The following was mostly transcribed from an old handwritten notice hanging in the bar:

The sign of the bear is an old one in Bisley. In 1639 the Bear Inn was a house on the opposite side of the road, the property of the Feoffees, and the present building was then the Court House and Assembly Room for Bisley. From old local records it appears that the Court House became the Bear Inn in 1766 and it is recorded that “the Court of John Stephen’s  was to be holden at the house of the widow Driver, known by the sign of the Bear Inn in Bisley”. The same place of meeting appears to have continued until 1838. In 1812 the Bear was in the possession of John Hampstead, one of Nelson’s captains.

The present inn, with its picturesque façade and overhanging portico supported by late Jacobean pillars, gives a false impression of its age. Behind the façade, the building is of the Tudor period as are the rock hewn cellars with a well said to be over fifty feet deep. (It is rumoured that a secret passage existed from the cellars to either Over Court or the church). Most of the windows are Tudor or Jacobean pattern made of the local mullioned pattern. Others are Georgian sash windows which were in vogue circa 1780. In the bar is a very fine seventeenth century fire place with inglenook and grate of the Queen Anne period complete with its original ironwork and jack.

Under the shingled roof, supported by axe hewn rafters, is a large attic room containing a curious relic – a huge oak pulley wheel. This was possibly used for turning the roasting jack in the fireplace below.

The companies title goes back to an old document dated1639. A copy of this deed is exhibited in the bar and copies of it have been presented to the Gloucester City Library.

WPbisle

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