The renowned landmark carriage at The Highwayman pub, which was first discovered in the 1950s has been carefully replaced at the favourite Cotswold pub after being ravaged by Storm Eunice at the start of the year.
Arkell’s Brewery’s The Highwayman pub, situated at Elkstone, near Cirencester, has had a black & yellow carriage situated in its car park since it changed its name from The Masons Arms in the 1950s.
According to the pub’s well-read locals, the original carriage was found by a previous landlord in a barn attached to the building. It is thought that the owner of the carriage, a lady, was held up by a highwayman, over three hundred years ago, and due to the trauma and angst caused she deemed the carriage unlucky so it was locked away for many years before being discovered and restored to sit in the car park.
It is not known what happened to the original carriage but it is alleged that it was ruined by Cirencester’s Royal Agricultural College students, who regularly took (parts of) the carriage back to dorms after a wild night out. However, the more likely rumour is that it was hit by a truck travelling late at night down the main road – A417.
Arkell’s Brewery Chairman, James Arkell, then had the historic carriage rebuilt from scratch over 30 years ago, by local building apprentices from Edmont Ltd. This one took pride of place on the plinth in the car park until Storm Eunice blew the carriage off its wheels and flipped it over in the dreadful winds earlier this year.
Ian and Tina Blake took over the roadside pub in 2018 and inherited the carriage as part of their tenancy. Nick Bickley, a talented carpenter and builder, Ian’s brother-in-law, offered to remake the carriage and so the third incarnation is now in place.
“It really is wonderful to see it back in place,” said Arkell’s Managing Director George Arkell.
“Ian and Tina have done a wonderful job as custodians of The Highwayman Pub, and Ian’s brother-in-law rebuilding the famous carriage is fantastic. There is so much history behind all of our pubs, however at The Highwayman you can feel the history just walking through the door.”