East Brent History Portal

Brent Knoll Inn

01 Nov 2012 Article No: 6


Whitbread who was once the owner mentioned to a past landlord that they had deeds going back to 1790 for the Inn.

  • The Inn was in the twentieth century was owned by the Holt Family who had their own brewery on Burnham Road in Burnham on Sea and operated some 60 other pubs in the local area.
  • The Holt Family sold the Inn to Starkey Knight Ford around 1958 / 59
  • Whitbread’s purchased the Inn in 1961
  • Enterprise Inns took over the Inn as of 2000

In the past it is understood that there was 2 businesses run from the current site, these being :

1.         Emery Commercial Inn      -   left hand section as you face the building

2.         Brent Knoll Inn                   -   the right hand side of the building


It is not known when exactly the 2 become one business the Brent Knoll Inn, it is assumed that was before the 1900’s.

It is quite possible that the Emery was a coaching inn offering rooms for travellers, as the Old Bristol Rood did run right past this building and down to join the Weston Road (now the A370) and the area by the Inn was known as Crossways.

General Notes

Skittle Alley was added around 1925

Before licensing laws came in to force during the 1st World War it was said that the pub was open when the window shutters were opened by the land lord.

A Boxing Day hunt was held at the Brent Knoll Inn until the M5 was built (late 60’s) as then the Hunt was too close to the motorway.  The Hunt was run by the Weston Harriers which become Weston & Banwell Harriers. 

In the 1970’s Whitbread management did not think it was right to use Brent in the name of the Inn, so the signage on the building then stated Knoll Inn only - the licence remained always in the full Brent Knoll Inn name - this was the case until 1997 when the signage was changed back too it including the word Brent.

Wedding receptions where held at the Inn by landlady Irene Bees, as there was no other place in that time offering such catering facilities in the village.  Brent House was yet to open.

The British Legion held meetings and their annual dinner at the Inn.

The field opposite known as Brown’s Ground (then owned by Ken Popham) was used for the Harvest Home for a number of years and the Inn provided refreshments.

Family Ownership : 1900 / 2000+

George Watkins and Florence Watkins - brother & sister came to the Brent Knoll Inn on the 26th March 1913.

Then the pub was passed through the following members of the family from 1913 to 2009 some 96 years later.

Thomas Bees (DoB : 1874 ? - died 1957) Married Florence Watkins and in the 1920’s took over the running of the Pub.

Their son Robert Bees (DoB : 15 March 1910) went on to marry Irene Jess (maiden name ?) (DoB: 14 February 1921) in 1943.  (Jess first visited the pub on Christmas Day 1940)

Their only child was Robert Thomas Bees (DoB: 19 February 1947)

The pub transferred from Thomas Bees to Robert Bees senior in 1950

The son Robert (best known as Bob) lived in the pub for 62 years from his birth to March 2009

Bob did train for his own trade and started working, but in 1969 his father had a health issue which led to Bob starting to then help run the pub

Bob then stopped his main day job to help his mother Irene run the pub

By 1977 Bob was a business partner with his mother Irene in running the pub

Irene Bees retired from the pub and lived in the village at Westwood house on Brent Road

As of 1992 Bob was the sole licensee and run the pub to 16th March 2009 when he retired, so came to an end his family’s association with the Brent Knoll Inn.


Thank you to Bob Bees for providing so much of this information.





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