Sort file:- Maidstone, December, 2021.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Thursday, 23 December, 2021.


Earliest 1826-


Latest 1890s

Ashford Road (King Street Pigot's Directory 1832-34)


Map 1868

Above map 1868. Showing the "Artichoke Inn" before the railway. The Ashford Road shown in Yellow, the river in Blue and the "Artichoke" land in Green.

Maidstone map including railway

Above map shown just after the railway was built through the area.

Map 2021

Above Google map 2021, showing an overlay of the rough location of the "Artichoke" in Green, road is Yellow and railway line in Red.


The pub closed some time in the 1890s and it was said that licensee at the close, a Michael Field had been at the pub for over 50 years.

One route to the pub from the top of King Street was via a footpath, through a five bar gate, known as the Artichoke Gate.

This pub has also been addressed as being in Boxley in some of the directories between 1862 and 1874.

Looking at the maps it looks like the pub was removed when the railway line came through, but I'm not sure of the date of that yet, the map of 1868 doesn't show a line there, although Maidstone East station opened in 1874, and I do still have licensees mentioned at the pub till the 1890s, if this is indeed correct.


Kent Gazette, 30 August 1836.

About 3 weeks ago, a man name Barden was sitting in the taproom of the "Artichoke" public house, near Maidstone, when two drunken fellows were fighting. In the scuffle he was knocked off his seat with such violence, that he expired on Saturday week after great suffering.


Globe, (From the Maidstone Gazette.) Wednesday 4 September 1844.

The Fratricide at Weavering.

An inquest was held on Tuesday last at the "Artichoke Inn," Boxley, before J. N. Dudlow, Esq., on the body of Edward Weeks, age 24.

Robert Greene, ostler at the "Artichoke" deposed that on Saturday evening, the 24th instant, John Weeks came into the taproom, and had part of two pints of beer. He had had some beer previous to that on the same evening. Shortly after he had been in the room the second time, he drew a knife from his trousers pockets, and said he had got it sharpened, and that he should rip somebody's _____ guts up. Some time after he said, "He owed brother Ned a spite, and _____ his _____ heart if he would not pay it him." He then sat down for about a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes, and said nothing to anybody. He then got up and went out of the tap-room followed by Thomas Britter, who shut the door. He was not quite sober, and made a bit of a reel when he went out of the tap-room.

By a juror:- I have known John for four or five years. he is a very hot-tempered sort of a chap. I saw him come in, but cannot say whether he was sober or not.

Thomas Britter, of Weavering Street, tailor, sworn:- On Saturday evening last I went to the "Artichoke," at about 10 o'clock. About an hour afterwards I saw John Weeks in the tap-room. I did not hear him say anything. He asked me if I was going home. I replied "Yes," and he said "Come along." He went out first, and I followed him. It was about 11:30 as near as I can recollect. When we got outside I put my hand upon his flag-basket and said, "How is this Jack - no marketing things to-night? He replied, that he did not mean to carry anymore home; all he earned and got he should have in his own guts, and should not work to keep other people. He then said, "There is Mr. Ned, d____ his eyes, I could transport him, but he cannot me; _____ his eyes, he always hated me from his birth." I said that was all nonsense, he fancied it. He then said, "I have had two or three clouts of the head, and I do not mean to have any more. _____ his eyes, I have got a good knife in my pocket, and I mean using of that." We then had some conversation on other things, until we reached the top of the hill by Turkey Mill, when he said, "If anybody interrupts me tonight, I have a good knife in my pocket; I shall use that." I replied, that I had a razor, and should use that. After some time he said, "I am turned out of doors, and have no where to go." I replied, "You can go home if you choose." He made me no answer to that. He then sat down by the gate of Mr. Stoneham's farmyard. I said "You had better get over the gate and go into the lodge," as it was raining. It was then about 12:05. I bade him good night, and saw him no more. I left him at the bottom of Weavering Street, and about 100 yards from his house. He did not show me the knife at any time.

Robert Green recalled:- The knife now produced by the constable is the same that John drew from his pocket.

Grace Weeks deposed:- I live at Weavering Street, and am 27 years old. The deceased, who was 24 years old, was my brother, and lived with my mother and myself. Deceased went to bed when we did, at about 9 o'clock on Saturday night. He was quite sober. About 12:15 o'clock I heard my brother John come home. The door was not fastened, and he let himself in. When he came up stairs he appeared very quarrelsome, but deceased said nothing to him. He continued quarrelling until a little past 1 o'clock. I got up, partly dressed myself, went down stairs, and got a light. Deceased came down stairs to me, partly dressed, and put his shoes on. John was up stairs on the bed, but not undressed. Deceased said to him, "f you want to come down stairs, and let us have it out." I told them not to make a noise until daylight. John came down. I got between them and pushed one one away and the other the other. I did not see anything in John's hand at the time. They passed behind me and met. In turning round I saw John's left hand around deceased neck, and deceased's right arm around John's neck. Deceased's left hand was grasping John's right-hand, in which was an open knife. I said, "Oh, he has got a knife," and deceased immediately said he was stabbed. I took the knife from John's hand, and went and hid it away. It was a clasp knife. The knife produced is the same. I afterwards gave it to the constable. I did not see the wound or any blood. Deased then went out of the front room, and lay down on the ground. John wished someone to be called. I went next door and called Mr. Goodhugh. While I was calling him I heard deceased express a wish for some water, which John went and fetched. John was not satisfied with my calling, and he also came and called Goodhugh, and wished me to go for a medical gentleman, which I did, leaving John with the deceased. It was about 2:20 when I arrived at Mr. Powers. When I returned it was near 3 o'clock. Mr. Lepine and another person were with deceased. But came back shortly afterwards. I did not observe which way he went. He left home at about 6 o'clock on Sunday morning, and I have not seen him since. I do not know what victuals he took with him. He took no clothes but those he had got on. The witness, who is described on all hands as a young woman of exemplary character, and as having been much attached to the deceased, was here so overcome by her feelings, that she was obliged to be removed from the room.

James Joseph power, surgeon, of Maidstone, sworn:- I have this day made a post-mortem examination of the deceased, and traced the external wound through the covering of the intestines into the bladder. The depth of the wound was about 2 inches and a half from the entrance. The external breadth of the wound was about one-and-a-half, and was such a wound as the knife now produced would have caused.

The jury after a short consultation, returned a verdict of wilful murder against John Weeks.

The Fratricide Weeks.

This person has not yet been found, and it is reported that an application is about to be made to the Secretary of Stat for reward to be offered for his apprehension. The unfortunate victim of this ungovernable temper was buried on Sunday at Boxley, amidst a very large attendance of people.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 10 June 1851.

Monday. (Before E. Burton Esq.)

Thomas Adgies, 55, paper-maker, a native of Scotland, was charged with having, on Monday, the second inst. forged a document, whereby he was entitled to relief from the Papermakers' Society, and by which he defrauded Mr. Field, of the "Artichoke Inn," Boxley, of 2s. and two quarts of beer.

The prisoner was apprehended by Superintendent Dunne on Saturday, and he was fully committed for trial at the next assizes.


Maidstone Telegraph, Saturday 13 March 1869.


(The following appeared in our latest edition of last week).

Before dawn on Sunday a rumour was current that a diabolical murder had been perpetuated on the Ashford Road. As the report spread great excitement and consternation prevailed throughout the town, and before eight o'clock hundreds were on the spot where the deed had been perpetrated.

From what can be gathered amid the excitement at appears that shortly after twelve o'clock two brothers on the name of Knowles, employed at Turkey paper mills left the mills to proceed to their home at Bearstead, and when between the entrance leading to the mills and a heap of stones laying on the right, about 200 yards from the mill, they discovered the body of a man lying in the middle of the road bleeding from the face, with a bundle lying under the body. They immediately retraced their steps to the mill and gave alarm, when Mr. Tovet and a man named Thomas Sunnucks accompanied them back to the spot where they had seen the body lying. Upon their arrival, the bundle, which had been under the body, was missing. Upon examination the man appeared quite dead. One of the lads recognised deceased as John Finn, and expressed himself to that effect; stating that if he was correct the deceased was in the habit of carrying a peculiar purse, which, upon examining the pocket of the murdered man, they found the purse described. All doubt was then at an end. Thomas Sunnucks went direct to the Maidstone police station and gave information to Inspector Hills, who was on duty at the time, and who accompanied Sunnucks back to where the body was found, and ordered its removal to the "Artickoke Inn."

Near the body was found several pieces of paper and other articles on the road, covered with blood. Mr. Furber, surgeon, was summoned, and soon after arrived. Upon examination of the body he found the deceased had been shot under the left jaw, the contents of the weapon taking an upward direction. Superintendent Ovenden of the Kent County Constabulary was appraised of the offence, who, with Superintendent Barnes immediately set the police to work to discover the perpetrator.

The deceased was a very respectable man of the name of John Finn, and apprentice to Mr. Bridgeland, tailor, King Street, residing with his father at Weavering Street, who is foreman to Mr. Bridgland.
It appears that the deceased went to his work as usual on Saturday till nearly eight o'clock when he left. During the evening he left the bundle at Mr. Knight's, tobacconist, Week Street, and afterwards went for a walk with his sweetheart, a young woman residing in Scott Street, Maidstone. At half-past nine or a quarter to ten he called at Mr. Knight's for his bundle and left with the intention of going home to Weavering Street. At five minutes to twelve he bid a man of the name of Smith, bricklayer, good night, at the corner of Queen Anne Road, and went down Albion Place to proceed to his residence at Weavering Street. At ten minutes or a quarter past twelve he was observed by four young men of the names of Alfred Jury, Isaiah Mason, Arthur Webster, and George Procter, at the bottom of Huntsman's Lane, going in the direction of Weavering Street. Being known to three of the four he was addressed by them, one of them catching hold of his arm by way of a joke. Another observed to him that he would not be home at ten o'clock that night, - the remark being prompted from the fact that the unfortunate young man had frequently in there company stated that he must be home at ten. The deceased replied, that if he was not home by ten he should be home sometime, and then feed them good night and passed on. Previous to that they have noticed the figure of a man in Huntsman's Lane, and when he was observed one of the lads jocosely observed "here is a vision." As the man approached them they said "good night," when he muttered something in reply. Finn at the time passed, when the man observed him and darted out of Huntsman's Lane, went after him; one of the lads exclaiming at the time "Why, he's following him," but they thought no more of the matter, and wended their way home. The lads noticed at the time deceased was carrying a bundle in his left hand.

During the day the whole of the bundle was recovered, the principal portion near Gidd's Pond; the remainder scattered along the road.

Upon the deceased was found a silver watch, braid chain, the purse alluded to above, containing a watch key, a half crown, a florin, one shilling, sixpence, a threepenny piece, and two pence, in coppers, two handkerchiefs, some papers, poetry, and letters. If robbery had been the object of the perpetrator he must have been frustrated by the arrival of the brothers Knowles.

From the description given by the lads who saw the man follow the deceased, he appears to be a man of about 5 feet 8 inches, dressed in dark clothes, with a high hat.

It was rumoured at first that the deceased had been cut across the face with a bill-hook, but that appears to be incorrect. It was also surmised that he had been shot from the other side of the wall of Mr. Whatman's park; that also could not have occurred, for from an examination of the wound and an investigation of the spot the pistol must have been fired close to the deceased. The deceased must have been walking towards Weavering Street, when the murderer stepped close up to his left side and fired his weapon under his left jaw, a little from the rear of the murdered man, who appeared to have reeled from the footpath into the road, and then fell with his face towards Maidstone.

It has been conjectured that the murdered man had been mistaken for some other person, but if the man who followed him was the perpetrator of the crime this could not have been, as he had ample opportunity of knowing his victim from the long-distance he must have walked with him from the Huntsman's Lane to the place where he dispatched his object. Jealousy has also been suggested as the cause for the commission of the crime, but we are informed upon reliable authority that not the slightest ground exists for such a conjecture. When the deceased left the man Smith, and when seen by the lads alluded to above he was perfectly sober and in good spirits.

The crime at present is involved in mystery. Superintendent Ovenden with the county constabulary, and Superintendent Barnes, of the Maidstone force have been actively engaged in trying to discover the perpetrator of this most heartless and wanton murder.

Not the slightest cause for the commission of the offence can be conceived; the only one offering itself is that of plunder. The deceased is a young man of about 20 years, of age, much respected by all those who knew him, and a member of Court Star, of Foresters, in Maidstone.

Announcement of the murder was made during the day from the pulpits of various places of worship, which only tended to increase the excitement. The spot where the crime was committed was visited by thousands in course of the day, eagerly gazing at a large pool of blood where the body had been lying.

About twelve o'clock a noise was heard at Mr. Carpenter's rabbit hutch; and alarm was raised and two men was seen jump over the wall and running in the direction of Turkey Mill.

During Sunday two men were apprehended on suspicion, but could not be identified, and they were liberated.

Coroner's inquest. Tuesday.

An enquiry was opened this afternoon at three o'clock, at the "Artichoke Inn," Ashford Road, before J. N. Dudlow, Esq., touching the death of John Finn, Tailor, who was found shot, on Saturday night last.

The following were the jury, Captain John Hollingworth (foreman), Andrew Crawford, Henry, Thomas, jun., Jesse Killick, John Roberts, Charles Foster, Thomas Betts, jun., John Hayward, John Hickmott, John Treadwell, and Richard Catt.

Captain Ruxton, of the K.C.C. was in attendance.

The jury having been sworn proceeded to view the body which was lying in a stable adjoining the house.

The corps presented a very sickening spectacle, the lower part of the left eye of the mouth being completely shot away. Several teeth were missing and the face completely black.

On the return of the jury, the coroner said there would be no doubt in their minds that a foul murder had been committed. The question was as to who committed it. He was afraid there was not sufficient evidence to warrant the implication of anyone. The inquiry, would, no doubt, not be so satisfactory as they could wish. It would be their duty to discover by what hand the weapon was fired whereby the deceased met his death. After hearing the evidence, they would have to decide whether they would return a verdict or adjourn the case for a future hearing.

Mr. Augustus Finn deposed:- I live at Weavering Street, in the parish of Boxley.

Coroner:- Have you seen the body.

Witness:- I have not.

Coroner:- Then you cannot swear to identification. Have you any objections.

Witness:- I would rather not. But if it is requested I will see him.

Witness then went and viewed the body in company with Mr. Furber.

Captain Ruxton proposed to call evidence to prove a murder had been committed.

Witness deposed:- The deceased was my son. I identify him by Mark on his arm. He was a tailor by trade. He was 19 years last birthday. I last saw him Alive about half-past seven on Saturday night in our workshop. He was then in his usual health and spirits; never better. He left a few moments afterwards.

Edward James Knowles:- I was 15 years last August. I know the nature of an oath. On Sunday morning about half-past twelve (midnight) I was going along the Ashford Road from Maidstone in company with my brother Thomas. I was walking on the footpath about a stones throw from Turkey Mill lodge, when I saw something lying in the road. My brother came up immediately, and we struck a light, when we noticed that it was the body of a man lying with his head towards a path, in a pool of blood. He appeared to be quite dead. A bundle was lying by his side. We then went to the lodge gate for assistance. Upon our return the bundle was gone. The deceased was bleeding from a large wound near the mouth. We heard no one about, nor saw anyone. The deceased was afterward removed to the "Artichoke."

Captain Hollingsworth:- Did you hear any report as you came out of Maidstone.

Witness:- No, sir.

A juror:- You are quite positive there was a bundle.

Witness:- Quite sure.

Thomas W. Knowles:- I am brother of the last witness. I am a labourer, residing at Bearsted. I was with my brother (the last witness) going from Maidstone, between twelve and one o'clock on Sunday morning, when we found the deceased lying dead between the Turkey Lodge and the stone recess. He was lying on his stomach, with his face rather inclined towards Maidstone. He appeared to be quite dead. The body was lying in a pool of blood, which appeared to have issued from a wound in the mouth. He was partially lying on a bundle, which was between his legs. We went for assistance, and upon our return the bundle was gone.

By a juror:- I should not think we were gone more than ten minutes. I'm sure there was a bundle. It was of light appearance.

By Captain Hollingworth:- I heard no report of firearms. No one passed us as we went out of Maidstone. I did not recognise him at the time. The remark was passed that it was John Finn, but I could not believe it was him, as the features was swollen.

The parcel was then produce, in a light blue handkerchief, covered with blood.

Frederick Lewis Smith, of Ashley Street, Maidstone:- I knew the deceased well. I left him about five minutes past twelve on Saturday night. I first saw him about half-past seven. He left me about eight o'clock. He came to me about twenty minutes past ten at the "Fountain Inn," Week Street, and remained with me till just before the clock struck twelve. I walked with him at King Street till we got to the corner of Queen Anne Road, where I partied with him. He went up the Ashford Road. He was quite sober.

Captain Hollingworth:- A study fellow?

Witness:- Yes; very steady. He was in his usual health and spirits. I saw nobody about. No one followed him then.

Be Mr. Betts:- Our conversation was of a friendly and personal character.

Alfred Jury:- I live at 81, Union Street, Maidstone. I am a labourer working at Mr. Hollingworth. I know Finn very well. I saw him on Sunday morning between ten minutes and a quarter-past twelve, near the turnpike opposite the "Artichoke." He was coming along the road when I caught hold of his arm. I said you won't be home at ten o'clock tonight. We had been to see one of the boiler makers home, who lodges here. I saw a man in Huntsman's Lane. The deceased went straight along the Ashford Road. The man, a stranger, follow the deceased. We passed the man in Huntsman's Lane. None of my mates knew him. He was dressed in dark clothes; standing about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches. He was a thin respectable looking man about 25 years. He was standing in the hedge opposite Mr. Bolton's house; close up with his back to the hedge, I made a remark to one of my friends, "Lookout; there's a vision in the hedge."

By Mr. Hollingworth:- The man stood in Huntsman Lane, and when Finn passed he followed Finn close up. I heard no report of fire arms. I could not say how far we were from him. My mates were fifteen yards behind us. Finn had a bundle of light blue under his left arm. We did not speak to the man till we got to the bottom.

Captain Ruxton:- We have got evidence of the report of a gun being heard about the time.

Ann Carpenter, wife of George Carpenter, said:- My husband is a labourer, residing at the Lodge Gate. I heard the report of firearms about 20 minutes past 12 o'clock on Saturday night, in the direction of Turkey Mill. It was a very loud report. I heard nothing more after that. All was perfectly still. I know the spot where the deceased was found. I have not seen it. The report appeared to come from that direction. Previous to hearing the report I saw two men on the garden, when they got over the wall. My son immediately ran out and shouted out "Police, murder." They got over the wall at the back of the house. One was a tall thin man dressed in dark clothes. The other was a stouter man. The taller one had a low hat on. My son says they had both low hats. The short of one had a white slop. They ran in the direction of Turkey Mill.

Jury, recalled:- Could not recollect what sort of a hat the man he saw in Huntsman's Lane head on.

George Henry Furber, surgeon of Maidstone:- I was called to see deceased on Sunday morning, at a quarter to two o'clock. I found the body in the stables at the "Artichoke Inn." I examined him externally, but found no marks upon his body. Upon the face was a wound on the left-hand side of the lower lip. It was a large, ragged wood, measuring 4 inches by 2 1/2 inches. The wound was apparently made by a gun or pistol shot. I afterwards made a post mortem examination. On the right side of the face, near the eye, there was a slight abrasion, evidently caused by falling. On the upper lip, on the right hand side, there was a slight skin wound. On the left a similar but more extensive wound, which appeared to have been done by a sharp instrument. The edges of the wound were everted, ragged, and charred. The lower jaw was laid bare. The charring was evidently caused by the closeness of the firing of a gun or pistol. The lower jaw was also fractured between the first and second double teeth on the left side. The right hand portion was thrust back and overlapped by the left portion. The upper jaw, left side, was fractured near the middle line, and all the double teeth knocked out. From thence the wound took a horizontal direction backwards to the right hand side, and somewhat upwards, lacerating the top of the tongue, embedded in which were found several shots. The shots were number two or three. I gave the shots to Mr. Ovenden. I afterwards took out the brain, and found it uninjured, and the internal parts of the brain intact. The charge appeared to have distributed.

The shots were shown to the jury when one of them said they were number 5 shot.

Witness continued:- I afterwards found the principal part of the charge embedded under the left cheek. The shots were of the same description as those found in the tongue. The wadding used was brown paper. It appeared to be a wound inflicted by pistol; fired off close to the face, when standing and directly at him. I found a trace of the brown paper wadding. Death must have been instantaneous.

By the Forman:- The sharp wound or cut I alluded to was doubtless caused by the great force of the explosion. The tongue and tissues were blackened by powder. If it had been fired from a distance the charge would have been distributed. The edges of the wound were singed by the fire.

This concluded the evidence.

The room was then cleared for the jury to consider their verdict, and on the readmission of the reporters the Coroner said that they had returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder against some person or person's unknown."

Several facts in connection with the case were not brought out in the investigation.



MASTERS Abigal 1826-28+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

WESTOVER George 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

FIELD Michael 1839-81+ (age 74 in 1881Census)


FIELD Michael 1881-90s+



Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-