This imposing market place hotel is thought to date back to the 15th century when it used to be a Monk’s chanting house. During renovation work a secret tunnel was discovered from the hotel to the 500 year old St Mary’s Church. Another part of the Bull Hotel is thought to have been a 16th century hall for a merchant or trade guild.
The first record of the building being used as a hotel is found in the Torrington diaries of 1745 which reveal that the Honourable John Byng, a notoriously critical judge, visited the Bull and awarded it the rare distinction of ‘good’. By 1792, due to is situation on the London to Gloucester turnpike road, the hotel was famous as a posting house with stabling for 30 horses.
The Bull Hotel has been tied to Arkell’s Kingsdown Brewery, Swindon, for many years. However, the 1891 licensing records show that it was once leased to the small Brimscombe Brewery in the Stroud Valleys, and the lease had passed to the Cirencester Brewery by 1903.
In October 1998 the local paper the ‘Standard’ reported: ‘B-52 crews live it up in Fairford – The Americans are in Fairford and business is booming. As the world waits for Serbia’s reaction to the threat of airstrikes, the US bomber pilots who have flown into RAF Fairford are living it up on the town. The Bull Hotel in Fairford market place has been packed with Americans every night since they arrived in six huge B-52 bombers on Sunday.’
From her will of 1637 – Ann Betterton (widow of Christopher Betterton) mother of Alexander, who lived at the Bull. (GDR/1675/18)
“I do give unto my Son Alexander Betterton the house I now live in commonly called & known by the name of the Bull Inn in Fairford, now in his possession together with all the stables outhouses gardens orchards & all other appurtenances thereunto belonging granted by lease from Sir Robert Tracey Knight bearing date one Thousand Six Hundred Thirty & Seven to have and to hold & enjoy the said Inn and all other the appurtenances before mentioned unto him the said Alexander Betterton for & during the term of Ninety & Nine years in case he the said Alexander shall happen to live so long”
Map Reference: SP 151010
Owner in 1891: Trustees of J.R.R. Barker (leased Charles Smith & Sons, Brimscombe Brewery)
Rateable Value in 1891: £48.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Trustees of J.R.R. Barker (leased Cirencester Brewery)
Rateable Value in 1903: £48.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Bull Hotel include:
1745 recorded as an hotel
1856 J.N. Ferris
1885,1891 Francis Chard.
1903,1906,1927 Frank R. Busby (also the landlord of the Swan Hotel, Bibury)
1992, 2007 Judy and Mark Dudley (former Zambian rugby player)