Ghosts and Hauntings of Tewkesbury

The Hauntings of the Black Bear Inn

The Hauntings of The Black Bear Inn, Tewkesbury, a newspaper report from 1939.

Horses clattering down the street and into the lounge of a building which was once known as the Black Bear of Warwick. A man, dressed in an ancient riding habit with a flowing coat, appears in an upstairs bedroom of the old house. These are the sounds and sights which have interested and puzzled the Beck family, who now own the Black Bear Inn at Tewkesbury.

The house in itself has a remarkable record, writes a Citizen newspaper reporter who called there. The wide, low-roofed lounge provided a clue to the mysterious clatter horse hooves which were heard at night, for it was a stable from 1422 until 1920.  

In that room in those far-off days when visitors came by horse, stabling of horses for one day, at the cost Id. Now just the beams alone remain of the original stable. Perhaps these horses’ hooves, which have awakened the family on many nights, are those of the mounts of travellers. Perhaps they are animals returning to the stalls where they found comfort from the cruel winter journeys of olden days. Maybe they are ridden by knights, seeking refuge after the Battle of Tewkesbury—the days of Red Rose and White Rose, for it is known for a fact that many men came to the inn for attention to their wounds. Whatever the reason, the Becks are convinced that they hear these hooves passing when no one can be seen in the street outside.  

The building of the inn stood by King John's Bridge, the late years of the 12th century and from the early part the 14th century, men have congregated there for fellowship and good cheer. It has every right to an atmosphere. I asked Mr Jonn Beck, the son of the landlord. about the apparition of the upper room. ‘I have seen him three times' , he said, ‘at night and in the twilight of a summer sunset. ! saw him about three weeks before Christmas, and had previously determined to speak to him on the next occasion. I tried to ask him what he was doing, but the words wouldn’t come out. Every time I meet him. I am dumbfounded, yet always look forward to his appearance.’ He explained that the person he saw was a young man with fair hair and a long rifling cloak. He never saw him appear, but had a strange feeling that somebody was behind him. Turning, he saw the young man. who then disappeared. Each time he was standing in the doorway. never feel in the least frightened, or even worried. I want to see him again. The curious thing about it is,’' John added, that the ghost is not at all what you would expect. He is not transparent. There is no ghastly shining white about him. It is just as though the man were standing in daylight, even though I see him at night. doesn’t do anything. When I step forward instinctively, he disappears.’'  Has anyone else seen him?" 1 asked. Mr. Beck explained that no one else to his knowledge had seen the apparition, but many people had felt the strange sensation as though someone was watching them.  

One gallant military man, now residing in Cheltenham, was interested in the story and asked permission to stay in the room. went to Tewkesbury on successive weekends. One night was a wash-out" to all intents and purposes except that the Colonel had a very refreshing night’s rest. On the other occasion he had been asleep for some time in the bedroom, in which Mr. John Beck usually sleeps, when he awoke feeling that someone was standing near the bed watching him. His eyes were still closed and he tried to open them, but could not do so. Later he slept again. No explanation can be given as to who the young man might be. but I left the lounge convinced that it was not made up.”