B. Linnell in his book ‘Public Houses of Tewkesbury Borough’ (1971) gave his own recollections of the Masons Arms. He said: “By the year 1956 the Masons Arms was an anachronism, a left over from the age of Victoria and Edward. In the course of ten years up until the end of its days as a public house I never saw the other bar – a ‘bar parlour’ – nor shared the public bar with more than one other customer. Silence was the rule of the house. The only sounds inside were the striking of a match or a muttered ‘Ow is yer father?’ The décor was black and brown. The pictures, of ancient hunting scenes were also brown. So were the tables and benches. I can’t remember the publican ever saying anything. Older customers spoke of the other bar, last opened on the day of the Coronation in 1937. Yet it was always not so. Some say that in the younger days of the last licensee some high old times were to be had and the bar overflowed with regulars. But that was before the chill wind of economic change had made itself felt.”
The Masons Arms closed in 1956. The British Legion converted the old pub into their club later the same year.
Bayliss & Merrell, the lessees of the Masons Arms in 1891 and 1903, were located between the Old Black Bear Inn and St. Johns Bridge on the site of the present day pub garden. Although primarily ‘importers and dealers of foreign wines and spirits’, they also brewed a small quantity of ‘home-brewed ale’ on the premises. Their beers were available at the Masons Arms.
Map Reference: SO 891325
Owner in 1891: Charles William Moore (leased Bayliss & Merrell)
Rateable value in 1891: £13.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Owner in 1903: The Abbey Schools (leased Bayliss & Merrell)
Rateable value in 1903: £20.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse (beer and cider licence)
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Masons Arms include:
1796 Bartholomew Sweet
1830 Sarah Sweet
1838 John Sweet
1856 S. Turner
1869-1897 George Turner
1897-1903 James Preston
1903-1924 George Hovey
1924-1930 Daniel Harvey
1930-1956 Gilbert C. Harvey