Sort file:- Maidstone, December, 2023.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Saturday, 16 December, 2023.


Earliest 1798-

King's Head Inn

Latest ????

46 High Street (London Road 1851Census)

West Borough


King's Head

Above photo, date unknown, kindly sent by Paul Bovis.


Mentioned in the song, "The Maidstone Landlords" in 1798.

Mentioned as being in the West Borough and by 1855 referred as to being on Borough Road.


From the Maidstone Gazette and West Kent Courier, 28 August, 1827.

John Pankhurst, 27, labourer, for assaulting James Glazer, on the Kings highway, and stealing a silver watch, value 3, a watch ribbon, a watch key, a purse, and a linen bag, the property of James Glazer, of Maidstone.

The particulars of this case were detailed in our paper at the time of the occurrence, and were briefly as follows:-

On the night of the 12th of May, prosecutor having been at Maidstone Fair, fell asleep at the "King's Head" public house, and remained there till past 12 o'clock. Prisoner was also at the house, he went out shortly before prosecutor. On the latter getting into the road, he was accosted by prisoner, and they walked towards Barming, where prosecutor, who is a labourer man, resided. They turned out of the road into a hop ground: Prosecutor walked past. Suddenly he received a violent blow to the head, which felled him to the ground; prisoner then knelt on him and beat him in the face in a very savage manner. He bled profusely, and two of his teeth were knocked out. He then robbed him of his watch &c., as stated in the indictment. Mr. Matthews, landlord of the "Kings Head," obtaining information of this robbery, his suspicion fell upon prisoner, and E. Pooley, a constable, apprehended him the next day, at the Fair; and the watch and the purse were found on him.

The Jury found prisoner Guilty - Death.

His Lordship told him that the brutal violence which he had exercised towards prosecutor put it out of his power to hold out the least hope of mercy. His purpose was also affected with much deliberation and art.

There is no doubt, said his Lordship, that the moment you saw the poor old man, you made up your mind for this cruel and wicked purpose,, when the landlord put you out, it appears, you never lost sight of him until the time you joined him and knocked him down and committed the robbery. Not content with robbing him, you proceeded to acts of violence, telling him, who had not offended you, with a dreadful expression, you would kill him; he made more no resistance, you continued to beat him, and knocked his teeth out of his head.

When offences of this heinous nature are accompanied with cruelty, the person so committed them are the most dangerous upon on earth to society, and it makes it necessary to carry the severest punishment into effect; without any alleviation.

Every part of your life shows your criminality and guilt; you have been before this convicted of felony for fowl stealing, and under these circumstances it is imperative to carry the awful sentence of the law into effect, a few days will therefore terminate your earthly career, when you will have the answer before the bar of Almighty God for every crime you have committed. Your only reliance is now upon a blessed Redeemer, who took upon him our nature and our wits, to save us from misery and sins and to work out our redemption; he has promised to interfered for us at the bar of our heavenly Father, and it is only by his merits that we can expect salvation. It is therefore my duty to exhort you, that for the short time you have to live, you will make the best use of your time in preparing for the awful change; in this you will have the valuable assistance which persons in your situation have, and will have much abler advice than I can give. Consider then well of your salvation, and avail yourself of these opportunities.


From the Kentish Gazette, 13 June 1837.

An inquest was held on Monday at the "King’s Head," Maidstone, before Mr. Dally, the coroner, on the body of Rickeby Tiesdell Martin, who was found in the Medway on Saturday preceding near the Tovil oil mill. Evidence was adduced that the deceased had been subject to occasional aberrations of mind since an attack of rheumatic fever some time since, and a verdict that he had drowned himself in a fit of insanity was returned.


From the Kentish Gazette, 26 April 1842.

Coroner's Inquest.

An inquest was held on Monday afternoon, before F. F. Dally, Esq., coroner, at the "King’s Head," West Borough, Maidstone, on Sarah Thomsett, aged 48, wife of George Thomsett, beer-shop keeper, who came by her death under the following circumstances.

It appeared that the deceased had occasionally complained of illness, but not lately, nor had she been attended by any medical gentleman for upwards of two years. On Sunday she appeared in her usual health and spirits, but made a slight complaint at tea time that she felt very "sick and queer." This, however, passed off, and she did not complain again, but at about seven o’clock in the evening she suddenly fell down in the room in which she had been standing, as if in a fit.

Mr. G. Leney, surgeon, was sent for, and arrived in about five minutes, but the deceased, he thought, was quite dead. He applied several remedies but without effect. Upon a post mortem examination he had no doubt that death was occasioned by pulmonary apoplexy.
Verdict, "Died by the visitation of God."


Southeastern Gazette, 5 July 1853.


ALL persons who have any claims on the estate of the late Mr. WILLIAM RING, late of the "King’s Head Inn," Maidstone, Kent, Publican, deceased, or the late Mrs. Winifred Ring, widow of the said William Ring, are requested immediately to forward the particulars of their demands to Messrs. King and Hughes, Solicitors to the administrator of the said Mrs. Winifred Ring; and all persons indebted to the said estates, or either of them, are requested to pay their accounts to the said Messrs. King and Hughes.

Maidstone, 5th July, 1863.


Southeastern Gazette, 2 August 1853.

Friday. (Before W. Hills and T. Hyde, Esq.)

The license of the "King’s Head" was transferred to Robert Dunk.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 7 January,1860. Price 1d.


(Before T. Allen and C. Ellis, Esqrs.)

Ann Chatfield, a destitute looking woman, was charged with wilfully breaking two panes of glass, at the “King's Head” public house, the property of Mr. Dunk, on the 29th inst.

It appears the prisoner, who has been previously convicted no less than twenty-five times, for disorderly conduct and window smashing. On the evening in question prisoner went into the tap-room of the “King's Head Inn,” and annoyed Mr. Dunk's customers by drinking their beer. She, however, was put out of the house, but in about ten minutes she again returned, and on again being ejected by the landlord, she smashed two panes of glass, doing damage to the amount of 2s. 4d.

Police-sergeant Hills said she was a very troublesome customer, and had frequently been in custody at the police station.

The prisoner was ordered to pay the amount of the damage 2s. 4d., and 6s. costs, and in default was committed for a month.


Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 18th August 1860.

Coroner's inquest.

On Thursday and inquest was held at the "Kings Head Inn," before the Coroner, T. Kipping, Esq., upon the body of an aged man named Edward Oliver, who was found in the river Medway on the previous day.

The deceased was 70 years of age, a leather currier by trade, and had been many years a resident of Maidstone. The following was the evidence elicited.

Mr. William Pellat, bootmaker, living in High Street, deposed that on Tuesday morning last, about 7 o'clock, he left his house, and on walking over the bridge he stopped opposite Mr. Bunyard's flower garden, when, on turning round, observed deceased walking up the Tunbridge Road. He observed no difference in his manner than usual. He appeared to be in good health. Witness had known him for many years. He thought he was somewhat eccentric in his manner, but did not think he was a man likely to destroy himself. Of late years he believed deceased had not had constant employment, but had worked occasionally for Mr. Jennings, in Stone Street.

James Davies deposed that on Tuesday morning he went to Mr. Beckett's Lower Fant house, and upon returning home he came by the River Medway. On the first fence beyond Mr. Brooks's Oil Mill he saw hanging a coat and hat, and a pair of shoes was lying near them. Witness recognise the hat as the one that had been worn by the deceased. This was about 8 o'clock in the morning. Witness then proceeded up the High Street and gave information to the police.

P.C. Brooks deposed that on Tuesday morning last from information received, he proceeded to the place described by the last witness, where he found deceased's coat, hat, and shoes.

John Simmonds, labourer, living in the Man of Kent yard, said that on the previous afternoon, about 4 o'clock, he, with other parties, was dragging the river and found the body of the deceased just above the Oil Mill, and it appeared to have been at the bottom of the river. Deceased was dressed in a pair of knee breeches, gaiters, and a black sleeve waistcoat and stockings, but had no coats, shoes, or hat on. Witness accompanied the body to the above named house. A piece of cord and a pair of spectacles were found in deceased's coat pocket.

Police-sergeant Hills also disposed to being with the boat when the body of deceased was found, and upon searching it he found in the pocket a knife, two tools used by curriers, and two small screws. Witness saw deceased on the previous Sunday, when he asked him if it was true that Larking have made off with himself. On being answered in the affirmative, deceased put up his hands and said "Dear me, what a shocking thing it is from an to commit suicide." He also saw him in Stone Street about half an hour afterwards, talking to a man about William Larkin, repeating the same observations that he had made to witness.

Sarah Oliver, the daughter of deceased, said that he left his home early on Tuesday morning last, but she did not know at what time. On the previous evening he had taken tea with her and complained very much of his head. He retired to bed about 8 o'clock, saying that he felt very strange. He bade her goodnight and she did not see him afterwards. Witness sat up somewhat later than usual, as she observed her father looked wild and appeared to be in a low strange way. He was in the habit of walking out early in the morning and witness was not uneasy about his absence. He had mentioned to witness the suicide of William Larkin, and appeared to be slightly affected by it, saying that he was gone.

The Coroner observed that the evidence was of a slender nature, but from the circumstances of the hat, coat, and shoes having been found in the position in which they were would rather lead to the inference that he had thrown himself in the water after taking them off. There was no evidence to show that he had met with any violence, but the jury thought it necessary he would adjourn the inquest for further investigation. From the evidence it would be for them to consider where the deceased had been thrown in the River, or whether he had destroyed himself. If they arrived at the latter conclusion to say in their verdict what state of mind he was in at the time.

Verdict, "That deceased destroyed himself whilst labouring under a temporary fit of insanity.


South Eastern Gazette, 21 August, 1860.

Suicide by Drowning.

An inquest was held at the "King's Head," West Borough, Maidstone, on Thursday evening last, before T. Kipping, Esq., coroner, and a jury of which Mr. W. Cobb, jun., was foreman, to enquire into the death of Edward Oliver, aged 70, whose body was found in the river Medway, on the previous day. The deceased was a leather currier by trade, and somewhat eccentric in his dress and manner. He was in the habit of taking a walk before breakfast, and went out, as usual, on Tuesday morning last. At about seven o’clock he was seen walking up the Tunbridge-road, by Mr. W. Pellatt, boot-maker, who noticed nothing unusual about him; but at eight o'clock, James Davis, a bricklayer, of George-street, was walking by the side of the river Medway, when, a short distance beyond the Tovil oil-mills, he saw a coat, hat, and pair of shoes, on the Fant side. The coat was hanging on a fence, and the hat and shoes were on the ground beneath. Information was given to the police, and the river dragged, but the body was not recovered till about four o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, when it was found lying at the bottom of the river near where the clothes were discovered. The deceased had on all his clothing with the exception of the articles above-mentioned, but nothing else was found upon him with the exception of two small tools and a couple of screws. In his hat was found a handkerchief, and a piece of cord and a pair of spectacles were found in the pockets of his coat. Detective-sergeant Hills said he had known the deceased ever since he could remember. He was a hard-drinking man, though he never appeared tipsy. On the previous Sunday morning he met witness, when he asked him if it was true that William George Larking had destroyed himself in the gaol, saying what a shocking thing it was for a man to commit suicide, and leave such a large family behind him. He seemed very much impressed with the circumstance, continuing to talk about it till witness left him; and witness afterwards heard him speaking of it in the same strain to another person, in Stone-street. Sarah Oliver, the daughter of deceased, said the latter took tea with her on Monday evening, at about seven o’clock. He did not appear cheerful, and by eight o’clock he went to bed. He had come in at about half-past four o’clock in the afternoon, and complained very much of his head, saying it felt so strange that he did not know what to make of it; and from his wild and flushed appearance, witness did not feel comfortable about him, and sat up till twelve o’clock. He had complained of his head for some little time past. He told her of the circumstance of William Larking destroying himself on Sunday, remarking that it was a very sad thing. He had not had much work lately, but had not wanted for anything.

The jury returned a verdict that deceased destroyed himself while labouring under temporary insanity.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 9 March 1861.

Stealing Coals at East Sutton.

William Underdown, George Winn, and Joseph Horton, for stealing two and a half cwt of coals, value 3s., the property of William Day, their master, at East Sutton, on 31st January. Mr. Addison was for the prosecution, and Mr. Francis for the prisoner.

William Day, coal merchant, living at Maidstone, said prisoners were in his employers as carmen. On the 27th January he received an order for 10 tons of coal from Sir. E. Filmer, Bart. The prisoners took the coal, having each a ton. There was one hundredweight to go to a Mrs. Reeves, which were in Underdown's cart.

By Mr. Francis:- Could not say how much coal was put up in the carts. Underdown had been in his and his predecessor's employ for 25 years, during which time he borne a very good character. Sometimes prisoners took out small quantities of coal, for which they ought to account when they came home.

By Mr. Addison:- Prisoner had no direction to take coals to a person named Hollands.

John Towne, living at Sutton Valence, said that on the 31st January he was at the "Kings Head" public house, when he saw Underdown go up the yard and speak to a person named Hollands. He afterwards saw Horton take a bag of coals from the van, which Underdown took to Hollands's house. Winn then gave Horton a bag of coals out of the cart, and he took it into the house.

Henry Towne, ostler at the "King's Head," gave similar testimony.

John A. Hollands, living at Sutton Valence, said that on the day in question Underdown came to see him and asked him if he wanted to buy any coals. Witness said he did not. Underdown then said I have got some I brought down the road for a woman who has not got the money to pay for them, and you shall have them for 2s. 6d. and a pot of beer. Witness gave Underdown the money and an order for the beer.

P.C. Coppinger said that on 2nd February he saw Winn, who said he took some coals to Sir. E. Filmer's on the 31st, but he did not leave any at Hollands's nor did he see anyone else do so. Horton told witness the two bags were left at the "King's Head," one by him and one by Underdown. Horton afterwards said he did not know the quantity left at Sir. E. Filmers's, but he thought there was a bag too many. Witness then spoke to Underdown who said he did not leave any colds at Holland's. Witness then apprehended Underdown on suspicion, when he said it was a foolish start altogether, and it was done not to get "the man" into a row with his master, as when he got to Sir. Edmund Filmer's he found there were two bags too many; that he got three shillings for the coals, and had three or four pots of beer, the rest of the money being shared amongst them; and that they were all alike. Winn was present when Underdown said this and remarked "All I know about it is that I done some of the beer."

Mr. Francis submitted that there was no case to go to the jury, inasmuch as there was no evidence to show that the coal delivered to Hollands either belong to Mr. Day, or to Sir. E. Filmer.

The Chairman, however, came to the conclusion that the case must go to the jury.

Mr. Francis then addressed the jury, and was about to call witnesses to character, when the Chairman said he thought there was no necessity, as there was no doubt that prisoners have formed unexceptionable characters.

The jury acquitted the prisoners, on the ground urged by Mr. Francis.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, 24 August 1861.

Coroner's Inquest.

An inquest was held on Friday, at the "Kings Head," West Borough, Maidstone, before T. Kipping, Esq., coroner, on the body of a man, unknown, and apparently about 50 years of age, who was killed by the 11 o'clock p.m. train from Strood, near the Allington cutting, on the previous night, (recorded in our columns last week.) Christopher Cockfield, engine driver, on the South Eastern Railway, and living on the Kingsley Estate, Maidstone, said that on the previous night about 5 minutes to 12 o'clock, he was driving the goods train from Strood to Maidstone, and on arriving at "Sill's crossing" (a public footpath across the railway) he felt the ballast flying underneath the tender of the engine, but took no notice of it, as he thought it was some stones on the crossing.

The driver of another engine attached to the same train, however, on coming to the crossing sounded his whistle, and they stopped the train, when, at about 12 yards from the crossing, witness found the body of the deceased, quite dead, and bleeding from the back of his head. The head was lying towards Aylesford and the feet towards Maidstone, between the rails over which the train passed. Witness also found a basket on one side and a hat on the other, and a large flannel jacket near the crossing.

The stones were dragged off the middle of the line for about 5 yards, as though the body had been pushed along by the train. They then put the body into the guards van, and brought it to Maidstone. Witness examined both engines, but found no marks on either of them.

George Richards, Stoker, living in Maidstone, and who was on the train in question, gave confirmation evidence, adding that he found a hole in the palace, about 7 yards from the crossing, and which appeared to have been made by deceased's head, as there were some hair on it.

Mr. Elgar, one of the medical officers of the parish, said he was called to see deceased at between 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning, and he found an incised scalp wound on the right side of the head, five or six inches in length; there was also a jagged contusion wound over the left temporal bone. He found no fracture of the limbs, but was not able to examine them minutely, as deceased clothes were not taken off. The injuries to the skull he believed to have caused death.

As the body has not been identified, the inquest was adjourned to that day week.

Deceased was a short, stout man, with an ordinary labourer's smock, corded trousers, and two flannel shirts, one of which appeared to be a military shirt.

Since the inquest the address of "Edward Waterman," of East Malling, has been found in deceased pockets.

An adjourned inquest was held at the "Kings Head" in the West Borough, when it appeared from the evidence of William Nobbs, and inmates of Malling Union, that the deceased's name was Edward Waterman, whose age was 48, and had left the Union on the 14th inst. It appears that it is a practice in the Malling Union when a person first becomes an inmate to place in his clothing the name and place of abode, and the paper found on a deceased pocket was that written by the porter of the Union.

This being the whole of the case, the jury returned an open verdict.



MATTHEWS John 1826-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29Pigot's Directory 1832-34Kentish Gazette

MITCHELL John 1840+

SHRUBSOLE George 1851+ (also blacksmith age 58 in 1851Census)

RING William to June/1853 dec'd

DUNK Robert Aug/1853-74+ (age 66 in 1871Census) Post Office Directory 1867

WARREN Charles 1881-82+ (age 42 in 1881Census)

LINGHAM James 1891+

RUSSELL Jane Mrs 1901-03+ (age 57 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

FARLEY Alfred 1911-13+ (age 58 in 1911Census)


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

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

Kentish GazetteKentish Gazette


Post Office Directory 1867From the Post Office Directory 1867

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:-