The Bear Hotel is in a lovely position looking across Rodborough Common and the valley to Woodchester. The two-gabled part at the back of the building dates from the 17th century and suggests there was an inn here before the Bear is first recorded in 1751. The rest was built in 1925, by the local partnership of Falconer, Baker & Campbell, who converted it into an hotel suitable for the age of motoring, with a purpose-built garage block.
In front of the old inn were drinking pools for cattle which gave their name to the adjacent Bear Pools cafe and garage. Until 1815, the turnpike road from Stroud to Cirencester lay along the summit of Rodborough Hill, and the principal local carriers used the Bear as their base. Goods were brought up from the town and the local mills to warehouses at the Bear by packhorse and donkey and then transported to their destination in wagons.
One of the best-known firms was Tanner & Baylis, whose head office was at 'The Road House', now called Bownham Grange. This firm was established before 1711 by Samuel Tanner, and only ceased trading with the opening of the railways in the 1840s. A.K. Baylis, a partner in the 19th century, lived at Butterow.
In the late 18th century, the Bear was also frequented by the local gentry who held political meetings here. They also ran an archery club - the Robin Hood Society of Archers - on the adjacent common.