Berkeley Arms, 8 Church Street

by Andrew Stuart
Taken in 1984
Taken in 1984Click Image
 to Expand

Probably one of the most well known and well liked pubs in Tewkesbury (website, it has a low key atmosphere good for conversations. Speciality food are very good pies. There are two drinking rooms next to Ancill's Court (alley) leading to an ancient barn, part of the property and now a restaurant setting area (since 1993). The rear room has an impressive window inserting itself into the floor above.

Bryan Linnell records that in 1872 this was number 7 Church Street, such are the re-numberings that have occurred. The Berkeley Arms (pronounced Bark-ley like the bank)  is Grade II* listed.

Number 8 Church street (the pub) dates from 1467 it is timber framed with vertical studding over three storeys. Two floor overhangs with two no. 4 light windows with oval moulded mullions and leaded frames. Moulded bressumer. On 1st floor across full width of front is a 14 light mullioned window with moulded course above and below.

Number 9 next door right (the shop) has a huge surprise revealed in March 2021 when the results of the denchrochonology project were published. Although the front of the building is recent (or 19c) and the gabelled roof extension is an addition, the internal box frame timbers and roof have been dated to 1339 making it the oldest dated building in town - including any timbers from the Abbey - by a hundred years. Quite remarkable.

The ground floor projects with tiled roof and a good late 18th century shop bay windows (all glazing bars replaced c.1984) canted on shaped brackets and with glazing bars forming octagonel pattern. Between them is an entrance with fanlight. 16th century rear wing with 1st floor overhang in Ancill's Court. Inside there are moulded ceiling beams and side posts of late 15th to early 16th century.

Includes an adjoining rear wing, a medieval or later barn or hall, timber frame with brick nogging, end bay of two storeys, end crucks and 2 bays with queen post trusses. Stone corbels set into side walls.

The cellar walls still contain some very old stone, thought to be 11th Century or older. There is evidence to suggest an ancient stone spiral staircase existed. Another 'Stairs to No Where' dates back to the time of this ancient stonework and a now lost part of the building.

Pub History

Postcard c1930 by W.C.Call
Postcard c1930 by W.C.CallClick Image
 to Expand

Formerly known as "Dr. Dee's"; it may have been the "Queen's Arms" of 1842 whose licencee Samuel Pearse was bankrupted in 1843 after having borrowed £2,000 on the pub;  main trade was meat via slaughtering of pigs raised on Perry Hill until 1930s; stop-over for Cyclists' Touring Club; housekeeper from 1916 to 1963 was Annie Malone from Ireland. Popularity revived after 1969 and landlady Ruby Jones' funeral filled the Abbey and closed pubs.

This photo taken from a set of pictures entitled "Business Men of Tewkesbury" appeared in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic, Saturday, July 12, 1930. Number 5 is captioned "Mr. F. Dee, of Berkerley Arms, an old fashioned licensed restaurant".

In the 1980's an old sealed up back room was opened, the floor was covered in a deep layer of old 19th century books. These may relate to a clearing of cupboards and discovery in 1896 of various deeds, wills and other documents relating to the 'Queen's Arms' and a former town inn called the 'Quart Pot' (pulled down in 1837). [From their website]

Anthea Jones writes in the Bulletin (vol 3) that in 1540 one of the twenty-six properties leased by Monastery was the Great Hospice (an hotel rather than a hospital) called the Crown or the New Inn and was leased to John & Alice Pers for £3.  The lease obliged them to attend the Barton Court Baron [and] granted access to the Swilgate, perhaps placing the Inn in the Berkeley Arms. They had three children: John, Edward and Elizabeth.

Mr F Dee, 1930
Mr F Dee, 1930

From Linnell's Tewkesbury Pubs 1996 Edition we know the licencees :-

  • 1849 Hathaway 
  • 1869-93 Amos Webb 
  • 1893-1906 William Dee
  • 1906-33 Mary Ann Dee - widow (lost a son, Fred Dee in WW1)
  • 1933-63 Frank Dee 
  • 1963-64 Frederick Turner 
  • 1964-65 Paul Blaaser 
  • 1965-66 John Chandler
  • 1966-67 Herbert Birch
  • 1967-68 Kenneth Jones
  • 1968 Frederick Adamson
  • 1968-69 A Manager
  • 1969-75 Philip Jones
  • 1975-92 Ruby Jones
  • 1992- ? Peter And Elizabeth Thorn
  • 20?? to now - Laurence Mills

Poor Rate information

The Berkeley Arms in 1910
The Berkeley Arms in 1910

1793 Poor Rate [No.7]  John Warner  House  Rent: £6 Rate: 6s0d and stock: 3s0d

1793: IN ALLEY

  • Tenant not parish late Benstead  Rent: £1 rate: 1s0d
  • William Oliver  house  Rent: £1. Rate: 1s0d
  • Thomas Smith  house Rent: £1. rate: 1s0d

1803 Poor Rate [part of No 7]  Joseph Wood  Part of a house  Rent: £410s0d. Rate: 4s6d

1803 Poor Rate [part of No 7]  Thomas Lilly  part of a house  Rent: £60s0d. Rate: 6s0d and Stock  6d

1803 IN ALLEY:

  • Thomas Lilley[sic]  tenement  Rent: £10s0d. Rate: 1s6d
  • Ann Pendry   tenement  Rent: £10s0d. Rate: 1s6d [excused]
  • William Warner   tenement  Rent: £10s0d. Rate: 1s6d [excused]

1836: Owner: John Ancill; Occupier: John Snelus 

1847: Owner: Jos. Griffiths; Occupier: John Snelus

Transcriber Notes: Wendy Snarey: March 2013
Description and Details fields are transcribed from Bryan Linnell's notes
Further Details are items from other sources

Berkeley Arms also in 1910
Berkeley Arms also in 1910
The Berkerly in 1920 with Bassets next door
The Berkerly in 1920 with Bassets next door

Census Data 1841-1891

7? Church Street
1851 Ref- HO107/1974
John Willis; Head; Married; Male; 33; Baker & Mealman Employing 1 Boy; Born Winchcombe Glos.
Sarah Willis; Wife; Married; Female; 37; Born Walworth Surrey.
John Willis; Son; Male; 2; Born Tewkesbury Glos.
Mary A. Nicholls; Son; Single; Male; 16; General Servant; Born Tewkesbury Glos.
7 Church Street
1871 Ref- RG10/2679
Amos Webb; Head; Married; Male; 50; Provision Dealer; Born Kemerton Glos.
Mary Webb; Wife; Married; Female; 52; Shopkeepers Wife; Born Tewkesbury Glos.
George Wakefield; Boarder; Male; 7; Scholar; Born Tewkesbury Glos.
Mary Ann Morris; Boarder; Female; 10; Scholar; Born Ashchurch Glos.
Eliza Cull; Servant; Single; Female; 32; Domestic Servant; Born Tewkesbury Glos.
  • Lodgers Listed As Schedule 008
7 Church Street
1871 Ref- RG10/2679
John Jones; Lodger; Single; Male; 20; Tailor; Born Crickhowell Brecon.
William Birt; Lodger; Married; Male; 43; Labourer; Born Horsley
  • See Schedule 007
7 Church Street: Berkeley Arms
1881 Ref-RG11/ 2578 1-E
Amos Webb; Head; Married; Male; 60; Refreshment House Keeper; Born Kemerton Glos.
Mary Webb; Wife; Married; Female; 61; Housekeeper; Born Tewkesbury Glos.
Mary Ann Wakefield; Granddaughter; Single; Female; 19; Waitress; Born Tewkesbury Glos.
Alice Richards; Servant; Single; Female; 15; Servant Domestic; Born Cheltenham Glos.
Thomas Hart; Lodger; Single; Male; 49; Labourer; Born Ripple Worcs.
7 Church Street ( Berkley Arms )
1891 Ref-RG12/2049 336-1A
habitation count: 5+
Amos Webb; Head; Married; Male; 70; Beerhouse Keeper;b. Kemerton Glos(sic); Working On Own Account.
Mary Webb; Wife; Married; Female; 72; No Trade Listed;b. Tewkesbury Glos; Employed.
William H. Dee; Boarder; Married; Male; 28; Butcher;b. Twyning Glos; Employed.
M. A. Dee; Boarder; Married; Female; 28; Waitress;b. Tewkesbury Glos; Employed.
Annie Dee; Boarder; Single; Female; 2;b. Tewkesbury Glos.
Frank Dee; Boarder; Single; Male; 2months;b. Tewkesbury Glos.
George Cotton; Boarder; Single; Male; 67; Farm Labourer;b. Castleton(sic) Cassington? Oxon; Employed.
  • 31/1/1895: Berkeley Arms; Amos Webb died aged 73
Number of records found: 5

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