Some history of The Bell Inn at Brackley
The first image below shows the Bell Inn just after the Second World War. The Bell is located at the 'top' end of the High Street in the area known as Antelope Hill. Having retained its extensive stable block, the pub is located on the corner of Church Road. The pub sign that can be seen in the more recent photograph reveals that the Bell Inn had recently been operated by Mann's, a branch of the old Watney empire.
In the early 1870's the Bell Inn was run by Felix and Catherine Robbins, a couple from just across the county border in Turweston. Felix Robbins spent some of his childhood at another pub in Brackley for his mother and father kept the Plumbers' Arms. By the time he was sixteen Felix was, in keeping with the name of his dad's beer house, was working as a plumber and glazier. However, the census of 1871 shows that he was both innkeeper of the Bell Inn and a painter. He combined both painting and plumbing when he left the licensed trade before 1874. He and his family moved to Little Green Lane in Aston where Felix died in 1890.
The Robbins family were succeeded by William and Sophia Waghorn who had moved up from Bridge Street. Kent-born William was previously working as a foreman but he and his wife Sophia came with experience in the licensed trade. In the 1870's the couple had kept the Swan Inn at Stewkley in Buckinghamshire.
At the time of the 1881 census the Bell Inn was kept by George and Jane Sutton. The couple were both born in 1852; Jane was a local lass but George hailed from the Lincolnshire town of Horbling where he previously worked as a coachman. Also living on the premises was butcher and grocer Robert Carter, his wife Mary and daughter Elizabeth. However, it is not clear whether the family traded at the Bell Inn or simply lived there.
In 1924 the pub advertised that a conveyance left the building to meet all trains arriving at Brackley. This was when the Bell Inn was kept by James Freeborn who also operated a hauliers business.
A 1936 trade directory shows that the Saint Peter's Lodge of the Royal Antedilivian Order of Buffaloes met at the Bell Inn every Wednesday.
Licensees of this pub
1830 - Edward Taylor
1854 - Mrs Hannah Taylor
1871 - Felix Charles Robbins
1874 - William Waghorn
1881 - George Sutton
1910 - George Edward Holland
1924 - James Henry Freeborn
1936 - George Wood
Have Your Say
If you would like to share any further information on this pub - perhaps you drank here in the past? Or maybe knew a previous publican? Whatever the reason it would be great to hear of your stories or gossip. Simply send a message and I'll post it here.