Sort file:- Maidstone, April, 2024.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Monday, 29 April, 2024.


Earliest 1648-

Red Lion

Closed 1911+

1 High Street / 1 Week Street


Market Day 1829

Above engraving, 1829, showing Market Day in the High Street, Jennifer Salfinger who kindly sent it says she things the building far right with sloping roofs is the Red Lion.

Above print, date unknown.

Red Lion 1835

Above engraving, circa 1835.

Red Lion

Above print, date unknown. "Red Lion" building right.


Above Google image April 2017. Sowing comparable shot.

Red Lion 1890

Above photo, 1890, by kind permission Roy Moore,

Red Lion 1960

Above photo, circ1 1960.

Red Lion 1960

Above showing a coloured version of above.

Former Red Lion

Above photo, date unknown, by kind permission Roy Moore,

Former Red Lion 2017

Above photo 2017, showing the site of the former Red Lion 2017. Kindly supplied by Eric Hartland.


In a listing of 1648 it was situated on the corner of the High and Week Street, unfortunately original demolished in 1857.

It was also mentioned in the song, "The Maidstone Landlords" in 1798.


Kentish Gazette, 22 February, 1783.

Last week dies Mr. Jusy, master of the "White Lion" public house at Maidstone; he was deemed an excellent player on the violin.


South Eastern Gazette 06 December 1836.


John Wood was charged with having assaulted Robert Mitchell, the landlord of the "Red Lion" public-house, in this town.

It appeared that the complainant had on several occasions refused to admit Wood (whom he knew to be a notoriously bad character) into his house. On the evening of Sunday the 27th Nov. he again came in, and the complainant immediately took hold of him and put him out, when Wood struck him with a stick which he had in his hand, and ran away, but was soon overtaken and given in charge to the police.

The defendant was convicted of the assault, and fined 10s. and the costs, and in default of payment was committed to gaol for ten days.

The Magistrates commended Mr. Mitchell for his determination to exclude such characters from his house, and hoped his conduct would be followed by other publicans in the town.


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal, 13 March, 1838.

Awfully sudden death.

On Monday evening and inquest was held at the "Queen Ann" public-house, Maidstone, before Mr Dally, coroner, on the body of Mr Robert Mitchell, landlord of the "Red Lion" public house, in this town, who died suddenly that morning.

After a few introductory remarks by the coroner, the jury proceeded to view the body, and then they returned the following witnesses were examined.

Thomas Parks, who is a footman to Colonel Jones, of Hayle-place, deposed that he had known deceased, who was 36 years of age, about 5 years. A year ago he had a severe illness, since which his health has been impaired, and he had been occasionally subject to fits. Witness was sitting on the box of his master's carriage, which was in the procession of the friends of Sir R Filmer, on its way to Penenden Heath, when he saw the deceased near the "Queen Anne," and asked him to get up behind, which he did. Deceased said that he have been running after them, and was short of breath, at the same time place in his hand on his chest. After they had proceeded a short distance from turnpike gate, some person called out to the coachman to stop, as there was a person behind in a fit. He did so, and witness got down and saw the deceased leaning on the spring of the carriage apparently fainting. Witness and another person took him down, and witness held him in his arms, when he groaned several times, and foaming at the mouth; he was then taken to the "Queen Ann" public house, and attended by a medical gentleman.

James Joseph power, assistant to Mr Sanders, surgeon, suppose that about 10:30 o'clock in the morning, he was passing the "Queen Ann," and was informed that the man was in a fit and short distance up the road; he went to the spot, and felt the pulse of the deceased, but could not find any pulsation. He directed him to be taken to the public house, when the witness endeavoured to administer brandy and water, but the deceased was unable to swallow, he also opened two veins in the arm, and applied friction to the region of the heart, but without producing any effect. Witness believe that deceased had been seized with a fit, which had been accelerated by excitement at the time. He was of opinions that the deceased died from a rupture of one of the blood vessels contiguous to the heart, or the heart itself, which would have produced death more suddenly than apoplexy.

The jury Returned I heard it that the deceased "Died by the visitation of God."


South Eastern Gazette, 8 November 1853. Maidstone

Friday. (Before H. W. Joy, Esq., and C. Ellis, Esq.)

The newly-elected Town-councillors were this morning duly sworn into office.

John Dale, waiter, was charged with felony:— Wm. Shirley, who keeps the "Star Tap," stated that on Sunday night he locked up his premises at about half-past ten o’clock. There was then a gun standing in the corner of his living-room. The gun produced was the same, which he had had for the last twenty years. His son came down about half-past six o’clock the next morning, and found one of the windows partly open. He missed the gun, which was in a case, on Tuesday. The window opened by a slide into the Star-yard, and as the fastenings were worn it was not made secure. Had known the prisoner many years. He (prisoner) was often about the house and knew where the gun was kept.

By prisoner:— You had cleaned the gun many times.

Prosecutor’s son stated that he came down stairs on Monday morning at about twenty minutes to seven o’clock, and found the window of the room in which the gun was kept partly open.

William Bridgland, landlord of the "Red Lion," stated that the prisoner came into his house at about four o’clock on Monday morning, and called for some coffee. Witness saw a gun behind the settle, and took it up and examined it. About an hour afterwards prisoner asked him if he had a charge of powder and shot to give him. Witness said he had none, and prisoner then said he must stop till the shops were open. Witness understood him that he was going out shooting. He afterwards asked witness to take care of it, with a small packet which he said contained silver, for a few minutes. Witness took the gun into the bar, and on Wednesday gave it to police-constable Russell.

Police-constable Russell deposed to receiving information of the gun being missing on Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday morning obtained it from the last witness. Afterwards took the prisoner into custody and told him the charge, when he said it was his property and he had got it to clean.

By prisoner:— You did not say the gun belonged to Mr. Shirley.

The prisoner said he took the gun on Sunday afternoon to clean, as he had often done before, and was going to Rochester on Monday, intending to return it when he came back. He took it into the "Red Lion" and asked the landlord to take charge of it while he went to book two places on the omnibus, and told him to take care of it as it was a valuable one, and belonged to Mr. Shirley. This latter assertion Bridgland denied.

The prisoner was remanded till Tuesday (to-day).


Local News on 11th December 1855.

At the Maidstone Police Court, Thomas Lamb, a bricklayer of Water Lane was charged with having been found drunk and creating a disturbance in the High Street on the evening of Saturday 2nd December. He denied being drunk.

Mr Blundell stated that on Saturday night, about ten minutes to twelve, while on Gabriel's Hill, he heard a cry of murder, which was found to proceed from the "Red Lion," where the defendant's "housekeeper" was screaming "murder" and creating a disturbance, she was taken to the station house. The defendant, who was very drunk, was making a disturbance in the house with two prostitutes, and after getting him out of the house, as he still remained turbulent, he was being taken to the station house, when he laid down on the way and refused to proceed. Mr Kirby, formerly proprietor of the "Ship," then came up, pushed witness to one side and offered to take Lamb home. Mr Blundell told Kirby not to interfere, when he also became violent, hallooing to the people in the street, disrespecting the attempt to take the prisoner to the station. The disturbance was so great that the inhabitants looked out of their windows. The defendant was locked up, but was discharged in the morning.

Mr J. Wood, assistant to Messrs Gurney and Haynes said he heard the disturbance and on getting out of bed and looking out of the window, he saw a man lying down and heard much bad language used. The police appeared to have much trouble in getting the man to the station, but he saw no unnecessary violence.

Policeman R. Sunnucks said that he heard the woman scream, when he was some distance up Week Street. On hastening to the "Red Lion," he found the woman there, very noisy and he desired to take her to the station. He did so and on his return, he saw defendant in custody of the superintendent, and refusing to go to the station. By desire of the superintendent, he attempted to take the defendant up King Street, but he resisted and he was then dragged along. When opposite Mr Headford's shop, Mr Kirby came up and said "What do you want with this man. He has done nothing." The superintendent by an opprobrious epithet, and with an oath said he would appear against him on Tuesday. A cry of "shame" was then set up by the people, which witness believed Kirby commenced.

Inspector Fancett said that, while in company with the superintendent, hearing screams, they went to the "Red Lion," where the woman was making a noise and she was taken to the station house. On entering the "Red Lion" to ascertain the cause of the disturbance, Lamb was there making a noise with two girls and he refused to leave. He was ordered to be taken the station and used very bad language and refused to go, and it was with great difficulty, he was at length locked up. The defendant said in his defence, that he was discharged on Sunday morning, and he wished to know why he was brought up on the charge. It was stated by the superintendent, in reply, that Lamb had used a threat which caused him to have the case, investigated by the magistrates.

Mr. Jesse Kirby stated he was half-way down Gabriel's Hill, he heard a woman scream, when he returned to the top of the hill. He heard Mr Blundell say "It's Lamb's wife. She is a drunken beast, take her to the station." He believed the superintendent and a policeman went into the "Red Lion" and Lamb was "pitched" out. A young man attempted to pick Lamb up, but the superintendent said "Take him away to the station house and I'll lock him up too." At the same time, fifty to one hundred people assembled and most of them cried "shame" at the treatment Lamb received. He believed Lamb was the worse for liquor and offered to take home, but there were no cries of "murder" as stated by Mr. Blundell. He swore that he did not come out of the "Castle," at a few minutes before 12 and there was no cry of murder until Blundell and Fancett ordered the woman to be taken away, all the people screamed shame after this occurred.

A man named Streeter, said he was in the "Red Lion" when some men like navvies, shoved the "housekeeper" down in the passage, there was a screaming noise, and in a few minutes, the police came in and the landlord ordered the house to be cleared. Fancett told Lamb, he ought to be at home in bed, and pushed him, and he fell in the street. A young man said he knew Lamb, and was taking him away, but as they stopped in the middle of the High Street, the officers, instead took Lamb to the police station house.

After some consultation with the other magistrates, the mayor said the bench had given the whole of the circumstances, great consideration and had not the slightest hesitation in saying that the charge against Lamb, was most clearly proved and other witnesses had admitted, he was drunk. It was a most lamentable thing to see a man in his position commit himself in such a way, and therefore, the sentence of the court was that he pay a fine of ten shillings. If it had been proved in evidence that the disturbance had been caused early on Sunday morning instead of Saturday night, a heavier penalty would have been inflicted! The fine was paid.


From the Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 14 July 1857.

A Maidstone relic.

In excavating the soil for laying the Foundation of the new buildings at the site of the old "Red Lion," High Street, the workmen discovered a few days ago and Instruments of Steel with a wooden handle, in good preservation, although very rusty on the surface. The opinion at first was that it had been a dagger, but on being cleaned it was found to be a graving tool, and the interesting fact is that Woolwich, the celebrated engraver, was a pot boy at the "Turks Head," close adjoining, but which place he gave the first proof of his genius by engraving on the pewter pots numerous "Turks Head" as a mark of his Master's property. The probability, therefore, is that the tool in question belonged to, and was used by, our native engraver, whose works are too well known to require mention. This interesting relic which at present in the hands of Mr. Ambrose Austin is, we are glad to hear, to be deposited in the Charles's Museum at Chillington house.


I am informed that this was called the Gin Palace at one time by locals and had gigantic barrels stood in the saloon.



JUSY Mr to Feb/1783 dec'd

BULLARD/BULLAM John 1826-30+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

TURNER John 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

MITCHELL Robert 1836-Mar/38 dec'd

MITCHELL Elizabeth 1840+

BRIGLAND William 1840+

HILLS T 1851+

BRIGLAND William 1853-55+

SMART Henry 1858+

SPOONER John Augustus Frederick 1867-70+ Post Office Directory 1867

NORDEN Richard 1882-90+

WALLACE William 1911+ (also Wine and Spirit Dealer age 38 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


Post Office Directory 1867From the Post Office Directory 1867


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