The Bear Hotel
The Market Place, Devizes
Built in 1599, the Bear is in a bold position at the top of the town above the old market place and Buttercross. At that time, it appears to have been called the Bear and Ragged Staff, a reference to the crest of the Earls of Warwick. The old coaching route from London ran nearby, with subject to the attentions of highwaymen and other outlaws. When that was re-routed through Devizes, the Bear became a hub of activity, with thirty coaches a day calling there. Following the Battle of Sedgemoor, both senior judges, Jeffreys and Col. Kirke lodged here. There is still a Judge’s Cupboard in the arched and ancient cellars, where their special wines were kept. Throughout, there is much in the way of wood panelling and open fires. On one hotel website, it maintained ‘No ghosts’. How little do they know? For many years, it was maintained it was haunted by Queen Charlotte who lodged here in 1817. Those who witnessed this apparition described her as wearing an off the shoulder dress with long lace cuffs and a wide skirt. When this description has been compared with portraits of that queen, it could almost be certain it is she.