IVYCHURCH • ROMNEY MARSH • KENT TN29 0AL
TELEPHONE: 01797 344355
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 precints 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 contriband. 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!