About The Bell in Odell

The Church West WrattingThe village of West Wratting dates back to around AD 800. The name is thought to originate from the Saxon word ‘wraett’ meaning ‘place where crosswort or hellebore grows’.

The church, dedicated to Saint Andrew, is mentioned in The Domesday Book of 1086, and was most likely to have originally been built of wood. The present building dates back to the 13th century, however earlier Saxon foundations are within the walls of the naïve and a few pieces of Norman stonework are built into the present walls.

Common land known as Great and Little Shrub, now Wratting Common, became an airfield towards the end of World War II. Stirlings and Lancasters were among the bombers stationed here and they flew on missions over Germany. After the war, in the late 1940s, the base was used to host foreign displaced persons and workers in the Westward Ho and North Sea scheme work programmes.

Two eighteenth century manor houses, West Wratting Hall and West Wratting Park, are important in the history of the village, both as benefactors towards restoring St. Andrew’s Church, and as the main employers up until the 20th century.

West Wratting has a privately owned smock mill which is the oldest registered in England. Built on the site of a former post mill, it was last used for grinding corn in the 1920’s.

The Church West WrattingWest Wratting originally had 6 brew houses, however The Chestnut Tree is the last to remain open. The original thatched building was destroyed by fire in 1885. The insurers, Norwich Union, rebuilt the property, almost as it stands today, and its’ Victorian origins are still clearly evident.

In recent years the pub was owned by brewer Greene King. Following their decision to sell the property regulars, from the village and beyond, formed a committee with the aim of securing the long term future of their pub.

There is no doubt that the commitment of the village to step in and purchase the pub, should a buyer have not been found, sent the clear message that any planning application for a change to residential use would have been strongly fought.

As the new owners we are, therefore, very grateful to all of those involved with the campaign to save the pub.

Now a free house, without the constraints of brewery ownership, we are confident that The Chestnut Tree will go from strength to strength, and we will strive to provide our local community with a pub of which they can be proud. For more information about our beautiful village please visit www.westwratting.org.uk

Come and visit our gem in the North Bedfordshire countryside!

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