In the absence of written historical records this can provide possibly the most accurate date for a structure.
The website for the describes the oldest documentary evidence for the building as being from the court rolls for 1641-89 for properties in Angel Row, where there is an entry for The Bell from 1647.
From the dendrochronology dating, it appears fairly certain that the oldest parts of the current Bell Inn date from between 14 AD.
suggested that the current building evolved from two adjacent earlier pubs from perhaps the late 1300's, although no documentary evidence for this is given.
The oldest building which is currently a pub (or Inn) and has the oldest history of being a pub (or Inn), where a significant part of the original above-ground structure still exists as part of the existing building”., which is no longer available, described how the building had originally been two separate buildings – a pub called 'The Angel' on the left (as you look at the current pub front from the street) and another pub called 'The Bell' on the right, with the current doorway marking the original alleyway between the two buildings.
This was said to be shortly after the outbreak of Bubonic plague in 1349.
If this is true, much rebuilding work has been carried out since, so that whatever might be left of these original two buildings (if anything) is now merged into the current structure.The name 'The Bell' (and presumably also 'The Angel') is said to derive from the Angelus bell associated with a Carmelite Friary said to have been established on nearby Friar Lane in the late 1200's gives a date of 'around 1420' for the original construction of The Bell derived from Dendrochronology (dating of timber by tree-ring evidence), but this work is not referenced and this date is probably slightly in error (see below).This same source suggests that the original building was a refectory for one of the nearby religious establishments, but no evidence is given for this.The Bell has extensive caves beneath it, many of the accessible, upper ones being used as the pub cellars.The age of these caves is not known, although 'Norman' origins have been claimed (with no evidence given) provides a date for timber, based on a study of the tree-ring data from a core sample extracted from the wood.An expert dendrochronologist will sample the most appropriate timbers of a building for testing.