Parts of the hotel date back to the 15th century. Above the entrance to the Royal Hop Pole is a fine decorative ironwork feature which has a coat of arms on top. 

Image courtesy Paul Best
Image: Gloucestershire Echo

The 1919 Kellys directory of Gloucestershire describes it is a “family and commercial hotel. A.A. motor union quarters, dinner luncheon or tea parties catered for. Gardens, boating and fishing.” A booklet entitled ‘Gloucestershire Inns’, published in 1924 describes the Hop Pole – ‘which has a modernised front but which in parts reveals its antiquity, was immortalised by Charles Dickins, who mentions it on ‘Pickwick Papers’.

In Chapter 50 Dickens writes:

“At the Hop Pole in Tewkesbury they stopped to dine; upon which occasion there was more ale, with some more Maderira, and some Port besides, and here the case-bottle was replenished for the fourth time. Under the influence of these combined stimulants, Mr Pickwick and Mr Benjamin Allen fell fast asleep for thirty minutes, while Bob Sawyer and Mr Weller sang duets in the dickey.”

 A 1927 directory refers to the Hop Pole Royal and Riverside Hotel.

In the 1990’s a night porter working at the hotel went out into the old stable yard in the early hours of the morning to fill some coal buckets. He became aware of something standing next to him. The apparition resembled Charles II with long dark hair and was wearing a black coat. The porter said that the ghost stayed there for a few minutes and then walked away down an alley next to the hotel and disappeared. There are reputedly two other ghosts in the Royal Hop Pole. Several sightings have been recorded of a young lad in 16th century costume in the dining room. It is believed to be the ghost of a young boy who suffocated whilst trying to escape from the roundhead soldiers by hiding up the wide chimney. An apparition of a distressed young girl has been seen in the back wing of the hotel, and is believed to be the ghost of a young girl who was killed by the hotel chef in the 1930’s. He cut her throat with a kitchen knife and her body was found a few days later in the nearby River Swilgate

It closed in October 2006. JD Wetherspoon bought the hotel and invested more than £3 million in renovating the grade II listed building. As well as a pub the Royal Hop Pole has 29 bedrooms. The ‘new look’ Royal Hop Pole opened on Monday 12th May 2008.

During the renovations builders opened up a boarded up area of the hotel and were amazed to find a long lost medieval hall dating back to the 14th and 15th century. The oldest part has been dated at 1372. The discovery was significant as it made the Royal Hop Pole building considerably older than originally thought. Traces of decorative paintwork was also revealed.

Seven members of the Three Counties Paranormal Organisation spent four hours at the Royal Hop Pole just after it reopened hoping to record some ghostly activity in the reputedly haunted hotel. However spokesman Graham Atkinson said that there was little sign of ghostly activity. “Overall, this was the quietest investigation the group has carried out since its inception in 2005 and shows that a building does not always live up to its reputation.”

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Robert Robson (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1891: £36.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903:  Ind Coope & Co., Burton on Trent

Rateable value in 1903: £80.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Landlords / Proprietors at the Royal Hop Pole include:

1774-1784 Elizabeth Collett (widow)

1784-1790 William Washbourne

1790-1791 Mary Washbourne (widow)

1791-1797 William Skeavington

1797-1805 Thomas Page

1805-1808 James Dovey

1808-1817 Robert Holland

1817-1821 Thomas Arkell

1821-1822 James Walker

1822,1830 William Marks  (Pigots 1830 directory)

1830 Mary Talboys (Pigots 1830 directory)

1841-1845 George Draper

1845-1846 John Feilding

1846-1848 Charles Skey

1848 John Lane

1848 Thomas Weaver

1852-1865 Henry White

1865,1866 Eliza White (widow)

1876,1877 George Houghton

1877-1878 H.J. Clarke

1878-1879 Miss E. Bayliss

1879,1885 Mrs Annie Bateman

1889,1891 Robert Robson

1896-1899 William (Harry) Fouracre

1899-1907 Lister Martin

1908-1909 Edith Browne

1909-1910 Walter Alexander (bankrupt)

1910-1914 Walter Jones

1914-1923 Harry Charles

1923-1927 Mrs Edith Halsall

1927-1943 Charles Halsall

1943-1944 H.J. Veldcamp

1944-1946 Frederick Caunt

1946-1947 Kleber Monod

1947-1949 Annie Gibbs

1949-1950 Harry Shelly Steadman

1950-1952 Trina MacDonald

1952 Harry S. Steadman

1962-1968 Michael Griffin

1968-1972 Richard Milner

1972-1973 Anker

1973-1974 Judith Moore

1974 Derek Bailey

2003-2006 Lee and Hillary Alibone (owners)

2008 Linda and Stewart Coxshall (managers, Wetherspoons Lodges)

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