Sort file:- Maidstone, March, 2021.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1858-

Buffalo's Head

Latest ????

41 Wyatt Street /Shipley Street


Buffalo's Head

Above photo, date unknown.


The pub was classed as an ale house.


Local knowledge, further pictures, and licensee information would be appreciated.

I will be adding the historical information when I find or are sent it, but this project is a very big one, and I do not know when or where the information will come from.

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From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 16 February 1901. Price 1d.



The hearing of the petition presented against the return of the Liberal member for the borough of Maidstone, Mr. John Barker, by Mr. Fiennes Stanley W. Cornwallis, the Conservative candidate, at the General Election, was commenced on Monday before Justices Kennedy and Channell.

Mr. Dickens, K.C., Mr. Lewis Coward, S.C., and Mr. Percival Hughes appeared for the petitioner; while the respondent was represented by Mr. Gill, K.C., Mr. Charles Mathews, and Mr. S. Day.

The Sessions House was crowded by people from all parts of the county. The Clerk of the Court read the petition, which set forth that Mr. Barker won the seat by a majority of 38 by means which the petitioner characterised as amounting to bribery, tresting, and personation.

Mr. Dickens, in opening the case, said Mr. Barker was the founder and principal manager of John Barker and Co., of Kensington, London. The petitioner had been long known in the borough, and he had taken the liveliest interest in everything connected with it. It was from no petty desire of vindictiveness that he was endeavouring to upset the result of the election. But, unfortunately, the fight on the part of the Liberal Party had not been conducted in a fair manner, and information had come to the knowledge of petitioner upon which the charges were founded. One of the allegations was that Mr. Barker had induced someone to vote for him on the promise that he would buy the oats for his 300 horses from the voter in question. This was not a case of vulgar bribing by placing 10s. in a man's band, but it was an insidious form of bribery which would open the door—and a very wide door—to a system of corruption which would have a prejudicial effect upon the purity of electors in this country. There was ample evidence that people had received money in the different Committee rooms. In certain cases the names of people were not known, but this was inevitable under the circumstances. If, however, the Court took no cognizance of such cases, although the charges were substantiated by witnesses, bribery would become rampant. In another case a man was told that if he voted for Barker, “There would be a bit for him,” and later on the man was informed that he “could have a little bit on account.” (Laughter). He was sorry to say he had certain charges against Mr. Levi Barker, a brother of the respondent. Mr. Levi Barker, it would be shown in evidence, offered a man 10s. if he would vote for Barker, and 5s. more if Barker got in. The man said he was “hard up,” and could do with the money down—(laughter)—whereupon Mr. Levi Barker said, “You see I've only one arm, and if I don't keep my word may I lose the other.” He could not say whether the man got the money. (Laughter). On another occasion some men were huddled together in one of the Committee rooms, and Mr. Levi Barker said to them, “Why don't you men go and vote?” Why were they there unless it was that they were on the same errand as others in the passage, and were waiting to have their palms oiled? But undoubtedly the evidence hearing upon the story of the three men showed that their statements were likely to be true. On the question of the conveyance of voters, he might mention that before the election 17 carriages and 25 horses ware brought into the borough to convey voters to the poll. Of these Sir Walter Gilbey sent from Eleenbam Hall one carriage and three horses, and Sir James Blythe despatched from Stanstead two carriages and four horse. Ten of the carriages and 13 horses were sent by Mr. John Barker himself, who also paid 34 for their bait at different Hotels in Maidstone, and, of coarse, money had to be paid for the conveyance of the horses and carriages to Maidstone. The question arose under what category did this expenditure come? Under Sections 7 and 8 of the Corrupt Practices Prevention Act, it was laid down that no payment or contract for payment should for the purpose of voting or for the promotion of an election of the candidate at any election he made on account of the conveyance of voters to or from the poll, whether for the hiring of horses, or for railway fares, or otherwise. The Act was intended to prevent rich and enthusiastic supporters from flooding a constituency with voters living on the outskirts by the expenditure of large sums.

Evidence was then called.

Alfred Atkins, an engineer's fitter, said he knew Albert Turner, whom he met before the election. Turner said if witness could get a few “doubtfulls” he could offer them 7s. 6d. a piece. Subsequently witness found two “doubtfulls.” On the morning of the polling day he met Turner's son, who gave him four packets, each containing 7s. 6d. and 10s. out of a packet. Two of the men who received a packet each were named Jenner and Rollatt Cross.

Mr. Gill.— To whom did you first tell this story?

I never told it to anybody.

How is it you are here to-day?

Oh, I see I had a note from the Conservative agent, Mr. Potts.

Did you make a statement to him?


Were you asked about this, and did you say it was not true?

I did not say that. I made a statement to Mr. Bracher in the presence of Mr. Potts.

What was said about making a statement?

A paper was read to me, they said it would be better for me to make a statement. They said if I did so I would he more liable to be free.

Did they say that, if you made a statement, it would be all right for you?


And that is the reason you made the statement?


Edward Woollett, labourer, and Henry Jenner, painter, both said they knew the witness Atkins, and that they received 7s. 6d. each.

Jenner, cross-examined by Mr. Gill, said Mr. Potts had sent him a letter, and said it would he better for him to make some statement.

William Muggeridge, a packer, said he had known Turner for twenty years. Turner took part in politics on the Liberal side. On the day after the poll he saw Turner, who beckoned to him behind the bar in a public house, and gave him 10s.

Did he say anything to you when he gave you that money?

He said, “Don't forget Barker.” (Laughter).

Mr. Gill.—Have you ever said you made the statement in regard to Turner when you were under the influence of drink?

No. On the night of the poll I was insulted for being a Tory and playing in a Liberal band. I said I could prove otherwise.

Who insulted you?

Some prominent Liberals at the Liberal Club.

And did you then say you had been bribed as an answer to the insults?


You say you knew they were Liberals. How did you know that?

By their manners. (Laughter.) Witness added that the Conservatives seemed downhearted.

Mr. Gill— And you tried to cheer them up by saying you had been bribed.

Thomas Ring, a gas stoker, said on the day of the election a man named Martin, a paper maker, asked him what he wanted for voting for Barker. Witness said he wanted 10s. Martin gave him 1 2s. 6d., to be divided between him and two friends.

Mr. Matthews.— When did you first make this statement?

Witness.— I cannot remember. You must give us a chance. It it a long time back. (Laughter.)

Henry Starnes, ironmonger, spoke to seeing Ring receive money in the “Buffalo” public house.

Mr. Gill.— What took you to the “Buffalo?”

I saw the men go in and I followed them in.

You thought that if four men went into a public-house together it must be for something wrong. You were working for the Conservative Party?


Henry Ward, a labourer, stated that he was asked by Mr. Beale to vote for Barker, and he received 7s. 6d.

In cross-examination, Mr. Mathews put it to witness that he had made statements as to the time when he received the money from Mr. Beale which differed considerably.

Witness said he could not explain the matter.

Arthur Logan, an engine-driver, said on the day of the election Mr. Beale asked him whether he had voted. Witness was to have 10s. if he voted for Barker. He could not say who gave him the money.

Cross-examined: He received the money in a cab after he had voted. Mr. Beale was not there at the time. Witness added that he had been away for a holiday recently from Maidstone.

Mr. Mathews.— Have you been away alone?


Who took you away for a holiday?

A gentleman.

What gentleman?

Mr. Potts.

At whose expense have you been away?

I expect it was theirs. Not mine. (Laughter).

Where hare you been?

Dover. (Laughter).

Mr. Mathews.— Would you kindly tell as who were the rest of the party?

Witness gave several names. A Mr. Anscombe took them away. It was not until the 8th February that he first mentioned Mr. Beale's name.

Thomas Bray said just before the election he was in the hospital at the Coxheath Workhouse. Mr. Hewett, a butcher, one of the Guardians, went to him and said “I have come about your vote.” Witness said “I don't know who Barker is, but there will he no harm in giving him a vote to see what he is made of." (Laughter.) Witness and another inmate received 5s. each from Mr. Hewett in one of the Committee-rooms. Hewett said “You will each have another 5s. if Barker gets in.” (Laughter).

James Jury, the other inmate of the Infirmary spoke to the same point.

Mr. Gill.— You were quite ready to vote for Mr. Barker at the first?


Joseph George Rogers, an ostler at the “Bull Inn,” Maidstone, spoke to receiving from a Mr. Whiffln 5s. for voting for Mr. Barker, and another 5s. if Mr.

Barker got in.

Albert George Honey, another ostler, said Mr, Whiffin gave him 10s. saying “Here's half for you and half for Rogers.”

The Court then adjourned.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 16 February 1901. Price 1d.


The hearing was resumed on Tuesday.

Mr. George E. Wakefield, corn dealer, of Maidstone, said he carried on business with his three brothers, Charles, Frank, and John. Only Charles and Frank were voters. During the week before the election, Mr. Barker called at his shop with Mr. John Potter, Chairman of his Committee and a Magistrate for the Borough, and Mr. Foster Clark, also a prominent member of Mr. Barker's Committee. Mr. Barker said, “I have come to canvass your vote.” Witness replied, “I have no vote.” Mr. Barker said, “Your brothers have.” Whereupon witness observed, “It is not much use seeing them.” Mr. Barker said, “I should like to see them.” Witness fetched them, and one of his brothers said he hoped Mr. Barker was quite well. Mr. Barker replied, “I should be better if you would vote for me, which I feel sure you will do. I am not half a bad sort of fellow, you know. (Laughter.) Witness's brother said, “I don't wish you to go away with a wrong impression; because I will vote for Mr. Cornwallis, and I believe my brother Frank will, too.” Mr. Barker said he was sorry, and added that Mr. Cornwallis did not trade in Maidstone. Mr. Barker then said to witness's brother Charles, “You most come and spend a day with me at Bishop's Stortford. I think it will he a hard matter if I can't amuse you for a day. I can show you how we grow tomatoes by the ton, grapes by the ton, and strawberries at 30s. a pound—(laughter)—and if you are fond of horses I can show you a few good ones.” (Laughter.) He also said, “Come out for a drive with me to-morrow, I will put you behind a couple of good horses.” Later, a Mr. Potter said, “If you return Mr. Barker to Parliament you can have the whole of his trade. He keeps three hundred horses.” Mr. Barker remarked, “Yes, I do keep three hundred horses, and you may as well feed them as anyone else.” Subsequently, Mr. Barker gave an order for a truck load of the very best oats at 27s. a quarter— oats which witness had to obtain specially.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gill.— He made no notes at the time, but for all he said he had to rely upon his memory. The oats supplied were of very exceptional value, and he was aware that owners of valuable horses always bought the best.

Mr. Frank William Wakefield, brother of the last witness and a voter, gave practically the same evidence. Cross-examined by Mr. Gill: They had been talking about this matter for a long time past.

You find that talking about things make you remember them?


And the more you think about them the more you remember?

Yes. (Laughter.)

And I suppose you and your brothers assisted each other's memory. (Laughter.) Did one of you remember a little more than the others? (Laughter.)

We all remembered what took place.

Witness, in reply to farther questions, would not accept Counsel's suggestion that his brother first alluded to oats of greater value then those in the shop.

Mr. Charles F. Wakefold, another brother, also corroborated.

Mr. Epps, job and post master of Maidstone, said Mr. Barker called and asked for his vote. He said if he was successful he would probably live in Maidstone or the neighbourhood, and might give witness further support.

Mr. Gill at this point, rose and said that, having carefully considered the position, he and his learned friends realised that in order to successfully defend the petition it would he necessary to be able to meet the evidence in all the cases spoken to by the witness. Having communicated with the persons whose conduct had been called in question, he felt that what was alleged against them did actually take place. Having carefully considered the position of Mr. Herbert Turner, Mr. Whiffen, and Mr. Hewett, he and those with him round themselves in the difficulty that those gentlemen were technically in the position of agents to Mr. Barker with regard to the part they took in the election. Under the circumstances, they did not feel justified in keeping from the Court the knowledge that they would not be justified in calling numbers of witnesses on some of the issues which might probably be found in their favour when they could not defend certain other cases. They, therefore, decided that when they had heard the case against Mr. Barker they would tell the Court that they must accept the position, that they could not successfully defend the seat, and that the Petitioner must succeed. With regard to the case against Mr. Barker, that was a totally different matter. As to the two cases of Wakefield and Epps, Mr. Barker had s complete answer, and it was moat important that he should have an opportunity of answering them. Beyond that they did not feel justified in further contesting the case, because there was no possibility of their eventually succeeding on the petition.

Mr. Dickens.— Having regard to what my learned friend has said, our position is this: That we have attained our end, and we have succeeded on this petition. Of course, we are entirely in the hands of the Court as to what your lordships may direct. Naturally, from the point of view of practical common sense, we don't desire to spend a considerable time and add to the expense by proceeding with other charges, except so far as the Court may think that certain witnesses ought to have an opportunity of going into the box and telling their story in order to get their certificates, which they would be entitled to by adopting that course. There is only one other thing and that is the question of the illegal practice with respect to the carriages. I appreciated that when I was arguing it that that is, of course, a question of very consideiably difficulty. It may very well be that the gentlemen who took part in that did so in the belief—which I dare say is shared by a good many other people—that what they were doing was perfectly well within the law. It is only proper to tell the Court that we do not propose to press that unless your Lordships think we ought to do so. With regard to the rest of the case we are entirely in your Lordships' hands.

Mr. Justice Channell.— The matter which strikes me as important is that bribery was done in the Committee-rooms.

Mr. Justice Kennedy.— Do I understand that you have given all the evidence on that point—with regard to the extent to which you allege there were acts of bribery in the Commit tea-rooms?

Mr. Dickens said there were some cases which had not been gone into.

At this point the Court adjourned to enable the Judges to consider the position. On resuming, Mr. Justice Kennedy said the Court understood from counsel for the respondent that they were not in a position to resist the evidence on the question of bribery in several cases. The question of treating was comparatively slight, and they need not go into that part of the case. As to the illegal practices, questions of law were raised, the Court had no reason to suppose that those who sent vehicles did not act in good faith, or in the belief of the legality of their action. It was a case in which the Court could certainly give relief, and was one which need not he treated as a material matter for them necessarily to go into. With regard to the respondent, his acts, of course, stood somewhat differently, and there were certain allegations which required an answer.

Mr. Dickens then called a large number of witnesses, consisting of labourers, bakers, watermen, and the like, who all swore that they had received money to vote for Mr. Barker, and promises of further payment should he succeed. Many of these charges were made against Mr. Levi Barker, brother of the respondent.

Mr. John Barker then went into the witness-box. Examined by Mr. Mathews, he said, when he addressed the General Committee he made it unmistakeably plain and clear that he wished the election to be fought fairly and squarely. His instruction were specific and were printed on the canvassing cards. It was a fact that no charge had ever been made against his election agent.

Had you any knowledge, until this petition had begun, that the election had been conducted otherwise then with purity?

I knew of no case. Continuing, as to his visit to the Wakefield's shop, witness said he made no effort to dissuade them from voting for Mr. Cornwallis. He asserted that the suggestion about buying oats came from the Wakefields.

Did Mr. Potter say to them, “If you return Mr. Barker to Parliament you can have the whole of his trade?"


Was your order for the oats founded upon their exceptional quality?


And there was nothing in your mind at the time as to voting at the Election?

Absolutely nothing.

Have you bought oats in Maidstone before?

Yes. I buy anywhere and everywhere.

Did your firm in London send some carriages to Maidstone without your knowledge or consent?


Mr. Justice Channell.

They were used?

Witness.— I had no idea I was doing anything wrong.

Cross-examined by Mr. Dickens.— He had bought corn of Messrs. Styles and Wickinge in Maidstone. He went to Wakefield's shop to solicit their vote. He denied saying that Mr. Cornwallis bought all his things in London.

Did the suggestion as to the order come from them and not from you?

That is so.

Is their story about the oats absolutely untrue from beginning to end?

I think they were mistaken.

Did you say that you had 300 horses, and that the Wakefields might as will feed them as anybody else?

I said nothing of the kind.

Is that untrue?

Yes, it is untrue.

You sanctioned the sending of the carriages by Sir Walter Gilbey, Sir James Blyth, and others?

Yes. My son-in-law took the whole matter into his own hands.

Re-examined by Mr. Gill.— It was nothing remarkable to buy oats in a country town.

Mr. Justice Kennedy.- Have you with you any accounts of these transactions?

Mr. Gill.— I will call the people themselves.

Mr. Justice Channell.— Do you say that neither in the conversation with Messrs. Waksfield, nor in the conversation with Mr. Epps was there any reference at all to the fact that Mr. Cornwallis, your opponent, lived in the neighbourhood and could give his custom to local tradesmen? You must have heard that frequently when you were canvassing?

I do not think so.

Mr. Gill.— The witness does not come here as a stranger. He has been here twice before.

Mr. Potter and Mr. Foster Clark, who went with Mr. Barker to the Wakefield's shop, both denied the story of the Wakefields.

Cross-examined by Mr. Coward, Mr. Potter admitted that he had never before known a candidate to give an order at the shop where he had been canvassing, but the order was given to one of the brothers who had no vote.

The Court then adjourned.




The Maidstone election (petition inquiry was resumed and concluded on Wednesday before Justices Kennedy and Channell.

Mr. Gill delivered a long address in defence of the respondent. On charges of personal bribery Mr. Barker would, he said, have to take the consequences of foolish and reprehensible acts of persons acting in his interest, but he submitted that it was hardly possible to suppose that Mr. Cornwallis, had it been brought to his knowledge that there was material evidence to support charges of general bribery, would not have claimed the seat. The whole amount involved was only something like 17, dealt with by a considerable number of people.

Mr. Justice Kennedy, delivering judgment, said they would report to the Speaker that the election was void.

Upon the evidence, it seemed there existed amongst voters in the borough a number of the lower class, who expected, and were known to expect, some payment or reward for their votes. There was more or less systematic provision made by some person for the satisfaction of the corrupt morale of this class of voters, and a readiness on the part of some persons connected in some cases with the political organization of the respondent's party to win this element of the constituency by bribery. The total number of proved cases was about twenty-five, and on the whole they did not think they would be justified in reporting that bribery was a practice which extensively prevailed. There was not sufficient evidence to prove that the bribable class greatly exceeded the number of proved cases they had upon the whole come to the conclusion that the charge of bribery against the respondent and Mr. Potter had not been proved. The purchase of the oats was at a fair business price, giving nothing more than an ordinary and apparently a small profit. He believed the matter had grown from time, and that there had been exaggeration. He was unable to believe a bribe was offered or intended.

Mr. Justice Channell concurred, but remarked that he considered the transaction of the oats to be very near the line indeed, though he readily accepted the respondent's denial of intention to influence voters by the order.

The Judges made an order for costs in favour of the petitioner but refused to make an order taxing the respondent with the costs of the Public Prosecutor.



SPICER Mary 1858+

CROCKER Edward 1867+ Post Office Directory 1867

REEVES Susannah 1881+ (widow age 53 in 1881Census)

BRISTOW Thomas Benjamin 1882+

COSSINS Arthur 1891+

PEARCE Thomas 1903+



Post Office Directory 1867From the Post Office Directory 1867


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