A Dartmoor pub that was destroyed by fire has re-opened in time for Christmas.
And the best present for landlord Richard Edlmann and his wife Ellie has been the arrival of newborn Anna.
The baby was born just five days before the Ring of Bells in North Bovey opened on December 10.
And the first punters to wet the baby’s head in the newly restored inn were the locals who rallied round when disaster hit.
The Ring of Bells in North Bovey is open for Christmas. Pictured: Richard and Ellie Edlmann and baby Anna.
Mrs Edlmann said: “It’s fair to say that Anna was the youngest guest there.”
The 13th century inn was left a charred shell after flames ripped through the thatch and historic timbers in January 2016.
Fire at The Ring of Bells Inn, North Bovey in January 2016
More than 70 firefighters were on the scene at the height of the blaze which, dampened by a white suppressant foam, seemed to make a snowy Christmas scene of the picturesque village.
Now, the pub has undergone a £1.5million rebuild with the pub and restaurant, seating 70, fully open and the five guest rooms expected to be completed by February.
Many of the original features in the Ring of Bells, North Bovey have been retained
Mr Edlmann said: “To be open in time for Christmas was so important to us, it has put the heart back into the village and the arrival of our daughter has been the very best part of it.”
The bar and snug at the Ring of Bells in North Bovey, open for Christmas.
The Ring of Bells in North Bovey has a new chef and team of 10 staff
“Devon is full of people at this time of year and we really wanted to catch that trade. Guests from Bovey Castle and people on their family holidays stop in for a pint or lunch on their winter walks. We want to be part of their Christmas.”
The Ring of Bells in North Bovey is open for Christmas.
More than 400 people were invited to the village party to celebrate the re-opening with a hog roast and the first pint being pulled by Lucy Thomas, from insurers NFU Mutual, who covered the rebuild costs.
Charred beams have been retained and reinforced as part of the history of the building at the Ring of Bells, North Bovey (Image: Mike Rego)
The roof timbers have been replaced with oak using traditional methods at the Ring of Bells (Image: Mike Rego)
Mr Edlmann, 37, said: “It means so much to everyone to have it open again. We even had a blessing from the vicar and a peal of bells from the church.
“It is so nice to be a pub that’s open rather than a pub that’s been closed for months.”
Mr Edlmann described how the community rallied round when the fire broke out, helping to set up a makeshift shelter for firefighters in the village hall and bringing cups of tea.
The thatched roof of the Ring of Bells in North Bovey was completely destroyed in the fire of January 2016
He recalled how he was first alerted to the fire by a neighbour who saw smoke coming from the thatch.
He said it was obvious within a few minutes that the fire would be utterly devastating.
Together with Bristol-based conservation architect Paul Richold of Architecton, building team at Bramhill and Howill and master thatcher Stuart Arthur, the Ring of Bells has been rebuilt using traditional practices using cob, oak timbers and horse hair render.
Many features, including a medieval archway, have been uncovered and the 16th century beams that were charred in the fire have been strengthened and retained.
Mr Edlmann said: “It was so important to us to restore it properly, retain the features that make the character of the place and use the traditional methods.”
The Ring of Bells in North Bovey. The sign now has six bells instead of seven.
The pub has a new team of 10 staff and a new pub sign which, eagle eyed punters will notice, now has six bells instead of seven.
Mr Edlmann explained: “Every time any bell ringers would come in they would say a peal of bells is either six, eight or ten bells but never seven. So we had to put that right. We still have the old sign – it is part of the pub’s history”
Source: Devon live