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Gloucester > Fleece Hotel
Monks Retreat Bar
Picture source: Hania Franek
The Fleece Hotel was situated at 19 Westgate Street. The Fleece was once a
major inn which incorporated at 12th century stone undercroft. The building
grade-I listedand partly
and has been empty since 2002.
In 2019 it was badly damaged by fire.
Fleece Hotel was first opened in 1497 as one of the three major inns of
Gloucester to house pilgrims visiting the tomb of Edward II of England. The
12th century undercroft, known as the "Monk's Retreat" was originally part
of a merchant's house, and was incorporated into the structure. By 1455, it
was a property owned by Gloucester Abbey, and was developed into an inn by
the Abbey during the 16th century. It was first recorded as the Golden
Fleece Inn in 1673. The building was made part Grade I listed on 24 January
1952, with other parts of the building made Grade II listed on 15 December
After the building was left empty for around nine years, the hotel was
purchased by Gloucester City Council in 2011. The announcement was made
that year of a £350,000 restoration scheme, with the leader of the city
council, Paul James, saying "We want to restore it to bring it back into use
and we want to do that as quickly as possible." They subsequently
undertook waterproofing work in both the salt loft and the kitchen block,
with further repair works and partial demolition afterwards. Two years
later, plans were revealed for the building to be run as a backpacker's
hostel by the YMCA, and with the undercroft operated as a cafe/bar.
On 20 July 2017, There was an arson attack on the building which caused
extensive damage particularly to the roof which has made it unusable until
repair work is carried out.
On 17 September 2019, Gloucester City Council announced that the site would
be redeveloped into a boutique hotel in partnership with Dowdeswell Estates.
Grade I listed
now part of a hotel. C15 range above late C12 undercroft, the range altered
and extended in late C16, late C18 and in C19.The undercroft of stone rubble
with dressed stone details; the range above timber-framed with later brick
extensions rendered in part; slate roof.
Plan: a long C15 range above undercroft at right angles to the
street, with a short cross-gabled wing at the south end, on
the east side of a courtyard set back from Westgate Street and
entered through a carriageway below the west end of No.17
Westgate Street (not included) and from Bull Lane. C18
extensions to the west front of the range and extensive C19
additions at the south end of the range.
Exterior: the range of two storeys and attic, placed at right
angles to the street, is built above the earlier undercroft;
the north gable-end wall abuts the rear wall of No.17 Westgate
Street. Late C18 single-storey extension on ground floor to
front of range facing yard has a large, semicircular bow
window to left lit by a row of four curved sashes with glazing
bars (each 4x4 panes). Entrance doorway to undercroft to right
and entrance doorway to hotel lobby approached by flight of
steps. Further right a large C18 bay in extension with sashes
with glazing bars. The roof of the extension is a balcony with
a timber balustrade of square posts and stick balusters. Above
the extension the front of the gabled wing has exposed
timber-framing of square panels and diagonal braces.
Interior: within the range portions of timber-framing exposed
on both floors; late C19 staircase from entrance lobby to
first floor; large bar to right of lobby opens into C18
extension to front of range, a storey post to the former front
wall of the range, now within the bar, carries a curved brace
which may have supported the former first-floor front jetty.
The fireplace in the rear (east) wall of the bar has moulded
stone jambs of c1500 and a shallow ogee-arched head without
moulding, probably a replacement of the original.
The larger part of undercroft below the southern end of the
range has a segmental barrel vault in five bays defined by
transverse chamfered arches which spring from semicircular
wall piers with concave capitals and square abaci; in the rear
wall a doorway with a flat lintel and a segmental-arched
recess in each of two adjoining bays in the west wall at the
north end. The lateral walls of the vaulted undercroft incline
as though pushed outwards by the thrust of the vault.
Flagstone floor is raised above the original level. Above the
smaller northern part of the undercroft two timber bridging
beams, the northern beam with stopped chamfers. A brick walled
passage from the north-west corner of the undercroft leads to
a brick vaulted cellar below No.19A Westgate Street.
History: the undercroft, an exceptionally fine and early
surviving example of its type which bears comparison with
examples elsewhere in the country and in Northern Europe, is
the surviving part of a merchant's house in a property which
originally extended westward to Bull Lane, and recorded in the
St Peter's Abbey rental of 1455 as a great tenement that had
belonged to Benedict the Cordwainer in the reign of Henry III.
The property is believed to have been developed as an inn in
c1500 by the abbey, and is first recorded as the Golden Fleece
Inn in 1673. Considerable alterations and repairs were
recorded between 1772 and 1778.
Grade II listed
Inn, now two shops
(No.19A & No.21), restaurant (No.23), and detached part of the Fleece Hotel
on the floors above and in rear wing. C15 or C16, altered and extended to
south in C18 (No.23), altered in C19 and C20. Timber frame and brick; the
street front above the shops and restaurant rendered and boards applied in
imitation of timber-framing in early C20; tiled mansard roof.
Plan: a two-bay range facing street on the west side of the carriageway to
the hotel courtyard with wing to rear of range on the south side of the yard
facing main part of hotel: No.19 Westgate Street (qv). The rear wing, part
of the restaurant, extends across the backs of No.19A & No.21. No.23,
formerly a separate shop and dwelling, was rebuilt or heightened in the C19
and converted as part of hotel.
Exterior: front range of three storeys, cellars and attic. Shop-front to
No.19A of c1890 with a decorative upper zone of small panes in glazing bars
above plate glass windows, entrance doorway recessed to left flanked by
curved glass window return to front. shop-front to No.21 late C19 with
central recessed entry. Front of restaurant, (No.23) is late C20; the floors
above are recessed behind the adjoining fronts. Three-light casements with
glazing bars to both floors above No.19A; C18 sashes of similar size with
glazing bars to both floors above No.21, and C19 horned sashes, the lower
with two vertical glazing bars, to floors above No.23. A roof dormer with
casements above No.19 & No.23.
Interior: some exposed framing in the floors above No.19 & No.21, otherwise
C20 fittings and linings. Included for its C15/C16 origins, and as an
integral part of the group centred on the Fleece Hotel
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Picture source: Hania Franek