Thought to be named after the ancient Bell Inn which stood nearby, Bell Bar was a cluster of dwellings around this coaching inn on the Great North Road (United Kingdom) which used to pass through Bell Bar along what is now called Bell Lane. However in 1851 the route of this road (now the A1000 road) was altered to avoid the steep hill to the south of the hamlet and to avoid cutting through the grounds of Hatfield House. The hoped-for return on the considerable investment in these works never materialised, as within a few years the opening of the Great Northern Railway put an end to toll-paying long distance traffic. It was this diversion that explains the apparent discrepancy in Charles Dicken's account of Bill Sykes, on the run from London after murdering Nancy, who Dickens describes coming down the hill from the London road and finding the welcome sight of the Eight Bells Inn in Hatfield. Nowadays the Eight Bells is on a quiet cul-de-sac.