The Old Bell Hotel is a 15th century former coaching inn. It is brick built with a large bell hung high above the entrance. A bell has hung in the same position for well over a hundred years. The Old Bell Hotel is home to least four resident ghosts. One of the rooms was once used as a local assize court where hapless defendants were sent to their fate on the gallows. It is said that two of the ghosts are the tortured souls of innocent men who were set to their death. The third ghost is of a chambermaid who hanged herself out of shame after being made present and deserted by a local lord. The fourth apparition is that of an old man locked up to die in a solitary room after contracting some infectious disease. The Old Bell is also reputed to have a secret tunnel leading to the church of St. James the Great on the opposite side of Long Street. In 1866 the Old Bell was sold at auction to George Ayliffe for the grand total of £815. It seems probable that he was renting the property before that. 1927 Kellys Directory refers to the Old Bell Family and Commercial Hotel. The Old Bell Hotel was acquired by Georges & Co., Bristol Brewery and the ownership then passed on to Courage’s Brewery.

Gloucester Journal. January 1788: To be let and entered upon, immediately, all that commodious and principal Inn, called the Old Bell, Dursley, aforesaid, lately occupied by Mr William Richards the younger. Enquire further of Mr William Plomer, or Mr William Vizard, both of Dursley, aforesaid.

Image courtesy Angela White

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Sarah Ann Ayliffe (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1891: £64.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: George Arthur Ayliffe (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1903: £88.10s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Landlords at the Old Bell include:

1856 Mrs E. Ayliffe

1885 George Ayliffe

1891 Sarah Ann Ayliffe

1903 George Arthur Ayliffe

1906,1927 George Ayliffe

1971 Mr and Mrs W.R. Lloyd

1997,2005  Stavros Antonio and Chambi Praki

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