DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Monday, 18 February, 2019.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1702

(Name from)

Vigo Inn

Closed 31 Oct 2014

Gravesend Road

Fairseat

Vigo

https://whatpub.com/vigo-inn

Vigo Inn

Above photo, date unknown.

Vigo Inn

Above postcard, date unknown.

Vigo 1971

Above photo, 1971, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Vigo Inn 2013

Above photo 2013 by Steven Craven Creative Commons Licence.

Vigo Inn postcard

Above postcard, date unknown.

Vigo sign 1978Vigo sign 1985

Above sign left 1978, sign right, May 1985.

Vigo sign 2013

Sign above 2003.

Vigo Inn card frontVigo Inn card back

Above aluminium card issued 1950. Sign series 2 number 35.

From The Sphere, Saturday 07 May, 1960.

Poctet Skittles 1960

Above photo showing what was described as "Pocket Skittles" at the "Vigo" in 1960. I believe this is also known as "Dadlums."

 

Information below taken from their web site, 2014.

Allegedly there has been a pub on this site since 1471, and parts of the existing buildings are said to date from that time. First known as the "Upper Drovers," but given its present name by a sailor returning from the 1702 Battle of Vigo Bay, when England & Holland fought Spain in the War of the Spanish Succession. The sailor used his share of the treasure, captured during the English victory under Admiral George Rooke, to purchase the inn.

THE VIGO INN

In 1930 the pub was taken over by the Ashwell family. During the Second World War Mr & Mrs Ashwell were host to many of the servicemen from both the Wrotham pre officer cadet training camp (on the site of the present Vigo Village), and air force personnel from the Battle of Britain West Malling Air Station (now Kings Hill).

After the death of her husband Vernon in 1970, Mrs Lillian Ashwell ran the pub for many years herself. She was a formidable but very popular local character. She became the first lady president of a rugby club in England, when in 1968 some pub regulars formed Vigo RFC, whose first matches were held in the field at the back of the pub.

Although long since moved to their own ground at Swanswood Field, the memory of Lillian Ashwell is still held in high regard at the club.

Another game played at the pub is that of Dadlums. This is an old English game of table skittles, and the 1966 Watney Book of Pub Games lists the Vigo Inn as one of the few venues where the game was played. The pub still boasts one of the last remaining Dadlums tables in the country, thought to be over 150 years old. It is good to see the game is being revived, with a local team playing fortnightly matches on Sunday evenings.

At the time of her own death in 1982 aged 81, Lillian Ashwell had been working behind the bar for 52 years and was possibly the oldest working landlady in the UK. The Vigo Inn passed to Mrs Ashwell's son & daughter in law, Peter & Peta. A few changes were made including an interior refurbishment, but the essential character of the place was not altered. It even became one of the first No Smoking pubs in Kent, before the Government's UK wide ban was introduced.

Sadly some three years ago the pub closed, and many locals thought time had finally been called for this historic local landmark. But Andy and Val have now taken the place over, and have relaunched the pub with a range of live music from bands, with open mic Wednesdays, acoustic Thursday nights. Room, bar and marquee hire set in five and a half acres.

 

From http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk April 2014.

The Battle of Vigo Bay, after which the pub is reputedly named, was a naval engagement fought on 23 October 1702 during the opening years of the War of the Spanish Succession. The engagement followed an Anglo-Dutch attempt to capture the Spanish port of Cádiz in September in an effort to secure a naval base in the Iberian Peninsula. From this station the Allies had hoped to conduct operations in the western Mediterranean Sea, particularly against the French at Toulon. The amphibious assault, however, had proved a disaster, but as Admiral George Rooke retreated home in early October, he received news that the Spanish treasure fleet from America, laden with silver and merchandise, had entered Vigo Bay in northern Spain. Philips van Almonde convinced Rooke to attack the treasure ships, despite the lateness of the year and the fact that the vessels were protected by French ships-of-the-line.

The engagement was an overwhelming naval success for the Allies: the entire French escort fleet, under the command of Château-Renault, together with the Spanish galleons and transports under Manuel de Velasco, had either been captured or destroyed. Yet because most of the treasure had been off-loaded before the attack, capturing the bulk of the silver cargo had eluded Rooke. Nevertheless, the victory was a welcome boost to Allied morale and had helped persuade the Portuguese King, Peter II, to abandon his earlier treaty with the French, and join the Grand Alliance.

Despite most of the treasure having been unloaded before the battle the British fleet still made a good haul. The Master of the Mint, Isaac Newton, stated in June 1703 that the total metal handed in to him by that date was 4504 lb 2 oz of silver (just over 2,000 kg), and 7 lb 8 oz and 13 dwt of gold (about 3.4 kg), estimated at a value of £14,000.

 

From http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk April 2014.

Taken from Inns of Kent by G M Rainbird 1949.

The Vigo was once called the Drovers Inn and is reputed to have been renamed by a local man who, returning from the wars, settled down to husbandry and a brewhouse. He renamed his house in honour of Admiral Rookes victory at Vigo at which he himself is said to have fought, and so earned the prize money from which he bought his inn. The Vigo was built in 1471 or thereabouts and was fro a century or two a posting house on the road to Gravesend. The back door is as wide as it is to allow wet horse cloths and rugs to be brought into the kitchen and dried round one of the 3 chimney corners. Such an inn as the Vigo and in such a spot, was necessarily subject to all the excursions and alarums that were going, and it is not strange to hear that when the roof was being reconstructed about 10 years ago, a small chamber or hide-out was found between the inner and outer walls of the tap chimney. Whether is was, as the romantics have it, a smugglers cache, or as stated by the realists, a place where a good citizen could hide from the press gangs operating from Chatham and Gravesend, we know not. Certainly in a mere four and a half centuries it may have been used for many purposes legal and illegal.

The old toll gate across the road was pulled down about 40 years ago, but it is commemorated in a footpath which by-passed it, known locally as 'Savepenny Lane' since it is said to have been used by drovers to save toll. The inn itself is just another that the reader will by now have imagined, low tap room and bars, beams and ingles and the cheerful chatter which always prevades a well run bar.

The Vigo is a 'hall'-type inn, as is common in very old houses; the bar is more or less in front of the door, while the tap room and other bars run out from it, thus enabling the landlord to keep a roving eye on the needs of all classes of patron simultaneously. At the Vigo is played in the tap room a game rarely seen, a form of table skittles, known locally as 'Dadlums'. On a low platform about 6 feet long miniature pins are placed and thrown down by miniature 'cheeses' about 3 inches in diameter from about 5 feet away.

The gardens of The Vigo are old and lovely and contain everything the garden of an English inn should contain. Apart from the more usual vegetables and plants there is a cotoneaste, to which hornets come each year.

 

 

 It is reputed to have been renamed by a local man after he purchased it with "prize money" from his time under Admiral Rooke at the battle of Vigo Bay during Franco/Spanish War in 1702.

I believe the pub finally closed again on 31 October 2014 and has now (2017) been converted into a private residence.

 

LICENSEE LIST

JEAL Jeremiah 1841-Jan/54 dec'd (also farmer age 80 in 1851Census)

MANLEY 1871-1901+ Post Office Directory 1874Census

LIVERSAGE Robert William 1911+ (age 42 in 1911Census)

LEWIS George Charles 1913+ Post Office Directory 1913

ATKINS Walter 1922+ Post Office Directory 1922

ASHWELL Vernon Stuart 1938-39+ (age 48 in 1939) Post Office Directory 1938

http://www.pubshistory.com/Vigo.shtml

http://www.closedpubs.co.uk/vigo.html

 

CensusCensus

Post Office Directory 1874From the Post Office Directory 1874

Post Office Directory 1913From the Post Office Directory 1913

Post Office Directory 1922From the Post Office Directory 1922

Post Office Directory 1938From the Post Office Directory 1938

 

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

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LINK to www.Pubshistory.com