The Bear being a famous market inn frequented by many of the chief farmers in the district, including the leading Cotswold ram dealers such as the Garnes, the Lanes, the Hewers and the Bartons, and the like’ 24 Dyer Street. It was purchased by the Cirencester Brewery on 13th April 1920.
Gloucestershire CAMRA: Real Ale in Gloucestershire (1996): Bear – Dyer Street: Tourist trap pub with pavement-café type area where you can sit and watch the world go by, now with gas burners so it can be used even in winter evenings. The Mole’s is reasonably priced. Deafening public bar dominated by pool table. Congested lounge. Mole’s Tap sometimes replaced by Mole’s Brew 97. Beers: Courage Best, John Smith’s Bitter, Marston’s Pedigree, Mole’s Tap Bitter.
Gloucestershire Echo: November 30th 1996 – Landlord lost temper: A pub landlord pushed and swore at a nightclub doorman after a drunken night out, Cirencester magistrates were told. Brian Christopher Ingham, 31, pleaded guilty to causing a breach of the peace. Ingham, who runs the town’s Bear Inn, lost his temper after a row with a doorman at Cirencester’s Rock café on March 20th. Mr Peter Davies, defending, said a 14-hour shift at the Bear Inn, followed by drinking had affected his client. He said Ingham pushed the doorman in self defence after the man thrust his chest out at him. The case was adjourned until December 17th for pre-sentence reports.
Wilts & Glos Standard: February 19th 1998 – In good hands: The Bear at Dyer Street, Cirencester, is under new management. It’s the first pub Mike Pugh and Serena McBride have run, but they have both been in the business for over six years. They moved to Cirencester from Bradford-on-Avon with their two children, Max (10) and Jacob (7) in January. Mr Pugh said: “We want to create a nice friendly atmosphere, where everyone feels welcome. We want customers to come in and not feel threatened. We plan to get all the sports teams up and running again, including darts, pool and crib.” Ms McBride added: “We want to get the community spirit back in here. We want customers to enjoy themselves and have fun in the pub.” The couple will hold weekly Karaoke competitions, show Sky Sports on the big screen and have introduced a new food menu.
Wilts & Glos Standard: June 26th, 1998 – The Inn place to be: Lisheen will kick off a season of music nights at the Bear Inn in Cirencester on Sunday. This five-piece’s folky acoustic rock music has won them acclaim as one of the top young bands in the south-west. Dave Payne at The Bear is keen to promote live bands.
Wilts & Glos Standard: April 29th, 1999 – News Digest: The Bear Inn in Cirencester paid its own tribute to murdered television presenter this week. A message on a board outside the pub read: “Jill, May you rest in peace at your final holiday destination. Go and have a chat with Eric and Ernie – they’ll keep that smile on your face. Bye Bye poppet, from the Bear.” Manager Serena McBride said: “Everyone was stunned in the pub, it’s a real tragedy. I thought this might people smile.”
Wilts & Glos Standard: May 20th, 1999 – Pub will be refurbished: The Bear Inn in Cirencester’s Market Place is due to have a facelift. The plans, if approved by Cotswold District Council, include knocking the two bars into one, and extending the building out to bring the toilets inside. The pool table and TV screens are due to go as part of the refurbishment and the carpet will be replaced by flagstone floors and floorboards. Landlord Mike Pugh said: “The pub will be kept as traditional as possible with many of the original features. The removal of the pool table could change the clientele, but it could also attract new ones. The renovations will take about five weeks and the pub will be closed for up to four or five weeks.” The building is owned by Scottish & Newcastle and leased to Moles Brewery and the renovation, which is due to start late September or early October, is a joint venture.
Gloucestershire Echo: May 19th, 2000 – Drinker banned from pub: A 35-year-old father-of-three has been banned for a year from a Cirencester pub after trying to start a brawl. The man of Apsley Road, Cirencester, admitted a charge of being drunk and disorderly when he appeared before Cheltenham magistrates. Andrew Walters, prosecuting, told the court that drinkers looked on as the Defendant stripped off his shirt and argued with the licensee of the Bear pub in Dyer Street. The police were called and when the man was cautioned he replied. “who cares?” Burt, who was not represented in court, told stipendiary magistrate Brian Loosely: “He asked me to leave and I couldn’t even stand. I didn’t think I’d done anything out of order.” The court banned him from the Bear for 12 months, fined him £50 and ordered him to pay £40 costs.
February 2nd, 2001 – Pub break-in: Cash totalling £200 was stolen from two fruit machines in a raid on the Bear Inn in Dyer Street, Cirencester, on Saturday, police said. Thieves forced a window to gain entry between 1am and 7am.
Morning Advertiser: May 17th, 2001 – Charged: Three men have been charged with assault and violent disorder after an attack on a Gloucestershire licensee and his wife. The three, aged 24, 26 and 28, face charges of assault causing actual body harm, and violent disorder at the Bear pub in Cirencester at 10.50 pm on Sunday 22nd April. They have been bailed by police to appear before Cheltenham magistrates on 23rd May. A 24-year-old has also been charged with common assault.
Cirencester Pubs Through Time: Philip Griffiths (Amberley Publishing, 2013)
Like many old inns, the Bear used to brew its own beer. In 1878, R. Harding advertised home-brewed fine old mild, bitter ales and porter. Previously from 1847 the Bear had been in the hands of the Woodman family with a close connection with Stratton Brewery. In 1873, in an advertisement, “Ann Woodman respectfully announces that she supplies genuine family ales from 10d a gallon, and good harvest beer from 6d a gallon.” By 1882 William Basil Smith was licensee but with a change of emphasis from brewing alcoholic drink to manufacturing tonic beverages and aerated water.
With a prominent frontage at the bottom of the Market Place, the inn was a popular haunt for farmers and livestock dealers in the days when the twice-weekly market was held in the centre of town, before Earl Bathurst built a state-of-the-art Cattle Market in Tetbury Road, which opened in 1867. Leading Cotswold Ram breeders such as the Garnes, Lanes, Hewers and Bartons were regular customers at the sheep fairs, as were the local village carriers.
Gloucestershire Echo: November 16th 2017 – Food & Drink. Brewery buys eight pubs: Liberation Group the owners of Butcombe Brewery, has acquired eight pubs from brewers SA Brain. The pubs include the Smoking Dog in Malmesbury, Ostrich in Bristol and the Bear in Cirencester.
Owner in 1891: E. William Cripps (leased to the Cirencester Brewery)
Rateable Value in 1891: £40.0s.0d.
Type of license in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Cirencester United Charities (free from brewery tie)
Rateable Value in 1903: £56.0s.0d.
Type of license in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Owner in 1998: Scottish & Newcastle
Landlords at the Bear Inn include:
1820,1830 Elizabeth Harding (Bear Tavern)
1840 Geo. Spillman
1856 T. Woodman
1882 William Basil Smith
1885 Daniel Taylor
1871 Ann Woodman
1891,1903,1906 Samuel Trowbridge
1913 A.E. Sweeting
1919 Arthur Frank Gadfield
1927 Wilfred Joseph Minchin
? Harry Ashley (see photograph)
1996 Brian Christopher Ingham
1998,2000 Mike Pugh and Serena McBride
2005 Mark Hudson
2006 Sarah and Julie