The Bear of Rodborough was constructed in the 17th century as a coaching inn. In 1921 the Bear was run by a Miss Edmunds whose father owned it and was a partner in Edmunds and Humpidge, Nurserymen of George Street, Stroud.  He was responsible for constructing the bowling green in the hotel gardens, which is now a croquet lawn. The original building changed beyond all recognition in 1925-1926 when the hotel was extensively enlarged by the new owner, Major H.N. Rowlatt. The architect was Mr Falconer of Stroud.

Gloucester Journal. September 1940: Stroud Police Court: Summoned for having displayed a light at the Bear Inn, Rodborough, [during blackout]. Mary Smith, the manageress was fined £2. P.C. Buckle said a light was showing from a passage and two windows.

The current reception area occupies the original archway entrance. This archway gave access to the central courtyard and the main hotel entrance. The archway has now been built in to accommodate the existing front doors. Above this entrance is a beam with an inscription reading: “Through this wide opening gate none come to early, none return too late.” This is thought to been carved by Eric Gill, famous for his type settings.

Immediately outside the front doors are two posts and gates. These were originally located within the archway and were used as cattle restrainers which prevented cattle roaming into the central courtyard. The large bell was used to summon the inn keeper and is located outside the original front door, to the right of the grandfather clock.


In April 1979 guests and staff at the Bear Hotel were evacuated twice in one week as two separate fires broke out in the building.

Unsuspecting guests staying at the Bear in October 1985 had the shock of their lives when two Tornado fighter bombers made a simulated attack on the hotel. The air strike was organised as an aerial tribute to the men of the heroic 31 Squadron whose members were gathered inside for their 70th anniversary year. The 31 Squadron, based in Bruggen in West Germany, were taking part in a NATO exercise in Wales and special permission was granted for the mock attack at the Bear of Rodborough. Nearly 100 men and their wives were staying at the hotel. One of the Tornado pilots, Flight Lt. Peter Thornton, used to earn pocket money at the Bear Hotel as a part-time potman during his school days.  The fly-past was dead on time.


Courtesy Gary Wilkins Photography

Courtesy Stroud Area Photographs

Map reference: SO 853027

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Reverend George Williams (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1891: £15.5s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Alfred Edmonds (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1903: £15.5s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 10pm

Owners in 1997,2022: Cotswold Inns and Hotels

Landlords / Managers of the Bear at Rodborough include:

1885,1906 Alfred Edmonds

1919 A. Edmonds & Co.

1921 Miss Edmunds

1924 Major H.N. Rowlatt

1998 Sally Jones (manageress)

1999 Chris Ashby (manager)

2004 Andrew Grahame-Dunn (manager)

2008 Ricardo Canestra

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