The half timbered triple gabled Bell Hotel is directly opposite the Gage Gates of Tewkesbury Abbey.  The date 1696 is inscribed over the front door of the hotel. Amongst other period features in the Bell are decorative wooden panels, which are thought to have once been pews in the Abbey. The wooden panelling is identical to those displayed in the town museum. The inn was originally known as the Angel and later became the Bell & Bowling Green Hotel (1830 Pigots Directory and 1891 & 1903 licensing books). The inn’s bowling green was once a great attraction. In 1886 it was reported that as many as 200 people and a military band congregated on the bowling green. Tewkesbury bowls club started at the Bell Hotel in 1928 before moving to their present home in Gander Lane in 1975. Surrounding the green was an old yew hedge, some fifteen feet high, which shielded the bowlers from the strong south westerly winds that often blew in from the Ham.  Sadly houses were built on the bowling green in 1984.

Note the hanging sign advertising Arnold Perrett & Co. Fine Ales.

The booklet ‘Gloucestershire Inns’, published in 1924, states that ‘The Bell is mentioned in ‘John Halifax, Gentleman’, as the residence of Abel Fletcher, the stiff necked tanner. The fine bowling green connected with the hotel is also mentioned in the same novel. The house is a charming example of the best Elizabethan Architecture.’

Gloucestershire Inns 1924.
Image: Gloucestershire Echo
Image: Gloucestershire Echo

The Bell Hotel [researched in 2008] is part of the Old English Pub Company (Greene King) and boasts 25 bedrooms all with private bathrooms.

The Bell Hotel is reputedly haunted by the ghost of an elderly gentleman in a top hat and coaching coat. He has been seen in the lounge bar sitting at a table awaiting service. When asked by the staff what he wants he mysteriously disappears. An old portrait once hung on the wall of the Bell Hotel depicting a gentleman with the same characteristics. However, since the painting has been removed the ghost of the old man has not made an appearance.

The Bell in 2013

The Bell Hotel had a lucky escape in 1921 when fire ripped through the roof but the building was saved. History nearly repeated itself in January 2008 when a fire burnt out of control in the pubs chimney. Newspapers had been set alight on top of the burning wooden logs. Smoke could be seen billowing out of the chimney into the night sky. The bar was damaged by smoke. Fire crews spent most of the evening dousing down the fire but, luckily, the building was mostly undamaged.

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Tewkesbury Brewery

Rateable value in 1891: £64.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Arnold Perrett & Co. Ltd., Wickwar Brewery

Rateable value in 1903: £100.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse / Full

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Owner in 2008: Greene King (Old English Inns)

Landlords at the Bell Hotel include:

1774-1797 John Founes

1793-1813 John Brown

1813-1820 Richard Blakeway

1820,1822 Bramwell Whitmore

1830 Edward Causon

1831 A.H. Bowers

1831-1852 George Gardner

1852 Jane Lane (widow)

1852-1854 John Dufour

1854,1856 Miss M.A. Clarke

1858 William Boulter

1858-1866 Benjamin Treeton

1866 Charlotte Firkins

1866-1879 Annie Bateman

1885,1889 Robert Robson

1889-1891 Annie and Ada Pope

1891-1898 Edward Watton

1898-1902 W.J. Evans

1902-1914 Harry Charles

1914-1919 John Thomas Platts

1919-1927 Albert Henry Bowers

1927-1937 Sidney Thomas Freeman

1937-1939 Robert Meyer

1939-1945 Reginald A. Gaze

1945-1948 Ronald Edward Rutland

1948 Bernard Lawson

1953 Robert Gray

1953 Dennis Cattan

1960-1968 Michael P. Gallagher

1968-1969 W. Locke

1969-1970 M. Ostler

1970 Thomas Robey

1992 Peter and Gill Hands

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