A history of the Farriers Arms

March 05 2021
A history of the Farriers Arms

John Penny of Fishponds Local History Society looks at the history of the Farriers Arms and former owners the Daws family.

THE decision to refuse Morrisons permission to demolish the Farriers Arms is latest event in the history of a site which has been in use for more than 200 years. 

What is now a busy corner of Fishponds Road was open land when the earliest detailed map of the area was drawn up in 1781.

An auction in 1818 at the Full Moon Inn first recorded a blacksmith working on the site, at one of three tenements leased by the Duchess Dowager of Beaufort.

An 1839 survey map showed for the first time buildings on the corner of Fishponds Road and Hockey’s Lane, with an accompanying book listing a smith’s shop rented by William Daws.

Born in Stapleton about 1790, William had married local girl Mary Offer in 1822, and the 1851 census recorded him as a “horse doctor and smith”.

William had bought the plot by the time he died in 1860, leaving it to his son, who continued as the local blacksmith, with his mother Mary looking after the financial side.

William junior, who was unmarried, died in 1863, followed by his mother the following year.

The business then passed to George Allsop Daws who, like his uncle and grandfather, continued to work as a blacksmith but, with his wife Caroline, first started to sell beer from 1867.

The first record of the Farriers’ Arms name is in newspaper reports of a court case involving a sailor "charged with breaking and entering...with intent to commit a felony"; Caroline had seen four strange men come into the pub and later found one of them hiding under her bed.

Censuses up to 1901 recorded George as both a farrier and brewer, but by 1911 he described himself only as a “trade licensed victualler.”

He died in July that year, aged 73, and Caroline ran the pub until August 1925, when she sold it to the Bristol brewery, Georges & Co. She moved to family-owned Clay Farm in Forest Road, where in 1938 she died, aged 91.

Picture of the Farriers Arms sign taken by John Penny, shortly before the pub closed for the final time

From 1925 the Farriers Arms was a tied house. The first tenant was Frank Langley, who had served in the Labour Corps during the First World War, and was discharged disabled with malaria.

He ran at the pub until he retired, aged 67, in 1943, after which a series of tenants ran it until it finally closed in October 2010.

In 1949 the adjoining smithy was rented by an organ builder, before being used for car sales and repairs by Grove Garage in the early 1970s, then by Fishponds Motors, prior to demolition for the widening of Hockey’s Lane.

George and Caroline Daws' children continued to live in Forest Road. All unmarried, the last to pass away was Holly, who lived alone at Clay Farm for decades before she died in Downend, aged 100, in 1990.

The old farmhouse was eventually demolished and new houses, including Daws Court, were built on the site.

Rerad more: Farriers Arms wins reprieve as Morrisons is refused permission to knock down historic pub.

Picture of the Farriers Arms taken in 1973 by John Bartlett, the late former chair of Fishponds Local History Society, shows former landlord Charlie Webb's Rover car parked outside.