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A Brief History of the Bell Hotel

With a history dating back to the Doomsday book, there is plenty for visitors to discover about Faringdon.

In 1202 King John granted land in Faringdon to the monks of the order of St Mary of Citeaux — known as Cistercians.

They laid the foundations for The Bell Hotel and made use of the natural spring waters to care for the infirm.  By the 14th century the building was in active use as a hospicium, or guesthouse, run by the monks.

The hospice brewed three varieties of beer including one called ‘Wilkin le Neket’ because of its weakness. The guesthouse would have seen the bustle of the weekly market at Faringdon as well as the annual fairs, which were originally religious celebrations.  They developed into labour hiring fairs with Morris dancers and carnival jugglers adding to the festivities.

By 1540 The Bell Hotel was the most important tenement of the town and was established as an inn and posting station by 1545.

The postmaster landlord hired out horses to travelers breaking their journey from London through Gloucester to Wales.

The new coaching trade of the 17th century made this an even busier route and The Bell was at the heart of it offering beer and accommodation to the horsemen.

Faringdon was occupied by parliamentarian and royalist troops during the Civil War and in 1640 Cromwell ordered several executions when troops mutinied.

The Bell was very popular at this time when many fights broke out in the town among the troops.

In April 1646 a bloody battle ensued when orders were given to destroy the town.  A severe fire broke out and destroyed many of the town’s houses and the frontage of The Bell Hotel which had to be rebuilt

There is an abundance of history for visitors to discover through the centuries to modern times making The Bell Hotel with its old world charm an excellent place to visit and stay.   

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