One of Wiltshire’s oldest pubs has suddenly closed – after serving pints for three centuries.

The Bell Inn at Great Cheverell, between Devizes and West Lavington, has joined the growing list of pubs that have called last orders after the Covid-caused lockdown hammered trade.

The Bell, a free house which was formerly a Wadworth pub, has stood in the centre of the much-sought-after village since 1740.

On Wednesday a skip outside the pub was piled with carpets and fittings and workmen loading out other furnishings said the building was to be sold. The phone line to the pub has been disconnected and its website says it is closed.

Wiltshire Times: The Bell in better daysThe Bell in better days

It is not known whether any would-be publicans will take on the inn or if it will become a private home.

The closure is a blow to residents, for whom the nearest 'local' is now The Churchill Arms at West Lavington or the newly-opened George and Dragon gastropub at Erlestoke.

It will also be a disappointment for visitors to Wiltshire who highly praised The Bell on TripAdvisor, posting recommendations like “a fab place to stay, food to die for” and “a great place to stay in a traditional village”.

The effects of the lockdown plus the popularity of people buying cheaper alcohol in supermarkets has led to 444 pubs closing in England and Wales in the past year, with 2,277 calling “time” for good since 2018.