The Cellars & Caves
The cellars of the Bell Inn are a combination of natural sandstone and hand carved caves dating from the 12th century. It is believed that the Carmelite Friars did the majority of the expansion. You can see evidence of blackened walls and smoke blackened ceilings, which leads us to believe that the cave area was used as a kitchen, as there is also evidence of a chimney.
The honeycomb-like network of caves, extends beyond the cellars of the Bell itself, spreading out below the upper end of the Snack Bar, and further under adjoining buildings, where the neighbouring building housed a wine merchants. Hidden beneath a wooden hatch in the cellar is a bonded warehouse, evidence of the old method of wine sales still exists today, as port cellars and shelves filled with bottles and the steel tracks that housed barrels of wine ready for sale, are still clearly on display to this day.
There are two wells in the caves from which natural spring waters were obtained, for on-site brewing of beer. The wells have however over the years been tainted by waste materials, and are no longer suitable for brewing.
The waste in the Monks Well, when excavated, accurately dated back to within twelve years of what is believed to be the date The Bell Inn was first established, 1437 as a building operating as a public house. The wells go down 53 feet at least.
Guided Tours Are Available to Book:
Group bookings can be arranged for historic cave and building tours, giving you a chance to discover the hidden wonders of the Bell Inn. Why not commence your tour after a meal in our Restaurant, or combine it with an evening of live music with a pint or two of the Bell Inn’s very own beer?