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The Bell Inn team


The Bell Inn team: David Jackson (father),
Simon Jackson (brother), Richard Jackson (licensee), Jon Newman (cellar manager)

David, Richard and Simon Jackson and Jon Newman try to prove that their pub is the oldest in Nottingham.

In the pub, they look at a painting dating from 1750 showing The Bell. Then they look through their own documents to find the oldest deed. The first Jackson deed is from 1898, but the earliest of all the deeds dates from 1732, and this mentions a will of 1638.


William Clarke, founder of Trent Bridge cricket ground

Simon is directed to the card index to look for information on William Clarke and Trent Bridge cricket ground. Jon tackles the photograph index, where he finds references to The Bell for 1890, 1900, 1910, 1925, 1928 and 1930. In another card index, Richard finds an advertisement for The Bell in a copy of the Weekly Courant newspaper from 1719 and sale particulars and a plan from 1888. The Salutation team show them the 1744 Badder & Peet map, which shows both pubs, and the Nottingham Calendar of Recognizances of Innkeepers dating from 1756 to 1769, which lists the following as innkeepers of The Bell: George Harrison (1756), John Goldsmith (1759), William Scrimshire (1763) and George Bond (1768).

Reader in medieval archaeology Dr Phil Dixon describes The Bell's crown post roof to Richard and Jon, and they discuss whether The Bell could have been a coaching inn. They mention the dendrochronological date they already have for the timber framing: 1437.

The team want to know if their pub was ever connected to the Carmelite friary. Documentary historian Dr Trevor Foulds and senior lecturer and community historian Dr Carl Chinn examine this question and then attempt a map regression analysis, using (in sequence) an 1882 Ordnance Survey map, the 1820 Smith & Wild map, the 1800 Barley map, the 1764 Cherry map, the 1677 Thoroton map and, finally, the 1610 Spede map.

With the help of archivist Adrian Henstock, Richard and Jon go through the court roll index 1641-89 looking for properties in Angel Row. They find five references, and Adrian helps David check these. He locates one for The Bell dating from 1647.

The Bell Inn's version of its history

The Bell Inn on 15 June 1998