About The Fleece Inn

About the Fleece Inn

About the Fleece Inn

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The Fleece Inn is a pub steeped in history, originally built in the early 15th century by a farmer named Byrd, the pub remained in the ownership of the same family until 1977. The last of the descendants was Miss Lola Taplin, a formidable character remembered by many of the locals, Lola bequeathed the pub to the National Trust when she died in 1977.

It remains largely unchanged, although it now serves delicious pub grub and most famously pays homage to the locally grown vegetable Asparagus during May and June. During the winter months traditional English favourites feature largely on the menu such as Sausage and Mash or locally made Faggots.  When the summer months roll around the seasonally changed menu features popular choices such as traditional Ploughmans and the legendary Fleece Inn burger.

With its roots in rural England the Fleece Inn celebrates all things traditionally English at any opportunity. During the year the pub hosts various annual festivals the most famous of which is the British Asparagus Festival Day at the end of May. Thousands visit the grounds of the National Trust property situated in the centre of the village of Bretforton to sample some of the local produce and enjoy family entertainment and traditional rural activities. During October the annual Apple and Ale festival takes place sporting over 40 real ales and ciders to sample.

Each Thursday evening is Folk night for the locals in the Pewter room and the Mediaeval Barn situated in the courtyard of the grounds is often graced by some of the most well regarded Folk and Acoustic artists of the modern day, from Breabach to Martin Simpson.

 

Having started life as a farmhouse, the Fleece has seen its share of animal residents, including chickens, goats, cats and dogs, even a cockatoo! Our present pets are Orlando, the elderly pub cat, and Tafarn, the slightly more boisterous puppy!

Dogs are welcomed at the Fleece, there are dog treats behind the bar, water bowls available and we even have two types of Dog Beer!

Read #pubdog Tafarns blog

Dog Friendly Cotswolds

The Book

In 2015 “A Workingman’s Castle”, A history of The Fleece Inn by Christopher Mowbray was published. Available at the bar, via our online shop, local shops and Tourist Information Centres, and Amazon.

Written and researched by local journalist and author, Chris Mowbray, with the help and guidance of The Fleece’s landlord, Nigel Smith, the book outlines how the building and its contents represent a unique time capsule which mirrors centuries of rural working class life.

‘A Workingman’s Castle’, unveils the full story of The Fleece Inn and tells how a humble dwelling built as a temporary peasant farmhouse around 1425, eventually became a national treasure attracting visitors from all over the world.

The Book
History

History

The Fleece Inn is without equal in England and has played an enormous part in six centuries of Cotswold history. It was originally built as a longhouse in the time of Chaucer by a farmer named Byrd and remained in the ownership of a single family for virtually the whole time. It has remained largely undisturbed in its architecture since the mid 17th century.

A pub steeped in history like the Fleece has many stories to tell. The building was already 71 years old when the Lancastrians marched by on their way to final defeat in the Wars of the Roses at the Battle of Tewksbury, and it was 200 years old when the Gunpowder Plotters rode past on their ill-fated attempt to blow up Parliament.

But it’s the people who make a pub and its last private owner, Miss Lola Taplin, whose character is most stamped on The Fleece (or ‘The Ark’ as is was known to the local folk). A direct descendent of the man who built the inn, she lived in it for all her 77 years until she passed away in 1977 in front of the fire in the snug. Lola bequeathed the inn to The National Trust making it the first pub in the country to be owned by the charity.

Lola Taplin is fondly remembered in the Fleece and local folklore has it that she still watches over the pub and its people in the incarnation of an owl that sits on the ridge of the thatched barn.

Tragically the Fleece itself nearly passed into history at midday on 27th February 2004, when a spark from a chimney set fire to its thatch and aged timbers. Precious antiques were rescued by the locals while fire fighters tackled the blaze to save the inn from total destruction.

A massive renovation programme followed, the first since the 17th century. The Fleece was carefully restored to retain its integrity and traditional features; the atmosphere and architecture have also remained unchanged. The Pewter collection that has been on open display for over 300 years has been restored and the witch circles repainted, in accordance with local tradition, to prevent witches from entering down the chimneys.

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