The Bell Inn, on the eastern side of Church Street, was located between the Kings Head and St. Ethelbert’s Church. The earliest reference to the Bell Inn is in 1779.
An inventory was made up in 1898 of ‘the fixtures and fittings in the four bedrooms, middle tap room, shop, front tap room, parlour, bar, cellar and garden’ of the Bell Inn. The entire value was £111.1s.6d. The stock and contents were also valued at £165.16s.6d., which included ‘barrels and bottles of beer and cider, mineral waters and half a bottle of port.’ If these figures are correct, the stock was valued more than the actual property!
The Forest Brewery in Mitcheldean owned and supplied their beer to the Bell Inn. Francis Wintle, proprietor of the brewery, owned the pub in 1891 and 1903. The Bell, an alehouse, had an annual rateable value of £21.10s.0d. and closed each night at 10 pm. There are no references after 1927 suggesting that the Bell Inn had closed soon afterwards.
Heather Hurley in her book ‘Pubs of the Royal Forest of Dean’ (Logaston Press 2004) suggests that the property now known as the Old Victoria Inn was once the Bell Inn. However, there is a Bell House a little further down the hill towards St Ethelbert’s Church. Bell House was put on the market with an asking price of £379,000 in January 2012. The estate agent’s ‘blurb’ described Bell House as a beautifully presented period family home lovingly restored. ‘Internally the house maintains many original features including Inglenook fireplace, flagstone floors and original floor-boards’. An original bread oven located in the attached workshop / studio. The accommodation consists of sitting room, dining room, kitchen / breakfast room, snug, hall, utility room, three double bedrooms (one en-suite) and a spacious family bathroom. The south-facing garden, to the rear of the property overlooks open fields. A notable feature is a vaulted cellar beneath the kitchen which extends to the front of the building and is accessed from steps at the rear.
Landlords at the Bell Inn include:
1837 Frances Hughes
1856 John Dalby
1859 Frederick Roe
1876 Timothy Trigg
1885 Thomas Bamford
1891 Thomas Dee
1902,1903 Arthur William Eaton
1906 Phineas Bradley
1919 Hubert Charles Hancocks
1927 Sidney John Leighton