The Duke of York is an eighteenth century brick house which conceals an earlier sixteenth century interior. The Duke of York was once the headquarters of the United Friendly Society. In 1832 the treasurer William Hale was found guilty of stealing £39 from the society’s funds and was transported to Australia for life.
In 1960 a forgotten cellar was discovered which was full of old beer and marble topped lemonade bottles.
The Duke of York closed down in 1999. In September 2005 the old pub was converted into the offices of the accountancy firm Waugh Haines & Rigby and £170,000 was spent on the project. Thankfully the new owners were very careful to retain as many original period features connected with the Duke of York as possible. The etched windows bearing the name ‘Duke of York’ have been restored and still grace the outside of the building. Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson officially opened the offices of Waugh Haines & Rigby in March 2006.
The pub sign is now hanging on the wall in the main corridor and a large mirror from the pub is now in the conference room. The wooden interior beams that had been covered over when the pub was in business have now been revealed in their full glory.
From ‘Tewkesbury Pubs’ by B.R. Linnell (1972, second edition 1996)
As with all the other pubs in town the interior has been altered out of all recognition in the past twenty years. There is now one large room served by a bar occupying the passageway that once connected the street to the beer garden. The latter is now reached via the doorway that used to be the entrance to the back bar. For a very long time a central bar served both front and back rooms with no direct access between the two. The façade is much as it has been for the past two hundred years, painted Georgian brick. The frame of the house is c.1600, there being no proof that it has been a pub for as long as that. The name derives from “The Grand Old Duke of York”. In 1899 the spelling was ‘Yorke’, perhaps in deference to the Yorkes of Forthampton.
Many tenants stayed for twenty years or more, proof of a steady trade. In the 19th century it was headquarters for the United Friendly Society, until the secretary, William Hale, took off with the £39 funds. He was caught and sent to Australia for life.
The cellars are prone to flooding at times. During one cleaning up session a second cellar was discovered, littered with bottles from an earlier age. Treasure trove indeed.
The ‘Duke’ has always been a lively place, noted at times for singing, darts and fielding its own football team. In the years after renovation it was noted for the numbers of attractive, unaccompanied young women who gathered there. This may mean something or nothing. They have to go somewhere.
Map Reference: SO 894327
Owner in 1891: Annie Elizabeth Insall
Rateable value in 1891: £26.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Flowers & Sons, Brewers, Stratford on Avon
Rateable value in 1903: £52.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Duke of York include:
1774-1777 Thomas Hazle
1777-1781 Richard Roberts
1781-1793 Sarah Roberts (widow)
1793-1794 William Moore Jnr.
1794-1795 William Cooper
1795-1797 Robert Townley
1797-1810 Joseph Hignell
1810,1841 Thomas Hignell
1830 John Gaddes
1841-1845 Thomas Brown
1845 John Rawlings
1852-1853 Brothwell Dixon
1853-1864 William Andrews
1864-1866 Mary Ann Andrews (widow)
1870 Philip Hovey
1876-1891 Richard Edward Insall
1891 Annie Elizabeth Insall
1897 J. Robbins
1899-1907 Ralph James
1907-1933 Herbert Simmons
1933-1934 George Pendell
1934-1940 Mrs Sarah J. Pendell (widow)
1940 Charles Devereux
1953 Charles H. Williams
1953-1979 Nicholas Burke
1979-1982 John Newton
1982-1985 Ian Morgan
1986 Paul Maylott
1992 T.G. Vernon
1995 Mrs. Maycock