Page Updated:- Monday, 14 August, 2023.


Earliest 1832-

Bird in Hand

Closed 2015

105 Heath Road (Railton's Row 1861)


Bird in Hand

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Alan Stovell.

Bird in Hand

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Alan Stovell.

Bird in Hand

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Alan Stovell.

Bird in Hand

Above photo date unknown, by kind permission of Eric Hartland.

Bird in Hand

Above postcard, date unknown from Jen Prior.

Bird in Hand 1950

Above postcard, 1950, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Bird in Hand

Above photo pre 2010 kindly sent by Les Swaffer.

Bird in Hand 2010

Above photo date 2010, by kind permission of Eric Hartland.

Bird in Hand sign 2002Bird in Hand sign 1987

Above sign left June 1986, sign right 1987.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Bird in Hand sign 2002

Above sign March 2002. With thanks from Brian Curtis.

Bird in Hand 2015

Above photo 2015.


I have also found reference to a "Bird in Hand" addressed as Maidstone which goes back to 1779 and this may well be the same premises as that incorrectly addressed house.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser 11 November 1890.


10 Acres of Valuable Ash and Chestnut Plantation, situate near "Bird-in-Hand Inn," Coxheath, East Farleigh, belonging to J. R. Coles, Esq., and 4 Acres at Stocked-lane, East Farleigh, belonging to T. H. Busbridge, Esq.


Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser 08 December 1939.


"The Bird in the Hand" is a most re-markable pub. They dispense good fellowship, wits, excitement. And sell beer at 3 1/2d. a half-pint. John Drinkwater's amusing comedy, which takes the public-house sign as its title, is the attraction at the Tonbridge Repertory Theatre this week, and neither the play nor the playwright needs much introduction. The innkeeper's old-fashioned principles about young people marrying out of their "class," his daughter's stubborn determination to follow her own inclinations, and the final satisfactory settlement through the good offices of Mr. Godolphin, K.C., and two other visitors to "The Bird in Hand." This week there are two newcomers to the County Players, Geoffrey Quaife, who plays the part of the brother With considerable charm, and Patrick Troughton, who infuses plenty of vitality into the part of Cyril Beverley. Once again Keith Lorraine steals the limelight with a side-splitting character study of Mr. Blanquet, who travels in sardines, and has a nice line in philosophy. Michael Gwynn makes the best of a rather unsympathetic part as the girl's father, and Katherine Page gives a good impression of a hen protecting her chicks. John McCallum brings a sound legal Atmosphere to his part of the K.C.


From the, 4 February 2005.

Teenager cleared over pub car park death.

A TEENAGER has been acquitted of killing a man after his trial was dramatically halted by a judge at Maidstone Crown Court.

Jimmy Williams had been accused of throwing the single punch that led to the death of pub customer Graham Wales. (Picture left)

Graham Wales

But the case collapsed after the evidence of the two main prosecution witnesses failed to reach the standard required.

One of the witnesses, Sean Dunn, was treated as hostile by the prosecution when he failed to repeat vital evidence he had given to the police. Mr Dunn was held in the cells at Maidstone Crown Court for two days because he refused to attend voluntarily.

Judge Warwick McKinnon told Dunn that consideration was being given to prosecute him for perjury.

“That is why I have decided not to take any further action with regard to your plain and wilful refusal to answer the summons to attend court when required,” he said.

Directing the jury to find 18-year-old Williams not guilty of manslaughter, the judge said: “This is a sorry state of affairs.”

Alan Kent, prosecuting, had said that Mr Wales collapsed after he was punched by Williams, then 17, at the "Bird In Hand" pub in Coxheath, near Maidstone, on July 24 last year. He was put on a life support machine and died four days later.

Alan Kent, prosecuting, said it was accepted that Williams did not intend to kill Mr Wales, 42, or cause him serious bodily harm. "If he did, it would be murder," he said.

The teenager, of Ringden Avenue, Tonbridge, denied manslaughter, claiming that he did not punch Mr Wales.

After Mr Dunn was treated as a hostile witness on the second day of the trial, Mr Kent told the jury that he was offering no further evidence against Williams.

The prosecution, he said, relied solely on the evidence of Mr Dunn and Adam Harwood.

“They were the only two people who gave an account to the police that they had seen this defendant strike Mr Wales to the face, causing him to fall to the ground and, thus, causing his death,” he said.

“Without their evidence, the Crown simply did not have a case against the defendant. In view of the evidence given by Adam Harwood yesterday and Sean Dunn today, there is no evidence that this defendant was the person responsible for the blow.”

Mr Kent said Mr Wales’s sister and brother-in-law had been in court for both days and his father had watched proceedings on Wednesday.

“It is with very great regret for them that they cannot see justice done, but I cannot advance the Crown case any further,” he said.

Judge McKinnon told jurors that such a situation was “very rare indeed, that jury’s are unable to bring their good judgement to bear on material in a case because it may be the case that material is being improperly withheld from them”.

He added: “It may be that some time in the future a formal decision will have to be made as to whether, in fact, that has been the case. No doubt, you will have formed your own conclusion as to what you have made of the last two witnesses.

“Quite plainly, there is not any evidence fit to be left to you to decide whether the defendant did it. There is not any evidence at all that he did it.”


According to information found on the closed pubs website, although the pub closed in 2010 it was redecorated and was open for business again later that year, however further information suggested the pub was closed again in October 2013. The photo shown above dated 2015 suggests that it again opened for some time in that year.

I am informed by Les Swaffer that the "Bird in Hand" has been pulled down and a supermarket with a pub built in but they run out of Money. Further details required please.


Bird in Hand location 2016

Above Google image, July 2016, showing the location of the former "Bird in Hand."

Bird in Hand location 2019

Above Google image, May 2019, showing the location of the former "Bird in Hand."



SANDS George 1832-51+ (also grocer age 54 in 1851Census) Pigot's Directory 1832-34

COLLINS Charles 1861-62+ (age 46 in 1861Census)

COLLINS Elizabeth 1874+

HICKSON Edward Joseph 1881-1903+ (also gamekeeper age 62 in 1891Census) Kelly's 1903

HICKSON Edward Joseph Beech 1913-20+

WICKENS Robert 1938+

STOVELL Wilfred Eric (Dink) & Audrey Irene Aug/1962-Aug/84


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


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


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