The Otley Tavern was originally built as three cottages, some of the property possibly dating back to the mid 1700’s. Each cottage had a door and window on the ground floor with a bedroom
window above, and subsequent alterations have taken place in respect to the lower windows. Before becoming a public house, it was a better-class lodging house for itinerants.
Formerly called the “Travellers Rest” and then the “Welcome Inn,” the story goes that it then became the “Ring O’ Bells when John Russell took over the tenancy in 1895.
It appears that on one occasion when Mr. Russell was on the top of Chevin, he heard, and was intrigued by the melodious notes of Otley Parish Church chimes which floated up from the valley. On his
return home he decided to re-name the inn the Ring O’ Bells, the name it retained until 2013.
He was a sporting personality, and for many years was ‘Umpire’ for the Otley Rugby Football Club. As part of his sporting activities, Jack Russell liked to back the ‘gee’gees’, and on one occasion
won £100 – a tidy sum in those days. “Now he said, “I will either be a man or a mouse”. Alas, in a fortnight he was the latter, and the bookies got their money back. He died in 1898.
The Ring O’ Bells was sold by Punch Taverns (October 2012) and bought by a Leeds Based independent company trading in Free houses. Otley Pub Club Chairman Peter Jackson was appointed as licensee
26th March 2013 with support from his wife and Membership Secretary Fiona Jackson
The Otley Tavern had an extensive refurbishment in may 2013 making it one of the finest pubs in Otley serving quality ales at very competative prices.