Our Story

In our formative years, we both drank at The Bell and being so local, we were incredibly sad to see its gradual decline.

One spring morning in 2014 we saw The Bell was on the market again. After a few romantic discussions, a good look at our capabilities, and a giant leap of faith, we took our first tentative steps to buying The Bell.

We both love good food, but more especially a shared experience and we see the pub, The Bell, as a wonderful opportunity to combine both passions. Growing up in rural Norfolk has given both us a strong sense of community – engaging with our neighbours and generally watching out for each other.

Our shared vision was, and is, one of past glories. As genuine ‘locals’, we passionately believe the inhabitants of Brisley and the surrounding area needs and deserves a great place to congregate, eat, drink and chat – an experience that was on most people’s doorsteps not more than a few decades ago.

This celebrated pub from a bygone age is in a beautiful, central location, it has the hallmarks of a traditional English country inn and its brand is still well cherished for miles around. We believe The Brisley Bell (as it is affectionately known) restored to it former self, and hopefully improved upon, has all the qualities to become a Proper Pub once again.

Marcus & Amelia


History of the Brisley Bell


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).


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.


Ada Gricks was born upstairs at The Bell!


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.


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.


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?”


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.


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.


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.


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


February 11th. The newly-refurbished Brisley Bell throws open its doors to the public!


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

Back to Top