Sort file:- Rochester, August, 2021.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 28 August, 2021.


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1 High Street


Gundulph Hotel 1900

Above photo 1900.

Gundulph 1909

Above postcard showing the first tram through Rochester, 9 April, 1909, also showing the "Crown" (right,) kindly sent by Debi Birkin.


The "Gundulph Hotel" was named after the celebrated Bishop responsible for the building of Rochester Cathedral and Castle, and the Tower of London.

Whilst under the rule of Charles Ashton, the family story of today tells that his port was excellent but he didn't look after his beer.

The building was unfortunately demolished (date as yet unknown) to widen the approach to the bridge as High Street traffic was diverted around Corporation Street.


From the Rochester and Chatham Journal and Mid-Kent Advertiser, Saturday, September 2, 1876.

The "Gundulph Tavern."

Shortly before 1 o'clock the only fresh application of the day was made before the members of the Licensing Committee those present, vis., the Mayor, Alderman Cules, Webb, and Naylar; Messrs. Furrell and Homan. The absent member of the committee was Mr. Ball.

Mr. Hayward said he appeared, as he dared say their worships might imagine almost before he opened his mouth, to make an application for Mr. James Boulden for a spirit licence for the "Gundulph Tavern." He was almost afraid to say how many times he had made that application, but every time he did it with renewed hope because he could not help thinking that with one more years reflection, the magistrates must feel satisfied it was a licence which must be granted. He was certain that there worships would all meet this matter entirely in an unprejudiced way. He did not believe any gentleman on the bench was a member of a Band of Hope, or a Permissive man, or a tee-totaler, or anything of that sort, or he would be inclined to make the objection that was made at Brighton, that a person holding those peculiar opinions was not entitled to deal with such an application. He asked them not to consider who was the licensee or owner, or occupier of any adjoining house in the "Gundulph," but to look at the merits of the case and say whether that these had not arrived when it was fit and proper but that a licence should be granted to this house. Mr. Boulden's character was known to all the magistrates, and if the licence was refused he was quite sure it would not be on any point of character. He was sure Superintendent Radley would say it was impossible any house could be better conducted than the "Gundulph," or that any more respectable man could hold it. The next thing was, was the house of fit and proper one for a licence? - and there was no doubt it was. It was built expressively for a licence and was in every degree fitted for use. It was raised at 50 a year and had ample accommodation of every kind. So that Mr. Boulden was just the man and his house was just the place for a licence. The only other question was as to the necessity of another licence, and he could not conceive how any six gentleman well acquainted with Rochester, as the gentlemen on the bench were, could have any doubts from that subject. He supposed his friend Mr. Prall came there to oppose for the "Crown" or the "Half Crown" or "Florin," as it was jocularly called by some but that was a house of a different character entirely to Mr. Boulden's, and he did not believe that a licence to the "Gundulph" would in any degree whatever affect the "Crown," the "Bull," or the "Kings Head." One very important reason why the licence should be granted was that a Forester Society, numbering some 340 members, was now held in the house. It was a very hard thing that a Forester must be confined to beer, which disagreed with many people, while spirits, whiskey in particular, were a most wholesome thing and very desirable on certain occasions (laughter). The magistrates might say "We appreciate everything you have said up to the present moment, and we think you are right; but here comes the pinch: Look at the number of houses there are in the parish and how you say they fresh licence is wanted?" But let him call their attention not to the number there were, but to the number they were not; the number taken away since a new licence was granted in the parish. Mr. Hayward numerated the "Flushing," the "Golden Cross," the "Crown tap," the "Bull tap," the "City Arms," the "City Coffee House," and the "Cock." Considering that all these licences had been removed from the parish was it not the duty of the magistrates to grant one in their place? How many licences were there to go before their worships would grant a new one? On the Strood side of the bridge the "Duke of Gloucestershire" and the "Lobster" had gone, and their worships had granted six new licences, thus increasing the number by four. They would be told - look how the population has increased in Strood! He asked what made the magistrates grant a licence to the "Prince of Wales" when the "Watermill Tavern" was within the length of the hall from it? What made them grant another licence near houses already licensed? He was not saying their worship were wrong in this; he was a free-trader (laughter). If they gave a licence to every respectable man who applied for it then Mr. Boulden would be flourishing, because his articles were good, his attention to the guests were great. Why was not a publican to be dealt with in the same way as a butcher, or a grocer, or a baker, subject of course to care being taken that a proper man was put in, and that he was put out again if he did not properly conduct his house? If there worships looked at it in that light, let them grant the licence in every case. He was not there to oppose anything that day (laughter). He would say something different next Tuesday, but he would not be be inconsistent then, because it would be in a different case (renewed laughter).

Mr. Farrell here remarked that the "Queens Arms" had been pulled down, and Mr. Hayward said that was another house he ought to have mentioned. Mr. Boulden was at the present time actually the builder of the licence of the "Flushing," but owing to some technicality he was not able to have it transferred to the "Gundulph."

The Clerk (Mr. J. T. Prall) remarked that the licence was not transferred because the "Flushing" was not pulled down for a public

Mr. Hayward said it was some such thing as that, but why not do justice to him now, and let him have the licence?

Mr. R. Prall said he appeared, he believed for the seventh time, in opposition to this application. He had listens for anything new, but, as Mr. Hayward had said, it was very difficult to produce anything new when one appeared so many times. All they had heard this time they had heard before, with the exception of the additional house mentioned by Mr. Furrell as being pulled down. Mr. Hayward had introduced a lot of extraneous matter about Free Trade, but it was not a matter as to his opinion, but simply as to whether an additional licence was required. The circumstances of so many licences ceasing to exist was a dangerous weapon for his friend to play with, because it cuts both ways, and it cut in his way to show that there was no necessity for these licences. It would occur to the magistrates, as businessman, that if there were any value in a thing it was not allowed to go away, and one could really only come to the conclusion that these licences had ceased because there was no want for them; it showed that in past times too many of these licences had been granted; they did not want to go back; they did not want to retrograde at all. Where it has been tried, in Liverpool, to grant all licences, he believed it had signally failed. Was it really necessary that there should be another licensed house in this locality? He was not going to follow Mr. Hayward into what he had said respecting certain licences being granted on the other side of the water; there were, no doubt, certain reasons urged which were satisfactory to the bench at the time they were granted. Granting that Mr. Boulden and his house were qualified to have a licence, there was this material fact that the "Gundulph" was surrounded by public houses. The application had been argued before the bench ever since 1869 and what new facts were now put forward? The only reason that could be heard was that the house was a very good one, that and that it was exceedingly hard to refuse it a licence, but he submitted with the strongest confidence that the magistrates could not come to the conclusion that it would be a proper act to increase the number of licensed houses in the locality, and that a person could not, because he had made a speculation, claim a licence of the bench. What could be strong evidence that in his eyes of the public there was no necessity for another license, than the facts that were so many licences had gone away that there had been no application to retain them? It was simply that the owners had put up this house and thought the bench ought to give them a licence.

The Bench and the Clerk retired into the Council Chamber to consider the application and were absent 20-minutes. On their return
the Mayor announced that the application was refused.

The Court and the solicitors present then again adjourned for half an hour to discuss a pretty little luncheon provided in the Council chamber. Mr. A Lemon, of the "Crown Hotel," being the efficient caterer.

On returning into the Guildhall the magistrates who remained proceeded with a police business and it was 3:30 before the Court finally rose.

The adjourned licensing sessions was fixed for Saturday 30th September.



BOULDEN James 1870-71+ (age 44 in 1871Census)

BURNFORD John 1891+ (age 40 in 1891Census)

Last pub licensee had ASHTON Charles Frederick 1901-30+ (age 60 in 1911Census) Kelly's 1903

MARTIN Wilfred 1938+


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:-