The Bell Inn / Hotel

Vintage cars at The Bell, 2009
Vintage cars outside the Bell, 2009. The buildings behind the car were formerly the Bell Garage.

The first detailed reference to The Bell by name found so far is in the will of Anthony Jackson, 1591. He describes himself as "yeoman" but refers to "my house called the Bell". His inventory shows that although he did some farming, his house was an inn catering for numerous visitors: there are references to the hall, great parlour, little parlour, great chamber, blue chamber, new lodgings, and various other chambers and lofts. There were 27 beds of various sorts, and 35 pairs of sheets. The "house called the Bell" is also mentioned in the inventory of Anthony's brother William Jackson, 1586.

Part of the description in Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire (1913):
The greater part of the Inn is apparently modern; on the W. side, facing Bell Alley, is a rectangular block, of two storeys and a cellar, originally a separate inn called 'The George', built early in the 16th century. The wall in front is almost entirely of modern brick, but retains some of the original timber-framing in the lower storey, and a little old brick filling, re-used, in the upper storey; at the back the timber-framing is original, the brick filling is modern. The roof is tiled. On the E. side of the modern block is a two-storeyed gateway of late 16th or early 17th-century date; it is timber-framed, with modern brick filling, and has a tiled roof, with an old dormer window on each side. Interior:—On the ground floor the large room, now sub-divided, has richly moulded intersecting ceiling-beams, and a fireplace with a late 17th-century moulded architrave and dentil cornice. The smaller room has a large chamfered ceiling-beam, supported at one end by a 17th-century turned post, brought from elsewhere.

The inventory of John Clements, 1581, gives details of premises which match very closely those of The Bell in 1591: great and little parlours, great and blue chambers. John had 14 beds of various sorts (and some "straw pads" for extra sleeping accommodation), and a sign worth £1 which was presumably the inn sign. He was recorded as a vintner in the certificates of alehouses of 1577. It is almost certain that John kept The Bell, and he was probably its founder, as it is not mentioned in the survey of the manor of 1556. Anthony Jackson was an innholder in Jan 1582, so must have taken over The Bell after John's death. His connection to the wealthy Fige family probably enabled him to develop it.

Moulde or Maud Jackson, widow of Anthony (and stepdaughter of Thomas Fige), married Phillip Favor (Vicar of Winslow) on 24 March 1592/3 at Winslow (licence granted by the Bishop of London on 20 March to Philip Favor, clerk, and Molda Jackson, widow of Anthony Jackson, innkeeper), and he died in 1597. On 22 July 1600 as Mould Favour she married Silvester Mitchell at Winslow, and he was buried there on 24 Jan 1610/11. She was buried at Winslow as Maud Mitchell, widow, on 26 March 1623.  Silvester Michell made his will in 1610, and his inventory of Jan 1611 must refer to The Bell. It mentions the hall, little parlour, lower parlour and blue chamber. There were now 19 beds and 14 pairs of sheets. It therefore seems that Moulde continued to run The Bell after her first husband died. However, it is called the Rose in the entry for Silvester Mitchell in the schedule of tenants of 1610, so there must have been a temporary change of name.

Thomas Jackson, son of Anthony, inherited The Bell from his parents and planned to transfer it on his deathbed to his brother Stephen, described as a vintner, on condition that Stephen paid specified sums of money to various relatives. In fact it was inherited by his brother Anthony and then soon after by another brother, probably Stephen. The details can be reconstructed from a legal case of 1603-16 between Robert Allen and Stephen(?) Jackson. Stephen and Peter Jackson are listed as tenants of the manor in 1613, and one of them must have been the official tenant of The Bell by the date of the case, but they do not appear to have been reisdent in Winslow.

1635, 14 Oct (Ship Money Papers = BRS vol.13, p.18).
William Lownes of Winslow, one of the High Constables of Cottesloe Hundred, ordered "to appear at Winslowe under the signe of the Bell" concerning the payment of Ship Money.

12 Sep 1638
Centre for Bucks Studies, D175/2 [Translated from Latin]
Although it is not stated, it seems likely that the "cottage or tenement" which Peter Jackson sold to Hugh Seaton and his mother Alice below was The Bell.
The Seneschal had it recorded that Peter Jackson on 16 Oct 1637 surrendered a cottage or tenement situate in Winslow with a close called Kings Close and 24 acres of arable land and meadow in the fields of Winslow, namely a piece of land at Naunditch, a piece of land at Smallidoles, a piece of land or meadow at Longmeadleyes, a piece of meadow called Palmsmead and a piece at Tookeyshill, now in the tenure of Hugh Seaton sr.  To the benefit of Hugh Seaton son of the said Hugh Seaton.  Annual rent: 7s.  Fine: 50s.  No heriot because he [Peter] has other lands.
Hugh Seaton surrendered half a cottage or tenement situate in Winslow, namely the kitchin with chambers over, parlor and haul and the eastern part of a close called Kings Close containing by estimate 3 roods as it is now divided, now in the tenure of Hugh Seaton sr, 6 roods of arable land lying together at Tookeyshill containing by estimate 2 acres, the land of Robert Benbow on the east, and 18 roods at Naunditch, Reveham Meadow to the north, and half a meadow called Palms Mead towards the west, and half a piece of land called Smallidoles towards the west.  To the use of Alice Seaton wife of Hugh Seaton sr for her life.  Annual rent 3s 6d.  Fine: 25s.

1642, 10 March (Centre for Bucks Studies, D 175/2)
Surrender and re-admission of Henry Pym to the messuage in Winslow called the Bell.
To the use of the said Henry Pym and after his death to the use of Henry Pym his son. 

1666, 2 December: Will of Henry Pym of Winslow, innholder
Leaves property to granddaughters Dorothy and Ann Pym
"And my will is that Roger Attwood shall have use of my cake print till one of my executors shall marry with a baker by trade and if any of them marry a baker by trade she that be first married shall have it"

1670, 11 October: Inventory of Roger Atwood, baker
He seems to have occupied at least part of The Bell.

1707: The will of Benjamin Bigg refers to his part of The Bell, which he settles on his wife Anne and younger daughters Mary and Jane.

1708: The inventory of Charles King, innholder, probably refers to The Bell

1723: Insurance policy 15/415
John Thompson & Joseph Tofield joint innkeepers

1725, 25 March: Sun Insurance (11936/15/415/23797)

John Turner of Winslow and William Plumber of Stone Co. Bucks
£
For their house being the Bell Inn situate in the town aforesaid and now in the possession of John Thompson and Joseph Tofield
350
The outhouses belonging to the same
150
 
----
 
500

1730, 27 July: Northampton Mercury 
Floral Feast at Bell Inn Winslow
On Monday the 3rd August, will be held, at the Bell Inn in Winslow, a Florist Feast, and a Guinea will be given to him that produces the twelve best Carnations.  N.B. There will be a Twelvepenny Ordinary.

1730, 16 January: Sun insurance (11936/32/206/53099)

John Turner of Winslow and Hannah Plumer of Stone Co. Bucks
On their House being the Bell Inn in Winslow aforesaid with the outhouses thereto belonging in the tenure of John Thompson and other buildings near or adjoining being mostly thatched
£
Dwelling house only
170
Warehouse only adjoining
40
Brewhouse only adjoining
40
Stable adjoining
10
One other stable adjoining
30
A barn at the lower end of the yard
30
One other stable
45
One other stable
30
One other stable
20
A gatehouse
5
One other stable
15
One other stable in the tenure of Joseph Tofield baker
15
Dwelling house only in the said Tofields occupation
50
 
___
 
500

1730, 21 Sep: Northampton Mercury 
John Thompson, The Bell, Winslow

1749, 27 Oct: Court Baron (Centre for Bucks Studies, D97/104/1)         
Admission of Mary, wife of Peter Goldsworth
Benjamin Bigg, Carpenter and Ann his wife whilst they lived held....... one messuage or Tenement now divided into two messuages or Tenements in the several occupations of Emma Turner widow and John Toefield situated in Sheep Street in Winslow with the Barns Stables Outhouses and appart(ment)s thereto belonging adjoining to the Bell Inn towards the West are both dead and that Ann Bigg survived her said husband.  And that Mary, wife of Peter Goldsworth, gent, the only daughter[?] of Ann Dudley deceased (late wife of John Dudley) one of the daughters of the said Benjamin Bigg.  And Jane Turner deceased late wife John Turner and before Jane Biggs, spinster were  the other daughter of the said Benjamin Bigg deceased.

1760-71: Alehouse recognizances
The Bell: Alice Thompson (1760), Rebecca Thompson (1765-71)

1767, 2 May: Will of John Turner of Winslow surgeon & apothecary (proved at the PCC)
Death of John Turner of Winslow, surgeon who held for life an individual moiety of a messuage or Tenement in Winslow called the Bell Inn and an individual moiety of an acre and a half of land more or less...

1767, 12 & 13 July (manor court)
Admission of Mary Goldsworth on death of John Turner of Winslow surgeon to half the Bell Inn.
The Enclosure Award shows that the other half belonged to William Plomer (presumably the son of William and Hannah Plumber, above; see further below).

1776-85: Alehouse recognizances
The Bell: Richard Shelton

1778, 3 November: Sun Insurance (11936/269/405166)

Joseph Dudley of Winslow mercer
On his moiety of the following buildings in Winslow aforesaid viz:
£
The dwelling house offices and stables only adjoining of the Bell Inn
in the tenure of Richard Shelton  brick and plaister tiled and thatched
228
Barn separate  thatched
12
Warehouse stable and brewhouse under one roof brick and tiled  
60
 
----
 
300

1779, 25 March (manor court)
Admission of John Plomer of Wilton, Northants, gent, eldest son and heir of William Plomer, to a moiety of all that messuage Tenement or Inn called or known by the name or sign of the Bell situate and being in Winslow in County Bucks now in the tenancy or occupation of Richard Shelton. 
[Subsequently surrendered by John Plomer to John Goodman.]

1779, 6 April: Sun Insurance (11936/273/412225)

John Goodman of Winslow victualler  
£
On his moiety of the dwelling house offices stables only adjoining of the Bell Inn at Winslow aforesaid in the tenure of Richard Shelton innholder brick plaister tiled and thatched
200
Barn only separate  thatched
10
Warehouse stable brewhouse adjoining each other
Brick timber and tiled  
40
On his house in Granborough called Red Lion in the tenure of Holding victualler  thatched
45
Stable only adjoining thatched  
5
 
----
 
300

1779, 20 April: Sun Insurance (11936/275/413175)

John Goodman of Winslow victualler and malster
£
On his now dwelling house brewhouse stable gatehouse and leantoos adjoining      situate as aforesaid     
300
Utensils and stock not hazardous therein    
200
Household goods therein   
100
Storehouse and malthouse pigsties leantoos all adjoining to the above a brick wall between and no communication
200
Utensils and stock therein       
200
 
----
 
£1000

1781: Land Tax 
John Goodman & Joseph Dudley: (occupier) Richard Shelton £1 12 0

1783, 5 May: Sun Insurance (11936/313/477377)

John Goodman of Winslow victualler malster and brewer
£
On his now dwelling house brewhouse storehouse gatehouse and leantoos all adjoining situate as aforesaid  
300
Household goods therein only  
100
Utensils and stock not hazardous therein       
200
 
----
 
£600

1784, 11 May: Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser

WINSLOW, BUCKS
By Messrs CHRISTIE and ANSELL
at the Bell Inn, Winslow, on Thursday the 13th instant,
and two following days, at eleven o'clock

A LARGE QUANTITY OF HAY, WAGGONS, CARTS, farming and garden implements of every denomination, EIGHT LARGE STONE FIGURES, a large quantity of stone, mahogany in planks and boards, a variety of inferior household furniture, and numerous other effects, the property of
A NOBLEMAN
Brought from his Seat in the Neighbourhood.
To be viewed till the sale. Catalogues may be had at the adjacent towns, and in Pall-mall.

1784, 3 June: Morning Post and Daily Advertiser

WINSLOW, BUCKS
By Messrs CHRISTIE and ANSELL
at the Bell, Winslow, Bucks, This Day, the 3d of June, and following day, at Twelve o'clock

The Remainder of the Household Furniture, Library of Books, some few articles of plate, a quantity of iron, orange trees, pine and green-house plants, melon frames, about fifty gallons of remarkably fine old Jamaica rum, &c., of
A NOBLEMAN
Brought from his seat at Middle Claydon, in the county of Bucks.
To be viewed till the sale. Catalogues may be had at the Bell, Winslow; the George, Aylesbury; the White Hart, Missendon; the Cobham Arms, Buckingham; and of Messrs. Christie and Ansell, Pall-mall.

This was part of the sale of the effects of Ralph, 2nd Earl Verney, of Claydon House; the more valuable things had previously been sold at The George in Aylesbury. The ironwork of the balcony of The George is traditionally said to have come from Claydon House, and could be the "quantity of iron" in the second advert.

1784, 19 July: Northampton Mercury
[A meeting of the Turnpike Trustees to be held] at the House of Richard Shelton, called or known by the Name or Sign of the Bell Inn, in Winslow.

1786: Land Tax 
John Goodman & Joseph Dudley: (occupier) Richard Shelton £1 14 10

1790-1810: Alehouse recognizances
The Bell: William King

1792, 29 October (Manor court)
Surrender by Joseph Dudley of Winslow, draper to Charles Lucas of Aylesbury, grocer, of All of that Messuage or Tenament situate & being in Winslow aforesaid within the said Manor now in the occupation of William King called by the name or sign of the Bell.

1793, 28 & 29 Oct (Manor court)  
Surrender by Charles Lucas of Aylesbury, draper, to William King, Innholder.

1795: Land tax
King, William - Bell Inn (occupier) Self £1 14 10

1796: G.M. Woodward's Eccentric Excursions gave an unfavourable account of staying the night at The Bell.

1799, 28 October (Centre for Bucks Studies, BAS 375/22 no 28)
Order of Court.  Jury ordered to view the Paling and Fence between the home close of Wiiliam Selby Esq lord of this Manor and the garden of William King of Winslow aforesaid victualler and enquire to whome the same doth belong.
2 Nov 1801: We have viewed the Paling or Fence and the same doth belong to the said William Selby.

1805: Land tax
King, William - Bell Inn (occupier) Self £1 14 10

1812, 8 Feb: Northampton Mercury
Winslow Bucks.
To be sold by auction, about the latter end of February, by direction of the assignee of William King, a bankrupt (unless an acceptable offer is made for disposing of the same by private contract)
That well-known inn, called the Bell Inn, at Winslow, Bucks, late in the Occupation of the Bankrupt, together with the furniture, stock. &c.
The above inn is situated between Buckingham and Aylesbury being only seven miles from the former, and 10 from the latter, is now in full trade, the accommodations extremely good, and has been long known and used by gentlemen travellers, as a most comfortable house. Printed particulars will be got ready, and due notice will be given of the time and place of sale, and in the mean time, any person desirous of treating for the same, by private contract, may make application to Mr. Shirley, of Warwick-Lane, Newgate Street, Mr. Williamson, of Little Tower Street, London, or to Mr. Billington, of Shenley, near Winslow, the Assignees, or to Messrs. Williamson, and Rimmer, of Clifford's Inn, London.

Joseph Neal took over The Bell in 1814 (see below). During the 19th century The Bell under the proprietorship of the Neal family was the usual venue for the manor court, magistrates' court and coroner's inquests. It was also a posting house and staging point for stagecoaches. Hunt balls, auctions and farmers' dinners were held there. It began to be described as a hotel rather than an inn. The photograph below shows it c.1908; click on the image for a larger version.

Bell Hotel

1815-28: Alehouse recognizances
The Bell: Joseph Neal

1823: Directory
Bell Inn - Joseph Neal, Sheep Street

1831: Register of Electors
Neal, Joseph: Winslow – occupier of land in his own occupation

1831: For sale with brewhouse and warehouse.

1832: Land tax
Flowers, John; (occupier) Joseph Neal - The Bell Inn £1 14 10

Joseph Neal was a yearly tenant up to this time, the proprietor being John Flowers of Beachampton. It was probably soon after Neal acquired ownership that the present front of the building was added.

1835: proposals for improving the turnpike would have led to the demolition of part of The Bell, but were not implemented.

1837: Sale of the Old Workhouse behind the Bell Hotel
Clear (1894, 117): "At the back of the Bell Hotel is a block of buildings now used as a malthouse, stables, etc. These at one time formed the Parish Workhouse, Straw Plaiting School for boys, and a Mill-house in which the unemployed were set to work grinding corn by hand; here also was a lock-up for misdemeanants." [This was the former George Inn, which had been purchased by the Overseers of the Poor in 1821.]

1841: Census
Bell Inn

Joseph Neal 50 Innkeeper b. in county
Rosetta do 30   do
William do 25 Farmer do
Sarah do 15   do
Joseph do 14   do
Fanny do 13   do
Frederick do 7   do
Ann Markham 20 Female servant not b. in county
Catharine Simmonds 30 Female servant b. in county
Philip Verney 12 Male servant do
George Neal 25 Ostler do
Richard Neal 30 Colt breaker do
John Stoll 35 Woollen manuf(acturer) not b. in county
George Grizzell 25 Malster not b. in county

1844 directory
Bell (commercial) - Rosetta Joan Neal, Market Square

1851: Census
Bell Inn, Market Square

William Neal Head married 34 Innkeeper, brewer & maltster b. Winslow
Frances Neal Wife married 22   b. Loughton, Bucks
Rosetta Neal Mother widow 49 Occupier of 84 acres with 5 labourers b. North Marston
Sarah Taddy Visitor unm 17   b. Leckhamstead
Sarah Braunstan Servant unm 22 Servant b. Helmdon, Northants
Eliza Loggin Servant unm 18 Servant b. Islington
Benjamin Knight Servant unm 17 Servant b. Hoggeston
Robert Weston Lodger married 26 Solicitor b. Brackley
Sarah Ann Weston Lodger married 34   b. Brackley
Thomas Harrison Lodger unm 45 Traveller b. Leicester
George Jasselyn Lodger married 44 Solicitor b. Bitstead, Suffolk
George Cook Lodger unm 43 Land proprietor b. Semer, Suffolk
Thomas Reynolds Lodger unm 30 Valet b. Middleton Tyers, Yorks

1853 directory
Neal, William – victualler 'Bell' Commercial Inn & Posting House....
The Bell was being run by 1850 by William Neal, brewer who in 1871 was shown as brewing in Sheep Street. From 1877 William Neal was listed as a brewer and maltster and wine and spirit merchant in the Market Square. In 1881 he was supplying the Station Inn and also owned the Swan at Great Horwood.

1857, 21 Nov: Northampton Mercury
Rejoicings took place in this town on Friday, Nov. 13th, on the occasion of the coming of age of the eldest son of W. Selby Lowndes, Esq., of Whaddon Hall, (who has considerable property in the parish). The day's commemoration began with the church bells ringing a merry peal, and at about the same time salutes were fired in a very primitive manner from anvils, such as are used by smiths in their trade. At ten o'clock a band from Quainton, engaged for the occasion, arrived, headed by a flag, on which were the words "Lowndes for ever," and also by a man dressed up in a very grotesque manner, riding on a donkey, both painted à la Grimaldi - this appeared very much to excite the risibility of children, not only of a small but of a large growth. The band played some very excellent airs and marches, and at about two o'clock rustic sports took place in the Market-square - such as climbing up a greased pole for a leg of mutton. In a waggon lent by Mr. John Curtis, a number of little urchins "bobbed" for treacled buns, and the fun thus caused was greatly relished by those who witnessed it. A barrel of beer was in readiness, and distributed, with no lack of customers, and the band continued at intervals to play and enliven the amusing scene. The cottagers and ringers were regaled at the Black Horse, to their evident satisfaction. A large ball took place in the evening at the Bell Inn, at the express invitation of Mr. Lowndes, jun.; it was very numerously attended, and the company consisted of W. Selby Lowndes, Esq., Mrs. Lowndes and family, many relatives and tenants, with their wives and families. Adams's quadrille band was in attendance, and proved highly efficient, and dancing was kept up till a late hour; the arrangements at the Bell, under Mr. Neal's usual good management, gave general satisfaction; the supper, and wines, which included a bountiful supply of champagne, were much enjoyed, and altogether the ball went off extremely well. An evergreen arch was erected between Mr. Morgan's corner and the Bell, with a motto "Victoria - Queen of the Isles." We understand that Mr. Lowndes, jun., will be invited to a dinner, to be given at the Bell Inn, in honour of the event, in the course of a week or ten days.

1861: Census
Bell Hotel, Market Square

William Neal Head married 44 Hotel keeper, brewer, maltster & farmer of 25 acres b. Winslow
Frances Neal Wife married 32   b. Loughton, Bucks
Rosetta J. Neal Daughter   9 Scholar b. Winslow
Frances A. Neal Daughter   6 Scholar b. Winslow
William Neal Son   4 Scholar b. Winslow
Edward J. Neal Son   1   b. Winslow
Richard C. Boxall Boarder single 27 Civil engineer b. Petworth, Sussex
Mary A. Gough Servant single 18 Barmaid b. Preston Bissett
Martha Matthews Servant single 21 Chamber maid b. Dinton
Sarah Cook Servant single 21 Waitress b. Hook Norton
Sarah Batchelor Servant single 38 Cook b. Buckingham
Mary Benbow Servant single 14 Nursemaid b. Winslow
Joshua Higgins Servant single 15 Boots b. Granborough

1867: Bucks Herald, 19 Oct
The presentation of a testimonial to Mr. William Neal of Winslow for his valuable exertions in endeavouring to arrest the spread of the cattle plague during the years 1865-66 took place at the Bell Hotel, Winslow, on Thursday, the 10th inst. The testimonial consisted of a silver tea-pot, a cream ewer, and a purse of gold. The tea-pot was engraved with a bullock's head, and the following inscription: – "Presented to Mr. William Neal of Winslow, by his friends, for his exertions during the cattle plague, 1865-66." …… [Mr Neal said] …… "I beg to gender you my sincere thanks for the valuable testimonial you have so kindly presented to me, and, as regards my exertions among the cattle plague, I endeavoured to do to others as I would with to be done by. I did my utmost to help those who were the greatest sufferers."
    The Rev. J. W. Hayward said the late Government acted very badly; it waited and did nothing when the common sense of the farmer would have told them what to do. The association sent up a requisition informing them what they ought to do, and after waiting some time, they did it.  He watched the disease in  Claydon, Oving, and Grandborough.  They did not know whom to apply to except Mr. Neal and Mr. Monk, and they willingly came forward and, notwithstanding the animosity of the few, firmly did their duty in the sight of God. Mr. Neal, always most anxious to assist the sufferers, had for his services met with the sympathy of 100 of his neighbours,  and  his  testimonial  must  be  acknowledged the more satisfactory as the greatest sufferers have come forward, testifying that Mr. Neal had done his duty consistently and honestly as a Christian. He went  on  to say that in  this  matter  Mr.  Monk wins his affection for the neighbourly manner in which he acted during the disease, and on account of the honourable motives by which he is actuated as presi-dent of the association. He therefore proposed "The Healths of Mr. Dudley and Mr. Monk," Mr. Dudley  for the pleasing and  graceful manner in which he presented the testimonial, and the health of Mr. Monk as a good neighbour,  a good farmer, and a good fox hunter.
  Mr. Dudley again briefly expressed his satisfaction at having performed this mark of respect, and thanking the rev. gentlemen for proposing his health.  He wished them all a Happy New Year.
  Mr. Monk returned his sincere thanks. He was always anxious to do his duty, and for the fourteen months  that  the  disease  was  spreading  in  the association the effects would have been more serious had it not been for stamping it out. He was highly gratified if his services had met with their approbation.
  The “Healths of Mr Perkins, Mr Barge, Mr. Flowers, and Mr. King,” as sufferers from the disease, were proposed and appropriately responded to.  The company then tested the merits of the tea-pot, and spent a pleasant and convivial evening.

1871: Census
Market Square: William Neal (54) Innkeeper, Malster, farmer 100 acres employing 3 men, 2 boys.

1872: Return of Public Houses
Bell Hotel: William Neal (owner)

1877 directory
Neal, William – Bell, commercial hotel & posting house, Market Square.

1881: Census
Bell Hotel, Market Square

William Neal Head married 64 Hotel keeper & farmer of 110 acres b. Winslow
Frances Neal Wife married 52   b. Loughton, Bucks
William Neal Son unm 24 Farmer's son b. Winslow
Frances Neal Dau unm 26 Farmer's daughter b. Winslow
Annie Neal Dau unm 23 Farmer's daughter b. Winslow
Edith Neal Dau unm   Scholar b. Winslow
Marcus Neal Son   12 Scholar b. Winslow
Rose Shelmerdine Niece married 25 Pottery manufacturer's wife b. Liverpool
Rosetta N. Shelmerdine Grand niece   0.83   b. Liverpool
Sarah Edwin Servant unm 36 Waitress b. Winslow
Sarah A. Coleman Servant unm 26 Cook b. Shelswell, Oxon
Clara Harris Servant unm 18 Chambermaid b. Loughton, Bucks
Thomas G. Fairman Servant unm 15 Boots & waiter b. Swanbourne
Sarah Robinson Servant unm 15 Nurse b. Liverpool


1886, 25 Sep: Oxford Journal
A marriage between Mr. William Samuel Neal, eldest son of Mr. W. Neal, of the Bell Hotel, Winslow, and Miss Emily Rose Monk, eldest daughter of Mr. Henry Monk, of Tuckey Farm, Winslow, took place on Tuesday, September 21.   The ceremony, which took place at 2.30 p.m., was conducted by the Rev. H. A. D. Hamilton, Vicar, and passed off very quietly, the bride not being attended by any bridesmaids, and was given away by her eldest brother Mr. H. Monk, jnr., of Sheepcote Farm, Waddesdon, and was attired in a blue serge travelling dress, the happy pair going direct to Bletchley Station for London.  There was a large number of presents, some being very costly.   The breakfast was partaken of at Tuckey Farm, and was confined solely to relatives on both sides.

1886, 27 Nov: Bucks Herald
Complimentary Dinner to Mr W. Neal. On Thursday evening [25 Nov] a complimentary dinner was given to Mr Neal, of the Bell Hotel, at Winslow, that gentleman having recently retired from the business in favour of his son.  Mr G.D.E. Wigley presided, and amongst those present were – the guest of the evening, Mr W. Neal, Mr M. Selby-Lowndes, Mr T.P. Willis, Mr H. Bullock, Dr Newham, Mr H. Monk, the Rev. H.A. Douglas Hamilton, Messrs R.W. Jones, A. Hurst, E.H. Baylis, Adams, M. Bliss, B Warr, T. Lester, Grimley, Warne, G. Dunkley, J. Hillyer, Farmbrough, C.H. Harrup, J. Linnell, J. Varney, jun., E. White, S. Syratt, T. Curtis, F. Woodward, W. Linnell, W. Weston, H. Freegard, E.J. French, G. Ingram, E. Parrott, A.S. Midgley, J. King, J. Colgrove, A.D. Hollaway, F. Loffler, W. Warne, J.C. Hawley, W. Ingram, A.G. Stevens, J. Loffler, E. Dickens, jun., T. Viccars, L.C. Maydon, J. Maydon, Chas. Wilford, R. Young, J. Lilley, W.J. Goodman, T. Biggs, J. Hathaway, G. Robinson, J.S. Bartlett, G. George, C.A. Bennett (Buckingham), H. Bennett (Wycombe), C. Clare, H. Pettit (Leighton) &c. ......

[Mr Neal's speech included some family history:] My father came to this house in the year 1810, to assist a sister, a widow. He took to the business in 1814, and was married in 1815. I was born in 1816, and I may tell you I rode my pony to London to be apprenticed in 1829, stopping at the Cow Roast, Pendley Gap, one night on my way. My father had a serious illness in Nov., 1839, and I returned home to assist in the business, from which I have only just now retired. My father was a far more popular man in his day than ever I have been ...... Bull-baiting, cock-fighting, and badger-drawing I have witnessed with my own eyes on our Market-square, on Shrove-Tuesday, the great feast day. ...... He was singularly fortunate in having a good mate. They certainly laid the foundation of a good business at the Bell. No woman could be more clever, no woman more persevering, no woman more winning and pleasing to her guests than my stepmother. I must mention that by her assiduous attention to her guests I had the honour of providing the opening dinner for the Bletchley, Oxford, and Banbury Railway. Mr. Brassey ordered dinner for 300 gentlemen in the goods shed; next day we dined the workmen in the shed and yard to the number of 600, for which Mr. Brassey paid me £600 ......

[Mr T.P. Willis said:] He was glad that the parish church had been restored, and was now a great ornament to the town. He then humourously referred to depression in his own profession; but observed that he was glad to find that all the houses and hunting boxes in the town were occupied. He thought that as time went on the honour of being a Borough might be transferred to Winslow. (Laughter, and a voice, "You shall be mayor.") He would rather be town clerk. (Laughter.) He was found of fox-hunting, and was pleased that they had lately had good sport. (Applause.) ......

[The brewhouse included 3 FVs and also a separate bottling house. William Neal sr died in September 1889, one of his executors being Thomas Essex Neal, a brewer in Nottingham.]

1891: Census
Bell Hotel, Market Square

William Samuel Neal Head married 24 Hotel keeper & brewer b. Winslow
Emily Rosa Neal Wife married 32   b. Winslow
Harry Neal Son   3   b. Winslow
William Monk Neal Son   1   b. Winslow
Elizabeth Newman Barmaid unm 23 Barmaid b. Stony Stratford
Susan Golby Servant unm 30 Cook b. Hampton Pole, Oxon
Hannah Elizabeth Roads Servant unm 26 Nurse b. Milton, Wilts
Sarah Ann Edwin Servant unm 45 Waitress b. Winslow
Rebecca E. Healey Servant unm 19 Chambermaid b. Little Horwood

1891-1920 William Samuel Neal was listed as proprietor; however, brewing was much reduced in 1914, when only 40 barrels of draught were produced. That year the brewhouse in Bell Alley was valued at £550. Then for 1921 to 1925 it was run by William M. Neal. It was operating on a commercial scale e.g. 1922 listed as sales of 1,000+ barrels p.a.

1901 census
Bell Hotel, Market Square
William Samuel Neal (44), married, head, b. Winslow, hotel keeper, brewer, maltster, livery keeper, wine merchant
Rosa Gwendolin Neal (7), dau, b. Winslow
Philip Marcus Neal (4), son, b. Winslow
Hannah Elizabeth Roads-Merry (36), single, nurse, b. Pusey, Wilts
Fanny Thurland (25), single, waitress, b. Kings Sutton, Northants
Florence Lucy Williams (25), single, assistant in bar, b. Hampton on Hill, Warws

The photograph below of Army manouevres in 1907 shows the outbuildings of the Bell extending along Sheep Street; these later became the Bell Garage. The Bell itself can be seen on the far right..

Belll outbuildings

1911: Census
Bell Hotel

William Samuel Neal Head 54 married Hotel keeper, brewer, maltster, livery/stable keeper etc. b. Winslow
Emily Rose Neal Wife 52 married 24 years, 4 children Assisting in business b. Winslow
William Monk Neal Son 21 single Brewer & 2nd in command b. Winslow
Mary Freeman Assistant in hotel 23 single Assistant in hotel b. Market Drayton, Salop
Lizzie Collins Cook 39 single Hotel cook b. Northampton
Florence Phoebe Phillips Waitress 23 single Hotel waitress b. Adstock
Emily Currell Servant 16 single House & chambermaid b. Swanbourne

Centre for Bucks Studies, D/WIG/21/1/66 (Nov 1917 - July 1918)
Valuation - W.S. Neal [deceased?]

1920 directory
Neal, E. Rosa, Mrs – The Bell Hotel, Market Square

The Bell was subsequently run with increasing eccentricity by her two sons, known as Bill and Phil Neal. According to Alan Wigley, A Window on Winslow (1981), p.51, the front door was locked in 1939 as a blackout precaution, and only twice opened again until the sale in 1975 after Phil's death.

1939: Kelly's Directory
Bell Hotel: William Monk Neal, proprietor, Market Square

1939: Buckingham Almanac
Bell Hotel, Market Square - Neal, W.M.; Neal, P.; Stewart, Capt. D.

1952: Description of The Bell when it was given a Grade 2 Listing
Hotel. Early C19 re-fronting of C17 building with incomplete timber frame. C17 timber framed blocks to rear along Bell Alley, and over carriage entry to left of main front. Other brick outbuildings are late C19. Main N. front of whitewashed render, rusticated to ground floor and articulated with giant Doric pilasters,
moulded plinth and cornice and band course at first floor level. Slate roof, 3 rendered chimneys. 2 storeys, 3 bays. Canted bay windows to ground floor, each with 2 4-pane sashes to front, lozenge patterned frieze and moulded cornice. Wide triple-hung sashes to first floor in architrave surrounds with wooden cornices on scroll brackets over. 6-panelled door between left-hand bays has wooden surround of Doric half-columns, entablature blocks and pediment. Section of first floor wall above door has flanking pilasters. Painted curved brace in ground floor room. Interior of C17 part to rear has moulded ceiling beams.

1975 sale particulars: The Bell Hotel, Winslow, Bucks and Adjacent Garage Premises
This Free House faces the Market Square on a corner of the A413 which is one of the popular alternative routes between London (48 miles) and Birmingham (50 miles).  The main premises is a Grade II listed building and the complete hereditament is within a Conservation area.  The Hotel has a redoubtable past, and with shrewd and careful planning could have an enviable future for good eating, good accommodation and good hospitality based on non-extravagant re-use of the resources, victualled by past renown and the future potential of the locality.

The photograph below shows The Bell c.1983 after its renovation.

A beer delivery at the Bell

See also: