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Feature Article #2

The Blue Bell Inn The Blue Bell Inn The Blue Bell Inn

The Blue Bell Inn

65 Northgate Street
01244 322 668

The Blue Bell Inn

Chester Millennium Festival Trail
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The Blue Bell Inn 1 The Ghost Window The Blue Bell Inn 2
The Blue Bell Inn in the 19th Century

What's in a name?

The Blue Bell is the oldest surviving domestic structure in the city of Chester. And the only example of a medieval inn. The name 'The Bell' as it was first named, was derived from the Curfew Bell, which was situated next door in the Bell Yard. It was then named 'The Blue Bell' to distinguish it from other establishments. The Blue Bell is now a restaurant.

The Construction

The Blue Bell is a half timbered twin gabled house dating from between 1250 and 1400. There may have been a house on the site in Norman times. But the present building has been dated by the king braced post roof points to the period mentioned above. The passageway known as Lorimers row existed in the 12th century.

Uses of the building

11th Cent - A rest house for pilgrims visiting the shrine of St. Werburgh at the Abbey.
1494 - Licensed to serve ale.
1540 - First reference to 'the bell'.
1645 - Cellars used for storing grain and provisions during the siege of Chester.
1684 - Cabin Built.
1702-3 - Rear extension built.
18th Century - Building becomes a private house.
1807 The Bell reopened as 'the blue bell'.
1850 - Used as a polling station.
1930 - Building purchased by Chester City Council for 1000. To be demolished because of road widening.
1926 - The Blue Bell reprieved.
1960 - The Blue Bell threatened again and reprieved.
1960 - 1982 Used as a clothes shop

After 1982 became a restaurant


    1st Floor                        Looking towards the window on Northgate Street    Ground Floor fireplace

The Cabin

The Cabin at The Blue Bell Inn

The small extension built in the passageway is called the cabin. It was built by Elizabeth Halliwell in 1684 without planning permission, for use as a barber shop. It was a barber shop until 1920. In the 18th century it served as a ticket office for the stagecoaches to London.

The ghost window

The Ghost Window

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In this window it is claimed that the ghost of 'henrietta' can be seen from time to time. In 1645 a Cavalier was lodged there with his family. The Cavalier went off to fight for the king at the battle of Rowton Moor, near Chester on the 24th September 1645. He did not return from the battle. And the ghost of his lover still looks out of the window waiting for his return.

The Blue Bell was first licensed to serve ale in 1494.

The passageway through the building is known as Lorimers Row. It was first mentioned in the 12th century.
A Lorimer is a spur maker. Lorimer (or Loriner) - Origin Middle English from old French Lorenier,
from lorain 'harness strap', from Latin lorum 'strap'.

Eastern Glory 1

The History of the Blue Bell Inn
Page 1

Page 2

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