12th oldest pub in England set to reopen with brothers as landlords

The new landlords of Ye Olde Bell & Steelyard will welcome customers on Friday.

The new landlords of Ye Olde Bell & Steelyard will welcome customers on Friday. - Credit: James Hobson

A Woodbridge pub said to be the 12th oldest in England is set to reopen under new management later this week.

Ye Olde Bell & Steelyard pub in New Street, is listed as dating from the 16th century but is thought to be even older.

Now, it is set to be reopened by two brothers.

Matt and Dan Smith run a pub company and own The Shannon Inn in Bucklesham.

However, they say they have always wanted to own a pub in Woodbridge where they grew up.

Matt, 28, stayed alert for pubs becoming available on the market but said: "If it wasn't Woodbridge, I didn't bother looking."

The brothers say they have fulfilled a family dream by taking over Ye Olde Bell & Steelyard.

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They said: "We're so happy to be back in our hometown. Between us, we know about 90% of Woodbridge's population."

The Greene King pub swapped hands after the previous landlord decided not to renew his tenancy.

Matt, Dan, and their father Neil collected the keys last Friday and the pub is currently closed for full redecoration in preparation for their opening night.

On Friday, May 13, they plan to celebrate the reopening of the historic pub by hosting a party and barbecue.

They will officially open at 4pm with a DJ providing 80s and soul music from 8.30pm onwards.

They're planning to open the pub's kitchen within the next four to six weeks and will be serving "pub grub, done well".

Having owned The Shannon Inn, Bucklesham for four-and-a-half years, the brothers are well-known in the area for their extensive burger menu.

Landlord Matt's personal recommendation is 'The Fun-Guy', an 8oz steak burger topped with stilton, mushrooms,  red onion marmalade and served with a variety of sides.

Under its previous landlord, Ye Olde Bell & Steelyard had a reputation as a 'rugby pub' and the brothers – avid rugby fans themselves – are keen to emphasise it will continue to be a haven for rugby fans while still offering something for everyone.