James Owen was the owner of the Bell Inn in 1891 and 1903 when it was licensed as an ale house, free of brewery tie, with an annual rateable value of £11.10s.0d. Closing time was at 10 pm.
Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): A pleasant find along this busy tourist road the Bell is capable of providing a more than average lunch with good traditional ale. Comfy with button seats and modern furniture, beams, a Welsh dresser and those old, oft times seen pub prints of elegant gentlemen in hunting gear drinking ale out of mugs in front of a roaring fire. There wasn’t one, roaring or otherwise, in the Lounge but it wasn’t missed from the point of view of temperature although its decorous value must not be underestimated by landlords. The menu was interesting with lots of personal remarks of the “this curry is not for the faint hearted” variety. There were also “Naughty Cakes” and “Happy Ending” desserts. And where else could a tired traveller tuck into a plate of snails? Welsh ale and Davenport’s were among the brews and there was wine by the bottle and glass. The public bar had a fire (a gas ‘coal’ one) but the room was dominated by a silly poo; table. Why? An amiable landlord keeps everything flowing smoothly. In sunnier days there are rustic seats outside where one can watch the traffic.
In the mid 1990’s time was called at the Bell Inn and the premises was converted to a specialist restaurant – the Fish & Game.
In December 1999 an application was submitted to Forest of Dean District Council to ‘change of use from licensed restaurant and bar to residential at Mill Stone House (Fish & Game)’. In February 2002 another application was submitted to the Brewster Sessions at Forest of Dean Magistrates Court in Coleford for the granting of a Justices’ Licence permitting the sale of intoxicating liquor of all descriptions either on or off the premises at Millstone House. Thankfully the Bell Inn reopened as a fully licensed pub.
An ‘eating out’ review in the ‘Forester’ newspaper in December 2012 was complimentary about the menu in the Bell stating that the food served from the kitchen had to be locally sourced, home-made and cooked fresh every time. In summary the reviewer remarked that the ‘Bell Inn at Redbrook has everything going for it. It is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty overlooking the River Wye. Overall the food at the Bell Inn was good although it was not presented in a fine dining style, but this was not ‘pub grub’ either. This was superb food served in comfortable surroundings.’
A follow up review in April 2014 was also positive. Steve Watson wrote ‘The Bell is a proper pub, with an exceptionally cosy bar – my favourite area – a wooden-framed conservatory, which I still think should be knocked through to the bar, and a restaurant area. The Bell is a strange combination. Food just makes up part of what it offers, with rooms, live music and brilliant one-off dining events. It is certainly one of the most inventive places to eat in the area. With a head chef cooking to a high standard and an excellent landlord looking after the bar, it’s a fantastic combination.’
In 2014 the Bell Inn won the Forester newspaper ‘Pub of the Year’ in their annual business awards.
Landlords at the Bell Inn include:
1885,1891 James Beard
1902,1903 Mrs Ann Beard
1906,1919 Thomas R. Parry
1927 Thomas O’Connell
2002 David and Jill Heydon
2006 Nick Till and Arthur Haines
2011 Ben and Lizzy Condrad