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.

Image courtesy Imez MacDonald
Nick serves a customer with a pint of Flowers Keg. Whitbread Tankard was also available.
Nick gives a lick of white pant to the front of the Duke of York
Beefeater (town crier) in front of the Duke
from L to R: Dorothy Lissie Webster, Mary Patricia Margaret Burke, Little Eileen, Eileen, Nick, Leigh Janine Webster, and Bradley Michael Webster  Taken about 1966
Sheila Philomena Burke pours a pint of Flowers Keg behind the bar of the Duke of York
The bar of the Duke of York.
Joseph Henderson Brown, ‘Little’ Eileen (with dog), Eileen and Nicolas Burke outside the Duke of York. The ‘Flowers’ name has been removed from the brewery sign.
Nick Burke behind the bar pulling a pint of Flowers Draught Bitter
Eileen Burke
In the parlour of the Duke. L-R Nicholas (Nick) Burke, Joseph Henderson Brown (Eileen Burke’s father), Eileen Burke and ‘little’ Eileen Burke.
Nick Burke. Note the Whitbread Tankard Keg font and the plastic barrel of traditional cider.
The Duke of York in Whitbread days. Note the Whitbread Tankard sign above the entrance. The Flowers Brewery sign has gone.

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

Licensing Details:

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

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