History & Information


Hodnet is a small, pleasant village situated between the towns of Market Drayton, Telford, Newport and Whitchurch. Formerly a market town mentioned in the Domesday Book as Odenett, the name derives from the ancient Welsh phrase for 'pleasant valley', hawdd meaning pleasant and nant meaning valley.

During the construction of the Hodnet by-pass in 2002 an early bronze age burial site was found close to Espley Farm with at least 17 cremation pits being identified, whilst it has been suggested that the mound on which St. Luke's Church is built may be the site of a pre-historic fort.  There are 52 listed buildings in the parish of Hodnet.  St Lukes Church and Hodnet Hall are considered exceptional architectural interest and are therefore considered Grade I.  The rest are classified under Grade II, being of special interest.

The Bear

The Bear at Hodnet is said to date back at least 500 years and is said to still contain the passages used to hide the monks as they came from the church. These tunnels, ending in what is now called 

the bear pit, may also have been used to transport ale underground in order to avoid tax levied on ale transported over land. Todays modern bear pit was created by an enterprising publican in the 1970's and contained two young bears until common sense allowed their release. It is believed, however, that during the 16th century the Inn may have had its own bear pit in what is now the car park. The owner allegedly kept the bears in a pit below the bar. It is said that that regulars fed the bears food and drink and some of the bears are said to have died from alcohol poisoning.  Apparently bears are infamous for their love of beer but cannot process it to quite the same effect as some of our regulars. The modern bear pit is now contained in an area known as 'Jaspers' named after the ghost of Jasper Neilsen, a Scandinavian merchant, who died of hypothermia in around 1590 after becoming intoxicated and having an argument with the landlord.

The Church

The church in Hodnet is the church of St Luke.  It is the only church in Shropshire to have an octagonal tower.  The window at the church has become famous with the story of the Holy Grail of King Arthur legends and brought to current public interest through the book and film "The Da Vinci Code". The sponsor of the window was Thomas Wright and from a story written by the ancestor of his wife, Robert Vernon- a knight of Hodnet, he created a modern day mystery of great interest.

Modern day historian 'Graham Philips', followed what he believed to be clues in the stain glass window of St Luke's church, to nearby Hawkstone Park, there he discovered a small stone vessel in one of the bases of a statue which was immediately taken to the British Museum.  No matter what you believe it definitely makes an interesting read.  Graham Philips Story.

Hodnet Hall

Before 1066, Hodnet was a royal manor of Edward the Confessor under the stewardship of Earl Roger de Montgomery who managed to retain the land by supporting William during the Norman Invasion. In around 1082,  Montgomery's lieutenant, Baldwin built a mote and bailey castle in what is now the gardens of Hodnet Hall and this may, again, have been placed upon earlier earthworks. A sandstone castle was then built around 1196, but was destroyed in 1264. Hodnet, itself, was the 'caput of the hundred', originally a Saxon meeting place and administrative centre for one hundred hides. A Saxon hide was an area large enough to support one family. To this day, the Hundred House stands at the top of the village, close to the church.

Hodnet Hall still sits as the seat of the Heber-Percy family, whose ancestors can be traced directly back to the Baldwins via the families of the de Hodenets, Ludlow, Vernon, and Heber's to the current family of Heber-Percy. Hodnet is, therefore, one of only a handful of English estates which have passed in unbroken succession from the time of the Norman Conquest to the present day.



Further Information

Description of Hodnet in 1870-2, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales


New Owners

The bar has a good choice of local real ales, a new wine list reveals sensibly priced and eclectic wines with many available by the glass.
My eyes were drawn to a top shelf above the till with possibly the best selection of Cognacs, Armagnac and Calvados in Shropshire!!
We have eaten there a couple of times now, for a starter you must try the Charcuterie sharing platter, served on a wooden palette brimming with quality meats, even smoked pigeon and home made piccalilli, balsamic pickles and pate, humous & grilled artichokes and more

- osojolly
The Bear at Hodnet, Unpretentious gastro pub

Opening Hrs

  • Mon 4-9pm,Tues 4-10p/ Wed,Thurs 12-10pm/Fri - Sat 12-11pm/Sun 12-9pm
  • Food Wed-Sat 12-2.30pm/6-9pm, Sun 12-3pm Closed Mon/Tues


The Bear at Hodnet
Market Drayton
Shropshire, TF9 3NH.