Page Updated:- Wednesday, 22 February, 2023.


Earliest 1545

Bell Inn

Open 2020+


01797 344355

Bell Inn circa 1890s

Above photo, circa 1890s from https://ivychurchhistory web.

Bell Inn 1914

Above photo, circa 1914 from https://ivychurchhistory web.

Bell Inn 1918

Above photo, circa 1918 from https://ivychurchhistory web.

Bell Inn 1920s

Above photo, circa 1920 from https://ivychurchhistory web.

Bell 1934

Above postcard, circa 1934, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bell Inn 1990

Above photo, August 1990 from https://ivychurchhistory web.

Bell Inn 1994

Photo taken 5 September 1994 showing the Bell Inn and St George's Church from by bitterman63.

Bell 2006

Above photo by John Law, 26 August 2006.

Bell Inn 2019

Above photo 2019.

Bell bar 2019

Above photo 2019.

Bell Inn sign 1985Bell sign 1991

Above sign left, May 1985, sign right, July 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Bell sign 2015

Above sign 2015.

With thanks from from Roger Pester


The building can be dated back to 1545 and has been serving ale and bread since this time. It is situated next to St. George's Church.

It is said that the owlers and smugglers would give a hostile welcome to strangers drinking there - not surprising considering the nearby church was blatantly used as a warehouse for contraband.


Passage below taken from their web site.

The "Bell Inn" was built in 1545 on the site of a much older medieval building, probably a hostelry. The origin of the sign of The "Bell" dates back to the 11th century when inns and taverns stood within the precincts of parish churches. How many bells a particular church held, determined the number given to the name of the inn. When The "Bell" was built, the Church of St George held only one bell. The original building was much smaller than now, being timber framed and thatched, and additions were made in the 18th, 19th & 20th centuries.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Romney Marsh, and particularly The "Bell," was something of a centre for smuggling. At that time, smugglers known locally as “owlers”, called The "Bell" “The Stained Glass Window”.

Smugglers ran in gangs of up to 200 men and church vaults and inn cellars were used extensively for hiding all sorts of contraband. In 1744, it was recorded that the Sexton of St. George's warned the Rector of Ivycurch “Bain't be no service s'morning parson, Westry be full wi' baccy and pulpit full o' brandy” - needless to say, there was no service that day!


Kentish Gazette 14 September 1787.


Some Time past, out of the Grounds of Mr. John Skinner, in the parish of Ivychurch, A Small Black Horn Heifer; a little White on her Rump; Horn-marked on each Horn, S.W.

Whoever will give Intelligence of the said Heifer, either to Mr. John Skinner at Lydd, or to Joseph Tolhurst or the "Bell" at Ivychurch, shall receive all reasonable Satisfaction.

Sept. 9, 1787.


Kentish Gazette 12 January 1819.


Jan 6, at the "Bells," Ivychurch, Mrs. Tolhurst, age 46 years.


Kentish Gazette, 19 March 1844.


March 14, at Ivychurch, on influenza, Charlotte, wife of Mr. Henry Springett, of the "Bell Inn," age 36, leaving eight children, the youngest not more than a month old.


Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette 23 March 1844.


March 14, at Ivychurch, Charlotte, wife of Mr. H. Springett, of the "Bell Inn," aged 36.


From the Dover Express, 17 December 2015.

Fantastic pubs for a festive pie and pint.

Bell Inn 2015

COSY AND TRADITIONAL: The Bell Inn, Ivychurch.

GONE are the days of sitting in a beer garden sipping on Pimms. At this time of year a real fire is much more important when choosing where to have a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie or two.


From the By Victoria Chessum, 8 February 2019.

Inside award-winning pub The Bell Inn which is now on the market for 545,000.

The current owners said it was a hard decision to step away from their duties after 12 years.

Bell 2019

The Bell Inn, Ivychurch, is up for sale (Image: Christie & Co).

A cosy country pub with a good reputation is up for sale as its long standing owners make plans to retire.

The Bell Inn, in Ashford Road, Ivychurch, Romney Marsh, has gone on the market for a freehold price of 545,000.

It comprises a restaurant, saloon bar, lounge area and a snug which has the space for 65 covers.

There is also four bedrooms for the owners on the first floor.

Owners of 12 years, Mark and Vanda Rolfe, are now looking to hand over the reigns as they step away from their publican commitments.

A statement from the couple said: "Sadly the time has come for us to call time at The Bell.

"We have enjoyed 12 fantastic years here making many new friends and forging links with the local community.

"However, we look forward to handing the business over to someone with the same passion and enthusiasm as we have had.

"A hard decision but retirement calls."

Bell inside 2019

The Bell Inn has a cosy pub feel (Image: Christie & Co).

The premises is being marketed for sale by Christie & Co, and it features outside dining, a sheltered beer garden and backs onto the village church yard.

Scooping past time awards, it has been given the CAMRA Pub of the Year gong in the Ashford, Folkestone & Romney Marsh on four occasions.

This was between 2010 and 2016.

Bell bar 2019

The pub has scooped awards in the past (Image: Christie & Co).

It serves home cooked food and real ales.

It scores four out of five stars on TripAdvisor and is ranked the best place in Ivychurch to eat.

James Hughes, senior business agent at Christie & Co’s Maidstone office, said: “The Bell Inn provides a fabulous opportunity to acquire a profitable, award winning village pub that has been under the same ownership for the past 12 years.

"It is ideally suited for either a hands-on owner operator looking to capitalise on the already strong trade or alternatively, a multiple operator looking to add a successful pub to their portfolio.”



SPRINGETT Henry 1841-51+ (age 43 in 1851Census)

FLISHER Edward 1861-82+ (age 64 in 1881Census) also farmer Kelly's 1882

FLISHER George J 1891+ Next pub licensee had (age 34 in 1891Census)

JELL Edward 1901+ (age 60 in 1901Census)

ELDRIDGE Henry Stephen 1903-13+ (also farmer age 41 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

ROLFE Mark & Vanda 2007-19



Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

Kelly's 1882From the Kelly's Directory 1882


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