The New Inn is a historic medieval pilgrims inn built by the Abbey. It was one of three ‘Great Inns’ built by the Abbey – the Fleece Inn in Westgate Street and the Ram Inn being the others. It was built between 1430 and 1450 to house visitors to Gloucester who had travelled to see the shrine of Edward II. It replaced an earlier inn that had fallen into disrepair. It remained under the ownership of the Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries in Henry VIII’s reign in 1539.
The New Inn consists of oak and chestnut timber framed buildings enclosing two courtyards with stairs leading to two tiers of galleries. Originally there was accommodation for 200 people consisting of some 40 bedrooms. It was once the largest hostelry in the country. There is an association with Lady Jane Grey who was proclaimed Queen of England and Ireland in 1553. The story goes that Lady Jane Grey was in residence at the New Inn when notice was given of the untimely death of Edward VI and the news of her ascension to the throne was announced from the gallery of the New Inn. However, there is some dispute whether or not she actually stayed at the New Inn. It seems likely that only the royal messenger was at the New Inn. Her time as monarch was short lived. Her reign only lasted nine days! Lady Jane Grey was sentenced to death in 1554 by Mary, her rival, who had also been proclaimed Queen. Lady Jane Grey was only 17 when she was beheaded.
It is said that there is a ghost in the New Inn, which is often presumed to be Lady Jane. (despite the fact she might have never actually visited the inn!).
In the sixteenth century the New Inn was a popular venue for strolling minstrels and travelling companies. It was used by the Queen’s players in 1559-60 and, given the geographical proximity to Stratford on Avon, it is highly likely that William Shakespeare performed at the New Inn. In 1858 the freehold of the New Inn was sold to the Berry family who ran it as a family business until 1942.
In 1954 it was sold to Berni Inns. It was a very popular eating and drinking venue in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. At one time there were thirteen separate bars and restaurants at the Berni New Inn Hotel. As each bar specialised in a different range of drinks it was possible to do a ‘pub crawl’ within one building! The glory days at the New Inn had come to an end by the 1980’s and 1990’s. The Berni Inn business was acquired by Grand Metropolitan (Watneys) and ownership of the New Inn then passed to Scottish and Newcastle.
Pub entrepreneur Michael Cannon bought the pub in the early 1990’s. In 1995 Michael Cannon’s Magic Pub Company shocked the planners at Gloucester City Council by decimating the interior of the ancient building. Without planning or advice from English Heritage 15 bedrooms were converted into office suites. Magic Pub Company attached plastic trunking for power cables and made unauthorised alternations on wattle and daub walls.
However in March 1998 the New Inn was purchased by the Chapman Group based in Worthing, Sussex, and the Mayor of Gloucester, Arthur Meredith, opened the New Inn again on Thursday 27th May 1999. Several hundred of thousand pounds were invested in the restoration of the New Inn using traditional building techniques, An Australian theme bar called the Owtback Bar, and an African-style Treetops bar were new features. The reopening of the inn coincided with the pedestrianisation of Northgate Street.
In August 1996 the 200 premises of the Magic Pub Company were bought by Greene King of Bury St Edmunds. CAMRA in Gloucester wrote to the Chairman of Greene King on 3rd July 1997 urging the brewery to “restore life into this magnificent building and to exploit its potential.” On 28th July a letter was received from the Chief Executive of Greene King Pub Company which said that CAMRA in Gloucester’s concerns had been passed to the Managing Director. A few days after receipt of the letter the New Inn was put on the market with a price tag of £450,000. It closed on 18th February 1998.
The New Inn Hotel has since reopened. In June 2022 it was announced that the New Inn Hotel had been put on the market for £1.1 million. (this page will be brought up to date)
Owners in 1995: Magic Pub Company
Owners in 1996: Greene King
This page will be updated with additional information.
Landlords / Proprietors of the New Inn Hotel include:
1830 John Hatch
1842,1859 Thomas Hyett (died at the New Inn on June 13th 1860)
1885 John Richard Knight
1893,1919 Herbert James Berry
1927 Herbert H. Berry
1999,2000 Nathan and Trudy Glassbrook
2000,2002 Paul and Janette Parkin