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The George Inn

One of the oldest buildings in the village is The George Inn situated at the crossroads of the main Bristol to Pill road with Church Road and Manor Road. Church House was an ecclesiastical property, recorded in 1719 as providing stabling and a venue for church ales. During the mid 1750s, churchwardens let it as a public house with rent being used for the church. Until the early 1830s buildings flanking the Inn provided poorhouse accommodation (without water) until the Miles family built new poor houses in Manor Lane. The property was sold in 1892 to the Miles Estate for £3,000 and in 1906 an agreement was made between Sir Henry Robert William Miles and the Somerset Public House Trust Company for the lease of The George Inn.

In the nineteenth century a building attached to The George was used by the landlord as a store warehouse. However, if there was an accidental death in the parish, for example farm or road accident or a drowning in the Abbots Pool, then the body was brought there until such time as the authorities gave permission for burial. There was also a slaughterhouse against the back wall and Reuben Hollyman and later William Arters, tenants of Leigh Bank and village butchers, ran a shop next door. By 1911 the tenant of Leigh Bank was Arters' son-in law, Edward Down, who eventually sold what is now the car park to George’s Brewery in the 1930s.

At the sale of the whole Abbots Leigh Estate in 1915 Lot 30 - The George Inn, then rented to Western Counties Public House Trust Company at a rental of £80 per annum - was auctioned at a reserve price of £2,000 and sold to George’s Breweries for £2,900.

The George has had a succession of landlords. The Bindons - Thomas and later his son George - managed the inn through the 1850s and 60s, Thomas Thomas was landlord in the 1870s (when also John Hilford lived in an apartment above). The Hardwicks, John and later son George, were landlords at the 1881, 1891, and 1901 Censuses. William Gardner was landlord from 1911 until 1919, followed by Edward Pillinger who had sold his farms to Melville Wills. George Ferris was manager from 1928 to 1937.

Just after the 1st World War the first bus service in Abbots Leigh ran several times a week from The George Inn to Pill Ferry. Villagers could then cross the river and catch a train from Shirehampton Station to Bristol. During the 1920s and 1930s afternoon teas served in the garden at The George were very popular. Many a family from Clifton would walk to Abbots Leigh, then after a stroll round the Pool on a sunny summer afternoon, would enjoy tea in The George's pleasant garden.

In the bar, the ceiling beams have several deep indentations. It is thought that when The George was built in the 18th century, timbers were brought up from Pill, where at that time there was a shipbreaker's yard, the beams having originally been part of spars from old sailing ships. When The George was altered in the 1970s the front door was moved to the centre of the building and an extra window added. Part of the original window consisted of the rare Bristol blue glass, but sadly this was flung into the skip and carted away, along with the rest of the rubbish and debris.