Sort file:- Maidstone, June, 2021.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Wednesday, 16 June, 2021.


Earliest 1881

(Name from)

Ropemaker's Arms

2006- (Name to)

50 Bower Lane


Ropemaker's Arms 1882

Above photo, 1882.

Ropemaker's Arms 1900

Above photo circa 1900.

Ropemaker's Arms

Above photo, date unknown.

Ropemaker's Arms 2014

Above photo by Roy Moore, 18 May 2014, after the "Coopers Cask" closed and hoardings removed..


After Style and Winch amalgamated in 1899 the building was enlarged by taking over the house next door.

On 30 June 1972 Fremlins acquired the brewery and public house.

Anna Evan writes to me to say the following:- "Jean Rhys was the author of Wide Sargasso Sea. She stayed in rooms above the "Ropemakers Arms" for a short time while her husband was in Maidstone prison in 1951-2. She wrote a diary there - part of which was published much later in her autobiography and which I am researching/writing about."


From the Kent Messenger 9 October 2009.

A FORMER Maidstone pub could have been the birthplace of an award-winning literary masterpiece.

Living in Maidstone to visit her prison inmate husband, author Jean Rhys endured one of the lowest points in her life, but her time in the County Town may have helped inspire her greatest achievement - writing the Wide Sargasso Sea, her “prequel” to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

Jean’s husband, Max Hamer, a dis-barred solicitor, had been convicted of fraud and, when he was jailed at Maidstone Prison, she lived at the Ropemakers’ Arms in Bower Lane, to be near the prison for visits.

She told no one of her husband’s conviction, which brought with it financial hardship, but later in life she published the novel which was to bring her money, a literary award and a CBE.

An article in this month’s Bygone Kent magazine asks whether Ms Rhys, who preferred to use her pseudonym, wrote the novel while living in Maidstone.

Writing the novel, which tells the story of Mrs Rochester’s descent into madness, took years and was re-drafted many times.

It was her last book, and, according to Geoff French, writing in Bygone Kent, she said that completing the novel meant she had “earned death”.


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.

All emails are answered.



COOK William 1881-1903+ (also coal merchant age 41 in 1881Census)

HAYWARD Sidney J 1913-38+

HARWOODS ???? 1961-64

WAKE Doug 1976-80




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