The Black Bear, Tewkesbury

Ye Olde Black Bear Tewkesbury
Black bear pub Tewkesbury

An old advert from 1999

This building, dating back from 1308, was also known as Ye Olde Black Bear Inn as well as the Black Bear Inn, is currently undergoing renovations at the time of writing this and should be reopening in 2023.

Said to be the oldest pub in Gloucestershire and the third oldest in the country, this building has seen many changes in its 700 plus history, so no surprise, it is also said to be very haunted. What was once the stables, was said to have been used as a hospital during the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.

There were a set of medieval horse shoes that were found during earlier renovation works. They were found in what was once the dining area. They were hung on the wall in that room but there were witnesses who stated that these horse shoes were flung off the wall by an invisible force and would fly halfway across the room! It has also been said that any landlord that has moved the horse shoes to another room, have not made a success of the pub.

There has been a Cavalier soldier seen towards the back of the building plus the sound of horses hooves, cantering outside the pub. There have also been sightings of a headless man, who is dragging chains behind him. It has been thought that this may have been a Lancastrian soldier who was executed further up from the Black Bear. 

A more sweeter sighting has been that of an old lady, all dressed in black, who would sit in the corner of the smallest room of the pub. By all accounts, she looked so solid that patrons of the pub would offer to buy her a drink but when returning to her, she had disappeared. 

In what was the front bar, there was a leather ceiling but before it had previously been renovated, there had been a small bar that experienced poltergeist activity. Glasses and bottles would just fly off the shelves and this would happen late into the night. When last orders were called, if a drinker was taking too long with drinking up, an unseen force would knock the half filled glasses from the drinkers hands. Maybe it was a previous landlord or landlady who wanted to quickly get rid of the stragglers so the current publican wouldn’t lose their licence?

I look forward to visiting the Black Bear pub once it’s reopened and maybe to bump into a ghost or two!