Above photo kindly sent and taken by John Fagg in the 1980s.
Above photo by kind permission of Dover Library, date unknown
although thought to be for the planting of trees in Queen Victoria's
Above photograph showing who I believe to be licensees Samuel Upton,
Apologies for quality of above photo. Taken from picture inside pub.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, Friday, 16
Sept, 1904. Price 1d.
An hour's extension was allowed to Mr. G. Drew, at the " Bell,"
Shepherdswell, on September 24th was granted, on the occasion of a
From the Dover Express and East Kent News, 19 February, 1915.
The licence of the "Bell," Shepherdswell was transferred from Mr. G.
Drew to Mr. W. Hopton, who is a miner working at Snowdown.
Objection was raised that the new licensee would continue at work,
and Mr. Edward Chitty said that he ought to give an undertaking not to
work during the evening. he thought that houses which would not support
a man entirely should be closed.
Mr. Hopton said that his brother would always be at home when he was
From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 24 June, 1938. Price 1½d.
The licence of the “Bell Inn,” Shepherdswell, was granted an
extension from 2.30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, 25th, for sports in aid of
From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 8 October, 1942.
Plans for alterations at "The Bell" Inn, Shepherdswell were approved
by the Bench.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 26 April, 1963.
Funeral of Mr. E. L. Copley.
Mineworker and Licensee.
Employed at Tilmanstone Colliery for thirty-one years, for over ten
years landlord of the "Walmer Castle," Market Square, and for the last
four years at the "Bell Inn," Shepherdswell, Mr. Ernest Leo Copley died
on Thursday last week aged 58 years.
In his younger days a keen local footballer, he was a Special
Constable during the war, and the founder of the Copley Rangers Skittles
The Rec. C. J. H. Martin, Vicar of Shepherdswell, conducted the
service at Barham Crematorium on Tuesday.
The family mourners were; Mrs. V. C. Copley (widow), Mr. and Mrs. C.
Copley (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. H. Copley (brother and
sister-in-law), Mrs. M. Webb (cousin), and Mr. John Cocking.
Floral tributes included those from the Directors of Fremlins, the
L.V.A., Copley Rangers, Dover Football Club and Supporters' Association,
friends at the "Bell," the O.A.P. Club, and Dover Skittles Association.
The arrangements were by E. Wooldridge, of Shepherdswell.
From the Dover Express and East Kent News. 7 June, 1963.
The new Fremlins Knock-Out Darts Cup was won for the first time by
the "Bell," Shepherdswell, on Thursday last week when they best the "Criterion"
by three straight legs in the final at the "Falcon"
Hotel. "Bell" team skipper Sammy Hall received the trophy from Mr. John
Coomber, Fremlins Area Manager, Holding the runners-up cup is Ron
Bishop, skipper of the "Criterion" team,
and Ken Brown, the competition secretary looks on.
Above picture by kind permission of Dover Library. 1987. People to date
From the East Kent Mercury, 8 December, 1988.
Couple, enjoying their first taste of pub trade.
Richard and Janet Toptalo, mine hosts at The Bell, Shepherdswell.
THE focal point of any village is its village green. The village green at
Shepherdswell is much admired. It is bounded by the parish church and The
Bell public house.
The Bell, with its fine flint exterior, dates from the early 1600s, while
the parish church was rebuilt as late as 1863. The Bell, a Whitbread house,
is one of more than 800 public houses in this country with the word Bell in
its name. Many of them are to be found - as at Shepherdswell - close to the
Mine hosts at The Bell are Richard and Janet Toptalo, who took over the
licence in August. It is their first incursion into the trade and they are
enjoying every minute of it.
Richard was at sea with Townsend Thoresen for 15 years, the last 10 as an
Since being at The Bell they have completely redecorated the interior of
the historic hostelry and installed a new heating system.
Richard and Janet told me: "Our regulars came up with the ideas for the
renovation. So the pub is very much just how they wanted it."
The Bell offers pool and darts and has its own social club which meets on
Friday nights. The club has its own outings, and is happy to help charity. It
raised £115 for the Children in Need appeal, and on Saturday, December 17, a
carol singing group will be out and about in the village to raise money for
the Wishing Well Appeal for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.
There will be a restaurant at The Bell early next year. This will be open
only for lunches and will specialise in grills, with Richard as chef. And
next summer there will be a spacious garden for the children.
The Bell, incidentally, is the meeting place of the local branch of the
Royal British Legion.
From the Dover Express, 11 March 1999, by Terry Sutton.
Help me track down the ghosts.
JENNY Bushell, landlady at The Bell, Inn at Shepherdswell, is busy
researching the history of the pub and the village.
And she has appealed
to Dover Express readers to help out with old photographs of the four
pubs that once existed in Shepherdswell.
Jenny, 43, who moved into The
Bell last August, believes the pub maybe haunted because some strange
things happen there. A gallows tree, she said, once stood outside the
She wants any old pictures of the village to copy.
She will then
hang them on the walls for visitors to study.
Jenny said the four pubs
once in the - village were
many remembered, but no one seemed to have a picture; The "Whitehall" that gained
national publicity as the home of a range of death masks;
The "Bricklayers Arms" (of which she has a picture dated around 1969) and
The Bell of which she has a 1920 photo.
"The village green outside our
pub, used to be a pond. We've not managed to discover any pictures of
that, although we have one of it dried up before it was planted with
trees for Queen Victoria's jubilee," said Jenny.
She said locals had
told her about two ghosts said to haunt the pub. One is supposed to be
the ghost of a young girl who seems to hang around the fireplace and
the other is of a young man.
"Strange things happen. Sometimes the dog
won't settle down and then starts barking like mad. But he is 17, years
"And our two cats race up and down the stairs. And pictures
mysteriously fall off the wall," said Jenny, who believes The Bell goes
back as a pub 300 years or more. Before that. she said, it was a house.
From the East Kent Murcury, 23 September, 1999.
TAVENERS GO TO BELL
The former licensees of the "Cliffe Tavern" at St Margaret's have
taken over the "Bell Inn" at Shepherdswell.
Calvin Stothart and Claire Hobson were granted a protection order by
the licensing justice on Friday.
Mr Stothart said he had 10 years experience in the licensing trade
and Miss Hobson had been involved in the hotel and catering trade in
They had run the "Cliffe Tavern" from February last year until July
From the Dover Mercury, 29 June 2006.
EMPTY SHELL: Fire ripped through 200-year-old building.
Villagers want pub restored after blaze.
VILLAGERS are hopeful that the Bell Inn at Shepherdswell, which has been
destroyed by fire, will be restored to its former glory.
The pub's four
walls are all that is left of the Grade II listed building after fire
broke out in the roof last Wednesday.
Some 40 firefighters from six fire
stations fought the blaze from about 10.30pm until 3.45am the following
Regular Keith Roberts was in the pub's back room playing cards
when the landlady, Bobbie Byrne, came in and told everyone to get out.
"Her daughter discovered the fire after she was woken by what she
thought was animals in the roof," he said. "Slates were already falling
from the roof and the fire took hold very quickly.
Two gerbils were the
only casualties." Mrs Byrne, her husband Roy, and their daughter were
given clothes by neighbours.
The family is thought to be living in a
house they own in Folkestone Road.
"It's very sad for the community,"
said Mr Roberts. "There's 1,783 adults and now only one small pub, which
"The Bell was like a community centre and the village
cricket team's meeting place."
Mr Roberts, a member of Shepherdswell and
Coldred History Group, said the 200-year-old building had been a pub for
about 150 years.
"The good news is that the walls are still standing and
we are confident a rebuild will be possible," he said, "but it will take
time to restore it to
its former glory."
A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "An
investigation into the cause of the fire is under way, but it's not
being treated as suspicious."
A spokesman from Punch Taverns, which owns
the Bell Inn, said: "The pub was trading when the fire was discovered
but fortunately everyone was safely evacuated with no injuries.
have secured the site and are awaiting the fire officer report before
knowing our options going forward.
"This is obviously a huge blow for the licensees, but thankfully they
live in separate accommodation and we will be sitting down together to
discuss the future."
From the Dover Express, 29 June 2006.
PUB DESTROYED: Fire starts in
roof before closing time.
FOUR walls are all that remain of The Bell Inn in Shepherdswell after a
fire broke out in Its roof just before last orders.
About 40 fire-fighters spent the night getting the blaze under control,
but everything was
destroyed by the fire, smoke and water.
Yet villagers are optimistic
that the historic pub in the heart of the community can be restored to its
A PAIR of pub owners saw their livelihood go up in smoke last week
as a blaze broke out in Shepherdswell.
The fire started at the Bell Inn pub in Church Hill at around 10.10pm
Customers got their first indication something was wrong when they
smelt what they believed to be burning rubber coming from outside.
Tony Dannunzio, 28, of Mill Lane, said: ''I'd only been in the pub
for about five minutes. I went to the machine to get some cigarettes.
"I smelt what seemed like tar burning as if someone was laying a new
road surface and when the landlady went out to check, the roof was on
A team from Dover fire station was called, and arrived around 20
Despite their best efforts, all that remained of the building's roof
was its chimney stacks.
Landlady Roberta Byrne, who took over the site with husband Roy in
2002, said customers had been safely evacuated, but her daughter's
gerbil had perished during the incident.
She said: "We are all in a fair amount of shock."
The family, who had been living at the pub, have moved to their house
in Folkestone Road, Dover while an investigation into the cause of the
It was believed to have started in the loft.
Andrea Crawford, 38, who worked as a bartender at the pub, said
residents were planning to put on a series of fundraising events to help
contribute to the cost of the repairs.
She said: "The pub will be deeply missed. It had such a nice
atmosphere for the young and the elderly. Everyone was made welcome."
From the Dover Express, 6 July 2006.
Pub fire facts.
I WOULD like to clarify some of facts in your recent article about a
fire in a pub in Shepherdswell.
The article was rather misleading as it
stated "A team from Dover fire station was called, and arrived 20
minutes later." This is incorrect. In addition, it reads: "The fire
started at the Bell Inn pub in Church Hill at around 10.10pm."
999 control centre operators received a call from a member of the public
at 10.26pm on June 21. Following this, three fire appliances from Aylesham, Eastry and Whitfield were sent, the first of which arrived at
the scene within 12 minutes. The crews quickly assessed the situation
and called for further assistance. Three appliances from Dover, Ashford
and St Margaret's were then sent to the scene and all arrived by
The damage to the building was substantial, but no one was
injured despite fire-fighters discovering a smoke alarm that was not
working. I would like to take this opportunity to remind people to test
their smoke alarms regularly.
Sadly, Kent Fire and Rescue Service has
received a number of calls from the public asking why it took so long
for our fire crews to arrive as a result of the misleading information
published in the Express. I hope this letter will clarify the facts.
Chief Executive of Kent Fire & Rescue.
Bell Inn, Shepherdswell after being rebuilt following the fire. Photo by Paul Skelton
Above shows an advert that appeared in the Dover Mercury 29 November 2007.
After being burnt down on Wednesday 21st June 2006, the Bell reopened on 12th
September 2007. Owned by Punch Taverns, this pub is a listed building.
On visiting the pub on 27 October 2007 the first thing I noticed on entering was
the still rather pungent smell of smokiness about the place, although not
unpleasant it was definitely evident that the fire had left its mark, however,
it was certainly not obvious from looking at the place that a fire of such huge
proportions had ever happened at this establishment.
From the Dover Express, 24 July 2008.
VILLAGERS SAY: WE LOVE LIVING HERE
The village boasts a busy parish council - which also covers
neighbouring Coldred - active cricket and football teams for youngsters
and adults and the East Kent Railway, which welcomes visitors aboard its
engines travelling the short distance from Shepherdswell to Eythorne at
The line was built in 1911 to run to the coal mines in east Kent, and
while the main line was shut down in 1987, a section was saved by the
East Kent Railway volunteers who have transformed the station and
created a charitable trust.
At the heart of the village is the green, where fetes are often held.
The green is overlooked by The "Bell Inn," which helps quench the thirst
of busy volunteers and visitors to summer fairs and sporting events.
Villagers are in the process of raising cash for a new hall on the
recreation ground to provide a youth centre and a base for the village’s
guiding and scouting groups.
Resident Keith Roberts, 42, said: “We have raised £20,000 so far, so
there’s just another £330,000 to go!”
Keith, who has lived in the village most of his life can trace his
Shepherdswell roots through several generations. He and his wife Chris
say the sense of community is the best part of living in the village.
Chris said "Keith was in a head-in crash on the Jubilee
Way in 2003. He was in hospital for 16 weeks and everyone pulled
together to help.
“I was never short of a lift and people always wanted to help.
“I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
Keith had to leave his job with Hoverspeed after the crash but now
enjoys spending time coaching village kids in cricket and football. He
is also a history buff and has researched the village’s past.
He said: “I love it here because my roots are here. I once came across
an article about my grandfather taking all the cricket players to
fixtures in his horse and cart. Now, I do the same thing in my car.”
Another enthusiastic Shepherdswell resident is Carol White.
The mum-of-two, 61, is originally from Cornwall, but ended up in
Shepherdswell in 1975 when her husband took up an insurance post.
Carol, who is a member of everything from Age Concern to the WI, and
even the scout group, said: “I have never felt like an outsider because
it is so friendly here.”
Among the groups she helps with is the Wednesday Club. The former secretarial worker
said: “We meet in the village hall. It started 11 years ago with about 15
members and now we have
“It was set up for men because there was not much for them to do but we have lots of
women, too, now.
“I started helping at the scouts when my son was there. I was asked to
help and it was the best thing I ever did.
From the Dover Mercury, Thursday 15 April, 2010.
PUB'S FUN RUN DAY RAISES £3,000 FOR HEROES FUND.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
at the charity run with Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate, John
Brigden, who supported the event.
A CHARITY fun run organised by The "Bell," Shepherdswell, is expected
to have raised more than £3,000 for Help for Heroes.
As well as sponsorship, the event raised money with a hog roast and a
man in the stocks.
A number of soldiers from the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal
Regiment gave up some of their leave to take part in the run.
The soldiers included Wayne Reed, a veteran of Afghanistan who,
despite being wounded, is returning to active duty.
DREW G 1901-Feb/15
HOPTON Mr W Feb/1915+
working at Snowdown.)
UPTON Samuel 1918-24+
UPTON Sarah to Feb/1929
WILLIAMS Thomas Feb/1929+
EARL F C 1932
HURLEY George F 1938-56+
COPLEY Ernest Leo 1959-63 dec'd
BARKER George 1974+
TOPTALO Richard & Janet Aug/1988+
BUSHELL Jenny August 1998+
STOTHART Calvin & HOBSON Claire Sept/1999+
WALKDEN Richard & Karen Aug/2001-Aug/02 (Pubmaster)
BYRNE Roy Aug/2002-07
LARFI Jack & Diane 2007-Jan/09
BESSANT Tony Apr/2009+
UK spirits owned the pub from between February 2009 and October 2009.
I have been informed in August 2013 that the pub is currently closed for
From the Post Office Directory 1901
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1924
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1932-33
From Pikes Dover Blue Book 1938-39
From the Kelly's Directory 1950
From the Kelly's Directory 1953
From the Kelly's Directory 1956
Library archives 1974
From the Dover Express