Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Black Bear Inn

History of the Black Bear Inn

Market Passage was formed in 1848 from the yard of the Black Bear Inn.

According to Nelson (Early Cambridge Drama), no [drama] performances apart from two of 1557 and certainly no performances before royalty are capable of being documented for the Falcon, and no performances at all before modern times for the only surviving Cambridge galleries inn, the Eagle. The two performances at the Falcon are nevertheless twice as many as can be documented for three other Cambridge inns: the Saracen’s Head (3/1/1557), … the Elephant (27.2.1596); and the Bear (28.5.1600). We know, however that professional players visited Cambridge with some regularity into the 1590s, though their place of performance is scarcely ever recorded.

Orlando Gibbons

1600: keeper was Mary Gibbons, widow of William, head of Cambridge waits from 1567 to 1576, and again from 1590 to his death in 1595. Mary seems to have retained legal control of the waits until her death in 1603. (She was the mother of Orlando Gibbons, who may well have grown up at the Bear, and probably lived there during his student days if he did not live within the walls of King’s College; he would have been about 17 in 1600).


Do you have any information about the people or places in this article? If so, then please let us know using the Contact page or by emailing