Page Updated:- Monday, 31 July, 2023.


Earliest 1781-

Bell Inn

Open 2020+

1-2 High Street


01843 826391

Bell garden 1900

Above postcard circa 1900, showing the garden area. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bell Inn 1904

Above postcard, circa 1904, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bell Inn gardens 1906

Above postcard, circa 1906, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bell Inn, Minster

Above postcard circa 1910.

Bell Inn, Minster

Above photograph, date unknown.

Bell 1919

Above postcard, circa 1919, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bell 1923

Above postcard, 1923, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Charabanc outside Bell Inn

Above photo showing a charabanc run by Benjamin Redbourne and Sons, outside the "Bell Inn," date unknown.

Bell Inn charabanc 1926

Above photo circa 1926, kindly supplied by Rory kehoe. In what looks like a Thorneycroft Silver Queen charabanc, a happy party of day trippers on an excursion.

Minster map 1905

Above map 1905, kindly identified by Rory Kehoe.

Bell 1934

Above postcard circa 1934. Kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bell 1947

Above photo outside what we think is the Bell, circa 1947.

Bell 1969

Above postcard, circa 1969, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bell Inn

Above picture taken by Paul Skelton, 4 July, 2012.

Bell Inn

Above picture taken by Paul Skelton, 4 July, 2012.  

Bell wall sign 1988

Above photo 1988, kindly sent by Michael Mirams.

Bell Inn

Above picture taken by Paul Skelton, 4 July, 2012.

Bell Inn signBell sign 1990

Sign left taken by Paul Skelton, 4 July, 2012.

Bell sign right August 1990 with thanks from Brian Curtis

Bell sign 2020

Above sign 2020.

Bell cardBell card

Above card from Whitbread Inn Signs number 7. 1973.

Bell 2019

Above photograph, March 2019, kindly taken and sent by Rory Kehoe.


A one time outlet for Rigden's beers.

In 1934 their telephone number was 15.


The pub is a long low building of antiquity, and stands opposite the graveyard of St Mary's Church, which is a magnificent structure that has been described as the Cathedral of the Marshes. But the inn sign (1985) depicts a swinging bell in a frame, on the green in front of the nearby Minster Abbey, which is again in the hands of Benedictine nuns after a gap of a thousand years. The Bell was a popular venue for horsebrake outings from Ramsgate and Birchington, and there is still a faded advertisement on the pub wall informing visitors about the Tea Gardens'.


Kentish Gazette 9 May 1781.

Notice of a meeting, with a meal, of the Minster Militia Society at The Bell.


Kentish Gazette, 2 January 1849.



On Wednesday afternoon an inquest was held before Mr. T. T. Delasaux, at the "Bell," Minster, on the body of Stephen Chandler, who had met with his death by being run over by the 9-40 p.m. train which left Ramsgate on Monday for Deal, and consisted of only the engine and three carriages.

Charles Flavell of Deal, and fireman on the railway, deposed that he left Ramsgate with the train in question, and on reaching the crossing at Minster station, felt the engine pass over something; which he supposed was the deceased, as on alighting he found his body lying between the down rail quite dead. There was a fracture at the back part of his head, and his left foot was smashed and nearly severed from the leg. The train having arrived at the up-platform, the carriages were unhooked, turned on the down line, and then crossed on to the up line; the engine having passed over the deceased when the train was going on the down line, but after it had been detached from the carnages. Deceased had no right to be where his body was found. Witness had previously told Wm. Joy, an errand boy, to prevent persons crossing the line. He (witness) did not notice any lights at the station.

Peter Harvey, station master at Minster, stated that on the arrival of this tram at the station, there were no lights, they having been extinguished by the wind, though they had not been so long. He believed the deceased was a passenger, as near the body a ticket was found, which was such as he ought to have had supposing him to have come from Ramsgate. Had he alighted on the wrong side, he would have been found where he was.

Further evidence was taken, which went to show that either he might have alighted on the wrong side, or after alighting attempted to cross the line while the carriages were in motion; and as regarded the lights bring oat, there appeared no ground for attaching blame to the railway attendants.

Verdict— "Accidental death."


Kentish Gazette, 23 January 1849.

MARRIAGE Friend - Premble.

Jan. 1, at Minster, Thanet, Mr. E. Friend, jun. of the "Bell Inn," son of Mr. Edward Friend, for 35 years the generally respected landlord of the same house, to Miss A. Pemble, daughter of the late Mr. Edward Pemble, of Little Bucket, Waltham.


Kentish Gazette, 17 January 1854.

Mr. Edward Friend, landlord of the "Bell Inn," Minster, appeared on summons at the instance of the Isle of Thanet Board of Guardians to show cause why he did not maintain his father, who is now chargeable to the parish, he being considered able to to do.

Defendant pleaded inability.

Mr. France, one of the overseers of the parish, said:— I am instructed by the Board of Guardians to apply for the amount expended by the parish to maintain defendants father, mother, brother, and sister, who are receiving outdoor relief from the parish, which defendant refused to pay. The bill was produced to the Bench, when the magistrates enquired why that bill was presented, the son being only amenable to maintain his father, and Mr. Friend was permitted to allow cause why he did not do so. Mr. Friend here produced a book and a paper showing the profits of his business did not amount to 42 per annum, which was barely sufficient to support himself and wife, and to find firing, and what was necessary to carry on the business.

The magistrates told Mr. France that further evidence must be adduced to make defendant liable to maintain his father.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette, Saturday, 7 October, 1854.

The landlords of the "Bell," Minster, and "Honeysuckle," St. Lawrence, were cautioned by the Bench to be more particular in the management of their houses, and had their licenses granted.


South Eastern Gazette 20 January 1857.


A subscription is open at the "Bell Inn," for the widows and orphans of the crew of the Victory lugger, of Margate, and a daily addition is made to the list in small amounts. Mr. Edward Friend will be glad to receive the smallest amount in postage stamps or otherwise. The larger subscribers are contributing to the committee cards. All who can afford even a penny stamp will, we hope, contribute to such a truly Christian object.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 11 March 1876.

Eastry Feb 28th.

Mr. Edward Friend, formerly of the "Bell Inn," Minster, Thanet, in his 49th year.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 5 January 1901. Price 1d.


About seven o'clock on Thursday morning Robert Huckster, on going into the back way of the "Bell Inn," Minster, discovered a man lying full length, face downwards, in one corner of the yard. Life was extinct and the man, whose clothing was saturated by the rain, must have been lying dead in the open yard all the previous night. P.C. Butler and Dr. Arnold were fetched to the spot, and the Iattar gave it as his opinion that death probably took place about eight or ten hours previously. The deceased proved to be Charles William Leytor, aged 31, a single man, residing with his parents at 5, Eden Cottages, Minster, who was a painter. He was last seen alive at the "Bell Inn" about nine o'clock on Boxing night. Before going to the "Bell Inn" the deceased met his father and they had some refreshment together. At the "Bell Inn" he was seen by many of his chums who bear out the statement of the landlord that Leyton was perfectly sober, and that when he left the bar he said be was going straight home, and shook hands all round, wishing them “A happy and prosperous New Year.” Two or three of the friends of the deceased left by the front door, but Leyton walked out by the back way, this being a nearer cut home, and from that moment nothing was seen of him until his body was found in the yard. Whether deceased fell and struck his temple then, or whether he went away and returned again is not known, but it is clear that he mast have been lying dead in the yard, which is quite open to the public and well lighted, when the landlord, Mr. Tyler, closed the gates at 10 o'clock. Mr. Tyler saw nothing of the body because he would have no reason to go to the corner of the yard where it was found. There seems nothing to indicate the exact cause of death beyond a slight abrasion on the top of the head, but some light may be thrown on the and affair by the statement that Leyton was, some four or five years since, invalided out of the Navy with heart disease. Layton was a general favourite in the village, and among the members of the Minster Lodge of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows, to which he belonged.


Thanet Advertiser, Friday 22 May 1936.


Extensions until 11 p.m. on Whit-Saturday and 11:30 p.m. on Whit-Monday at the "Bell Inn," the "Freehold Inn," the "New Inn" and the "White Horse," Minster, and the "New Inn," Monkton, were granted by Ramsgate County magistrates on Tuesday.


Thanet Times, Tuesday 9 June, 1964.

Reg Allan, the "Bell," Minster.

Reg Allen 1964

Reg Allen took over as licensee of the "Bell" public house at Minster in March last year. He firmly asserts that this will not only be his first pub, but it will also be his last.

"I am completely satisfied with it. I think I have been more than lucky to get such a good pub at the first attempt," Reg declared.

He added that besides liking the pub and pub life so much, he also liked the village life at Minster and found the people more than sociable.

London-born Reg, married with a 13-year old son, worked for some time as a salesman London. In 1937, he joined the Royal Navy and served for 10 years before moving to Broadstairs to take over a boarding house for his parents.

The Answer.

"I want to change from the boarding house business," said Reg. "But I also wanted to stay in the service trade and a pub seem to be the answer.

Enthusing again about the new business he had stepped into, Reg said:- "I like the atmosphere of the pub life. To make it a happy pub, I think you have got to make the customers feel at home."

He added:- "It gives me a great deal of pleasure to see customers who are really enjoying themselves."


East Kent Times and Mail, Friday 26 January 1979.

Death of Popular Village Publican.

Reg Allen 1979

REG ALLEN, popular landlord of the "Bell Inn" at Minster, collapsed and died on Wednesday morning, aged 59.

He had not enjoyed the best of health for some time but was fully active as "Mine Host" right up to the time of his fatal collapse.

Reg and his wife Annie, who is recovering from a foot operation had been publicans at the "Bell" for 16 years. It was was their first pub and together they worked hard to build up the business success and reputation it enjoys today.

A personable extrovert who took a real pride to his pub Reg will be remembered with affection by his many Thanet friends in and out of the licensing trade.

He and Annie, who were married 35 years ago, had teen looking forward to taking their working life a little easier and devoting more time to their outside interests.

A golfing enthusiast, Reg was a member for 13 yean of the St Augustine's Club and thoroughly enjoyed his rounds on the links as well as the social gatherings.

His other big interest was Freemasonry and for 29 years Reg involved himself closely with its work. He belonged to the Kingsgate Lodge it Broadstairs.

A funeral service is being held at Minster Parish Church at 11.15 on Wednesday followed by cremation at Margate.

Reg is survived by his widow and a married son, Brian. The family request no flowers.


Information sent by John Bates in April 2018 says that the pub is of this time closed. Open again as of May 2019 but according to the following article is likely to close again.


From the Kent paper, by Katie Davis, 9 May 2019.

The Bell Inn in Minster to close following 'trolling campaign'.

A popular village pub is being forced to close its doors due to a "trolling campaign", its operator claims.

The Bell Inn in Minster reopened its doors last summer after being shut down for six months.

It was taken over by Cannon Leisure, who reinstated the pub with new landlords in July.

Bell 2019

The Bell Inn in Minster is to close.

But now - less than a year later - the establishment will once again be closing.

Pub operators Cannon Leisure have told Thanet Extra, KentOnline's sister paper, the decision has been taken following a "trolling campaign by the friends of a former employee", which has included a "large number of fake reviews" and a photo of the manager being requested for use on a Guy Fawkes figure on a bonfire.

A spokesman for Cannon Leisure said: "We are sad to announce that Cannon Leisure has decided to rescind funding for The Bell Inn Minster.

"Our vision at The Bell Inn was always to be inclusive of the village, keeping the pub as a village hub it one was.

"At the request of locals, we painted the building, worked hard on the menu and laid on popular events such as a free barbecue and charity functions.

"Unfortunately, the initial support shown by the local community was quickly halted following a trolling campaign by the friends of a former employee.

"Many untruths were said of the pub, such as a vision of turning it away from what it was. Rumours included everything from a fine dining restaurant to an adult entertainment venue."

The spokesman added: "A large number of fake reviews were posted across many media platforms. We even had negative reviews posted for dishes that had never been served at the establishment.

"At one stage we got asked for a picture of the new manager who had moved in with his young family, in order to put it on the Guy at the local bonfire.

"The same manager was negatively targeted on social media for enjoying a meal at another local establishment while trying to integrate with the local community.

"While negative reviews from those with affiliation to a former employee would not normally have such an effect on a business alone, in such a small community these became a major issue."

The company have apologised to staff and thanked them for their work.

"We feel sorry for and extremely grateful to the staff who have put so much work into this venture," the spokesman said. "We will continue to support them the best we are able.

"We remain grateful to those in the local community who continued to show support throughout and regret the decision we feel we have no choice but to make.

"Cannon Leisure is a fast growing business and too many of our efforts were being put into a business where the return was not forthcoming.

"We wish any new owners every success with the venue, whatever their plans are with the building."

Cannon Leisure say that a final closure date for The Bell Inn is "being negotiated".


Locals response:-

John Cronk wrote:-

What an absolute load of rubbish.

I'd been a regular at the bell for quite a few years when it was run by previous tenants and I absolutely loved it in there.

Canon leisure doesn't have a clue how to run a pub especially a country style pub.

They ruined the decor which in turn destroyed the atmosphere in the pub.

The landlord was warned that this would turn the locals away and is reaction was, *** the locals.

Is it any wonder the locals don't drink there?

It used to be a fantastic pub but canon leisure ruined it not the locals.

It actually disgusts me reading this article knowing what lies have been told just to cover their mismanagement.


Kinggibbon wrote:-

The reason in reality is why its closing is because Cannon leisure didn't have a clue how to run it!

It's not the fault of trolling or any other excuse they want to make up. The previous managers put in charge had a great concept on what to do and how they wanted it to be run...but low and behold Canon whatever leisure wanted it to be a hungry horse type venue. The locals obviously went with the current management and decided to split so to speak.

The problem is simple Canon Leisure just want money and quickly. They are from the the new generation of Range Rover, New build, Private plate types they want it now and don't have a clue. It's sad it really is as the new management weren't like that and just wanted best for the village.

This trolling lark is just an excuse for people who have come into money either old or new and have just abused it. Its wrong! No wonder entrepreneurs are finding it hard with people like this about. I'm not blaming brexit that's old news and boring all I'm saying is these guys should have given the new management a chance instead of playing the big high and mighty...bottom line is nobody missed out but Cannon leisure.

Well done! Clap clap! Another failure for the portfolio. The guys that were involved in running the Bell and were extracted... keep it up it'll come.

Like some say if you feel the need to slander to the press, god bless its a dead end, but hey you got your likes on social networking.


From a Facebook page, 7 June 2019.

We are happy to announce that as of 22nd July, we will be running a sister pub, the "Bell Inn," Minster.

We have been here for 12 years and built the pub into a wonderful local family pub, who supports local charities, and have decided that we want another pub and area to have the same experience.

We are not leaving the "Racing Greyhound," we will simply be using our staff, and experience to bring another pub back to life.

Keith & Debbie



BROWNING Edward dec'd to June/1808 (aged 60 at death)

FRIEND Edward 1814-47+ (age 58 in 1841Census) Bagshaw's Directory 1847

FRIEND Edward jun 1851-58+ (age 23 in 1851Census)

HARRISON John 1861+ (age 29 in 1861Census)

MAYBANK Thomas 1867+

WILLSHIRE George 1871-74+ (age 33 in 1871Census)

FILMER John 1881-82+ (age 38 in 1881Census)

HAYWARD John 1890+ (late Filmer)

HAYWARD Rose Ann 1891+

TYLER George Abraham 1899-1903+ (age 47 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1899Kelly's 1903

BULLOCK Samuel 1907+

HOPTON William Thomas 1911-13+ (age 40 in 1911Census)

ROBINS Fraser Edward Upton 1918+

MILES Archibald 1922-34+ Kelly's 1934

COOK George H 1936-38+

ALLEN John & CHASE Robert Edward 1939+

CHASE M E 1951+

CHASE M E Mrs 1953-57+

ALLEN Reginald Mar/1963-Jan/79 dec'd

MATTHEWS Brian R 1979-94

YOUNG Ian 1994+


???? Brian

Closed for short time.

???? Ken & Fiona 2017+

???? Keith & Debbie June/2019+


Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Kelly's 1899From the Kelly's Directory 1899

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Kelly's 1934From the Kelly's Directory 1934



If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-