Our Story

 

We built and renovated The Bell to be the kind of pub in which we would enjoy hanging out. That to us meant a proper large drinking bar, a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful surroundings and awesome food.

A pub where anyone and everyone is welcome whether they are eating, staying, or simply popping in for a drink. With bold, unpretentious, wholesome cooking using brilliant, seasonal ingredients and professional but approachable service from staff who love to eat or drink out as much as we do.

Since opening, our approach has won us many loyal friends. We’re proud to have been awarded Best Pub in Norfolk within 7 months of opening our doors.

This celebrated pub from a bygone age has the hallmarks of a traditional English country inn and its brand is still well cherished for miles around.

We believe The Brisley Bell now restored to it former self, (and hopefully improved upon), has all the qualities to maintain it’s proper pub status for many years to come.

Marcus & Amelia – February 2017

 

 

History of the Brisley Bell

1500

One of Brisley’s most famous inhabitants was reputedly born on the site of The Bell. His name was Richard Taverner, and he was known being one of the first pioneers of translating the Bible from Latin into English. He was later sent to the Tower of London by Henry VII for the ‘Taverner’s Bible’ which was the first Bible to printed in England (opposed to the continent).

1706

The Athow family lived in Brisley Hall and John Athow was said to be the innkeeper here at The Bell in 1706. It was also rumored that when prisoners were made to walk from King’s Lynn to Norwich for their trials, the gaolers might have stayed in the inn after dropping the criminals off at the crypt at the St Bartholomew church.

1900

Ada Gricks was born upstairs at The Bell!

1947

Not long after the war, the UK had its coldest winter in centuries. Country roads became especially hard to traverse there were multiple power outages. One man, George Nicholson, braved this weather in search of a thimble of brandy – in aid of his premature son. He came to The Bell. You can read more about this story here.

1970

With the era of Ada came the pubs very first bar. Up until this point, the pub had been a beer house and could not sell liquor as it did not have a full license. This all changed in 1966 thanks to Ada.

1990

in 1990 Ada & Henry sadly had to pass on the pub, Ada reluctantly retiring at 89, on account of Henry who had been struggling to walk up and down the narrow staircase. This was the end of a magnificent era, with many a sad farewell, to two very special Brisley inhabitants, both of whom will be remembered fondly for many years to come.

As the pages of history turned Brisley saw in a new chapter when The Bell was bought by Chris Carter and dually updated. It concentrated on the essentials: good ale and food (especially know for the quality of the Fish menu), preferring not to have the modern jukebox and fruit machines of other establishments. Looking after its locals proved to be a success, earning it a gold certificate in 1995 and an appearance on “You Rang, M’Lord?”

1993

Brisley was able to preserve it’s beautiful common (One of the largest grazing commons) when it was gifted to the Parish by Canon Dodson. This enabled the Cricket ground to live on, seeing many matches with more yet to come.

2000

After passing hands many times over the past years, The Bell began to lose its lustre. A variety of factors stacked up against The Bell such as the smoking ban, and higher rents, rates, and taxes. However, during this time, tourism in Norfolk flourished and new businesses began popping up everywhere. Brisley C.E.V.A primary school received an outstanding Ofsted report in 2004 and The Bell was greatly missed when it closed in 2013.

2015

Having bought the now derelict pub on 8th September, Marcus and Amelia held a Christmas party in December to meet the locals. Over two-hundred people came by for a mince pie and glass of mulled wine to show their love and support. It was a muddy but cheerful day and they were humbled by the amount of encouragement shown by the local community.

2016

The massive project begins in August 2016!

Special thanks are in order to everyone below, without them The Bell as Marcus & Amelia imagined it would not have been.

Anne Covell (Bawdeswell Garden Centre), Louis Clapburn, Patrick Cooper, David Daniels, Agnieszka Dolata, Jenn Fuller (Norfolk County Council), John Goldsmith, Roger Henry, Tomasz Kiezik, John Mann, Becky & Brendan Reynolds, Keith Ripley, Robert Southgate, Paul Toombs, Lindy Warmer (Breckland District Council)

3c Construction-Norfolk (Matt & all his team), David Taylor Framing, Perkins & Gibbs Upholsters, Felix Lighting, Foxcotte Fencing, Fransham Forge, Furthermore Marketing, Matthew Higham Antiques, James Hare Silks, Robert Welch, Margaret Sheridan Interiors, Made by the Forge, Norfolk Book Keeping & Office Support Solutions (NBOSS), Norfolk Decorative Antiques, Optimum Painting & Decorating Services, Peter Gidney Designs, Premier Electrical Heating and Plumbing

2017

February 11th. The newly-refurbished Brisley Bell throws open its doors to the public! Shortly after which, The Bell is presented with a Pub Is The Hub Community Award.

2017

September 2017 - The Bell wins the prestigious Norfolk Food and Drink Award 2017 for Best Pub.

2018

July 2018 - The Bell is a finalist in the Best Newcomer category for The Great British Pub Awards.

August 2018 - The Bell wins Norfolk Hero Food & Drink Awards (Best Food & Drink Venture).

Back to Top