The historic village pub with an old dungeon within walking distance of Bristol

One of the rooms used to be the village magistrates court and troublemakers stayed in the dungeon below

Most village pubs proudly show off their history but few can match the heritage of The Angel at Long Ashton, a short walk from Ashton Court.

Once known as the Church House and used for parish meetings, the pub dates from 1495 and was a gift to the church by the local lord of the manor, Sir John Choke. In the 15th century, it was used for church festivals, with locals enjoying cake and ale.

The small room to the right of the bar - still called the ‘Smoke Room’ even though smoking was banned from pubs 16 years ago - was the village magistrates court, with any minor offenders dispatched to the vaulted cellars below.

Apparently, the troublemakers rested on stone beds in the cellar where the barrels of beer now cool.

You can still see the entrance to this makeshift dungeon from the cobbled courtyard and former stables at the back, where the original saddle hooks are still on display and the horses’ drinking troughs are now used for flowers.

Once called The Sign of The Angel, the pub has retained its original oak roof and the outbuildings are Grade II-listed due to their historical and architectural interest.

The Angel is a popular pitstop with muddy-booted Ashton Court walkers and well supported by local residents.

Step inside the pub and there are plenty of original beams, wooden window shutters, heavy oak doors and a huge fireplace which still provides the main heating for this ancient pub.

The Angel is still heated by a huge real fire

I grabbed a seat in the blue tartan-carpeted Smoke Room, next to one of the dimpled windows that ensures privacy from the outside world.

The walls of the pub are covered with black and white photos of the pub back in the day, and village characters.

Beams are dotted with horse brasses and tongue-in-cheek signs. One says ‘lost wife and dog - reward for dog’, another reads ‘flogging will cease when morale improves’.

The Angel Inn at Long Ashton dates from the 15th Century

On an icy midweek lunchtime, the pub was reasonably quiet, with a small huddle of regulars at the bar, although a succession of wakes for local people has meant The Angel has had a busy start to the year.

“People are dying off around here,” said one regular to the landlord, whose deadpan response was simply: “Yeah, it’s a plan by the council - I think they put something in the water … or the beer!”

He was, of course joking. Well, about the beer at least, as the quality is excellent. My pint of clear and fresh Otter Ale was in tip top condition. Other real ales on offer were Bass, Old Speckled Hen, Tribute and Doom Bar.

Cider drinkers also get plenty of choice, with Blackthorn Dry, Thatchers Gold and Haze, and Cheddar Valley on draught.

Although I didn’t spot anybody ordering food on this occasion, the pub serves reasonably priced meals lunchtimes and evenings, with ham, egg and chips; beef chilli and rice, and vegetable lasagne among the choices.

A historic village inn on the edge of the city, The Angel offers the best of both worlds. As pubs go, you could say it’s heavenly and I would have happily stayed there all afternoon.

The Angel, 172 Long Ashton Road, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9LT.