.
William and Susannah retired at the age of 48 in 1849 and moved to No 16 Southend where they
are in 1851 as 'Retired Innkeeper' they seemed to have no children.
Austin Butler, described as an Innkeeper and Gun Maker in 1851, took the licence when William retired,
a notice in the Hereford Times of 11th August 1849 records the license transfer. He was only
here a short while before moving next door. More on Austin in the next property.
The Inn was up for sale by auction in 1854.
Taken by a Charles Clarke, the Oct 8th 1859 edition of the Hereford Times advertises:
Grateful for the liberal support during his time at the Lamb Inn, begs to inform the Public that
he has TAKEN and ENTERED upon the ROYAL OAK, LEDBURY; and, by keeping good Articles with a strict
attention to business, he hopes to merit a share of the public patronage.
He is there in 1861 with his wife Lucy. Not from Ledbury we move quickly on to the the next dynasty.
In 1851 James Matthews, b 1813 in Derbyshire is a grocer in Bye Street shown with wife Maria b Ledbury
in 1815. Also in the household are William Load, b 1839, wife's son and Mary Ann, b 1842, wife's daughter both born in Ledbury.
Note the children are listed as the wife's. Their birth registrations do not give Mothers Maiden Name
which suggests she was not married at the time.
There are unlikely to be two Maria Load's around in Bye Street Ledbury in the 1840s so it is probably
she that was fined 9s in 1846 for assaulting Louisa Minton by throwing a bucket of water over her and
striking her with a dirty mop. In June 1847 a Maria Load was fined 10s for having seven deficient weights.
This suggests it was her grocery business before her marriage to James he moved in and took over.
I am suspicious of this 'marriage', I cannot find any reference to it! Despite these indiscretions she
went on have a successful career as a publican.
Now Matthews of course, she is established with James in the George Hotel in 1861. No more children,
listed her two children are listed as son and daughter in law to the head of household, James.
James died in 1865.
In March 1864 William Hanbury Hopkins married Mary Ann Loade Matthews, Maria's daughter,
and a son Ernest Hambler (Hopkins) was born in December 1864, (a name to remember)
a daughter Ada Blanche Piercy (Hopkins) was born in March 1872.
In 1871 Maria, now a widow, is Innkeeper at the Royal Oak with her daughter now Mary Ann Hopkins, son in law,
William and Ernest, her grandson now 6. And again in 1881 with grandchildren Ernest now 16 and Ada 9.
In the 1891 census Maria now 77 is in Victoria Rd with son William (Load) b 1839.
Maria died in June 1891. Sometime before the census date she must have transferred the pub to Ernest
as in the 1891 census, Ernest is Hotel Proprietor at The Royal Oak at the young age of 26,
with a wife Ellen, nee Evans, whom he married in 1885. They had a daughter, Blanche Mary E in 1886,
a son Ronald Hambler in 1896
and Ernest Hambler in 1900.