Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, July, 2020.

Page Updated:- Wednesday, 29 July, 2020.


Earliest 1828-

Royal Oak

Open 2020+

15 (92) Prospect Road (22 1973 Kent and Sussex Courier)

(Woodsgate Pigot's Directory 1828-29)

Royal Tunbridge Wells

01892 542546

Royal Oak 2011

Photo taken 19 March 2011 from by Dayoff171.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier. 12 September 1873. Price 1d.


At the "Royal Oak Inn," on Tuesday morning last, at ten o'clock, J. N. Dudlow, Esq., coroner for Kent, held an inquest on the body of William Russell, a sawyer, of Windmill Fields, whose death occurred under the circumstances detailed in evidence. Mr. John Wood was elected foreman of the jury. The body having been viewed, the Coroner addressed the jury, informing them that if was their duty to inquire, in the first place, by what means the deceased came to his death, and in the second place, whether at the time of the occurrence he was of sound mind.

The following evidence was then taken:— Samuel Russell deposed: I am a bricklayer, living at Tunbridge Wells, and the deceased was my father. I am not quite certain as to his age, but I believe that he was 61 last June. He was a sawyer, and lived with me. On Sunday morning last my little daughter told me that she had found her grandfather hanging by the bedstead. I went up, and found him hanging by the neck to the bedstead. That was as near ten o'clock as I can say. He was quite dead. The last time I saw him alive was about four o'clock on Saturday afternoon, when I spoke to him. He went to bed about ten o'clock on Saturday night. At about half-past eight or a quarter to nine on Sunday morning, I heard him say 'thank you' to a little girl who had taken some stockings into his room. He has been in a very low state of mind and in low spirits of late, but during the last fortnight he has been much quieter. He had been at the Ophthalmic Hospital, and while he was there a cousin of mine wrote to me asking me to go and visit him, as he was very strange in his manner. He came home five weeks since last Friday. He said on one occasion that he was afraid he should come to some bad end, and I replied, "You must not talk like that, or I must put you away." He replied, "You must not do that, or I shall go mad certainly. " He looked strange when he said that. Since that he has been rather better, and much quieter. He said that he had been a very wicked man, that there was no forgiveness for him, and that he was in hell and lost for ever. I believe that the life he had led preyed upon him. Early on Sunday morning I heard him go down stairs, and afterwards return to bed, but I did not take any notice of that, as he has done so since his return from the hospital, his object being to get a little food, as he said he felt faint. The cord produced produced was the one which was found round the neck of the deceased.

Ellen Russell, aged nine, stated that on Sunday morning, at half-past eight, her sister Kate took some stockings in to the deceased, and witness heard him say "thank you." She saw him at that time. A little after nine she went to call her grandfather to breakfast, when she found him hanging from the bedpost. She called her father, who cut him down. On one occasion her grandfather looked as if he was not quite right in his mind.

Owing to the extreme youth of the witness, the coroner did not put her upon oath.

Several of the jury intimated that they had known the deceased, and were satisfied that he was at times not in his proper senses.

Mr. W. C. Satchell, surgeon, deposed that on Sunday morning, shortly before ten, he saw deceased, who was then quite dead. There were appearances round the neck—a mark or indentation—from which it appeared that death had resulted from hanging. The distance from the bed to the floor was so short that the body could not be suspended. He had no doubt that the man tied the cord round his neck and then threw himself on to the floor, and the weight on the rope produced strangulation. He had no doubt that the man was in an unsound state of mind at the time he committed the act.

The Coroner, in summing up, remarked that the jury could have no doubt in this case. A verdict "That deceased hung himself while in an unsound state of mind" was returned.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 6 February, 1880.


George Henry Chestunt, a muffin seller, was summoned for being disorderly and refusing to quit the “Royal Oak” public house when requested to do, on the 26th December.

Mr. W. C. Cripps, solicitor, appeared to support the case, and stated the facts.

Mr. Patrick Tracey, the landlord, said that on the 26th December, at about two o’clock in the afternoon, the defendant, who was a perfect stranger, called at his house. In consequence of a complaint made by his wife to him, he went to the defendant, who was with two others. He told them they were blackguards to use such language, and requested them to leave the house. The defendant then asked him to fight, and commenced to take off his coat. He again asked him to leave, when he said he would fight any man in the house. He used very obscene language. A customer, who was in the bar at the time, asked if he thought he could “eat” the house; thereupon the defendant hit him three times on the mouth or nose with his fist, and made his nose bleed. The defendant then went out, and his two companions were ejected. He had great trouble in finding out the name and address of the defendant, but on Saturday he saw him on the platform at the railway station.

By defendant: He might have said that he would chuck them out of the house – William Tudor, of the “Frant Forest,” said he was at the “Royal Oak” on the day in question. Because the landlady refused to draw him any more beer, he used very bad language. She refused because he was quarrelsome and the worse for liquor. His language was not fit for any woman to hear. When Mr. Tracy came, he ordered the defendant and the other two out. The defendant refused to go, and was quarrelsome. He was not particular who he quarrelled with, as he wanted a row. A man who was standing at the bar, with his hands in his pockets, was struck by the defendant twice.

The defendant said he was very sorry for what had occurred, but owing to a few friends coming from London, he had a little too much to drink. He had served the “lady of the house” with muffins since Christmas.

The Bench said they should always encourage landlords in turning out disorderly characters. There had been also an unprovoked assault. Defendants would be fined 10s., and also 10s. costs, or 14 days, hard labour.

A week was allowed for payment.


Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 17 June 1938.


Sunday Morning Alarm at Tunbridge Wells, but the Horse was quite Unperturbed!

"The Royal Oak garages are on fire."

Royal Oak fire 1938

This telephone message flashed to the Tunbridge Wells Police Station in the early hours of Sunday morning averted what otherwise would have been a more serious fire.

Racing to the scene in the police utility van, P.S. Squirrell and several police constables found that the wooden garages at the "Royal Oak" were blazing fiercely. The Police Constables were P.C.'s Lewis, Keech and Saunders.

In spite of the intense heat they burst through the flames and dragged the blazing cars out, but not before these were badly damaged. Within a few minutes the Borough Fire Brigade arrived, and under the direction of Chief Officer Goodwin and Second Officer Furneaux soon extinguished the outbreak.

"It was an exceptionally smart piece of work both on the part of the Police and the Fire Brigade." and eye-witness told a "Courier" reporter.

"Although the Police arrived within a minute of receiving the alarm, one of the cars petrol tanks had already burst in the furious heat, throwing flames high into the air. When the Police arrived they dashed through these flames, and, heedless of the danger of further explosions from other cars, they succeeded in dragging the damaged vehicles out one by one," he added.


Another spectator remarked that had it not been for the prompt work of the Fire Brigade, members of which had dashed from their beds, and were on the scene within three minutes, the whole of North Street might have been involved in the blaze.

"Fortunately the wind was in the opposite direction, otherwise it would be difficult to say how far the outbreak would have spread. Certainly if the wind had been blowing towards the public house that would have been destroyed or at least, seriously damaged." he added.

A horse in Garage 7 remained quite unperturbed by the excitement which had disturbed his Sabbath dawn, and as there was no immediate danger of this garage being burned the police wisely decided not to risk bringing the animal out through the flames in the yard.

Altogether, two vans, two cars and two bicycles were destroyed, and one cart and three other cars were seriously damaged. Afterwards the owner of the cart made a frantic search of the town in order to purchase another cart with which to continue his business on the following day.

Residents in the vicinity were roused from sleep, but they did not have to leave their homes. Windows in St. Peter's Parish Room were cracked, and other damage was caused by the heat. There were no personal injuries.

It is thought that the fire was caused by a short circuit in the wiring of one of the cars, as it was around this particular vehicle that the flames were fiercest.



PAWLEY Edward 1828-32+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

HUNTER William Ralph 1862+

DEUDNEY J 1873+ Kent and Sussex Courier

HITCHING Allen 1874+

TRACY Patrick 1880-81+ (age 36 in 1881Census)

CLARK James 1891+

START Henry 1903+

TITCHENER George 1913+

SAUNDERS Alexander 1918-30+

WOLVEY Edward 1938+


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

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

Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier



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