Sort file:- Rainham, November, 2023.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 11 November, 2023.


Earliest 1766-

(Name from)

Green Lion

Closed 30 Nov 2019

104 (14) High Street


01634 377200

Green Lion 2001

Above photo, 2001.

Above photo 2006 by Hazel Standen.

Railway Bell 2013

Above photo 2013 by Chris Whippet, Creative Commons Licence.

Green Lion sign 1996Green Lion sign 2016

Above sign left, November 1996. Sign right from Google 2016.

Thanks from Brian Curtis

Green Lion 2008

Above photo 2008.

Green Lion 2021

Above photo, August 2021, kindly sent by Maggie Francis.

Green Lion sign 2021

Above sign August 2021, kindly sent by Maggie Francis.


The Rainham Poor Book of 1766 makes reference to a John Wakeley spending the sum of 15s at the "Green Lion," (next to St. Margaret's Church) on Good Friday.

Prior to 1900 the Green was often missing off the name and it was simply referred to as the "Lion." The premises used to house a bowling green at the rear of the premises.

During renovation work a Sun Alliance firemark dated 1790 was discovered showed that the victualler Peter Heard had insured the building and its contents for 400.

At the same time of the renovations it was shown that the roof timbers of this building was of an established medieval hall house dating back to the 14th century. In the 17th century a new floor was created internally, and dormer windows were inserted in the roof. The house was encased in brick and chimneys built on to the external walls. The whole building was refronted in the Georgian era, as was the "Cricketers," when coaches using the newly tumpiked road brought prosperity to Rainham’s inns. During further renovations in the 1970s a concealed room was found in the roof, probably used as a hiding place from authority.

It is also suggested that a highwayman named Dick Shepherd visiting the inn, but different versions have him captured and hanged near the top of Berengrave Lane, or alternatively escaping by jumping through a window.

One guest reported seeing a ghost 'lady' in his room, and he said that rooms on the top floor had a creepy feel.

The "Green Lion" used to host several benefit societies such as the Ancient Order of Foresters.

During the 1930s licensee Phil Curling, and the pub was a centre for sportsmen. Mr Curling himself acted as handicapper for all kinds of events. There used to be a bowling green behind the house but this was dug up to grow vegetables during the war years.

During construction of the new Marlborough House there was found a tunnel leading from the pub's cellars to the nearby church.


Kentish Gazette, 3 December, 1783.

William Simmons, from Gillingham, begs leave to acquaint his friends, and the public in general, that he has taking the "Green Lion Inn," Rainham next Chatham.

Those Gentlemen and Ladies, and please to honour him with their company, may depend on the best of beds, likewise on the best of usage, exceeding good stabling for the horses, and best hay and corn, with careful Attendance, and their favours gratefully acknowledged.


Kentish Chronicle, 20 January 1829.

A short time since, a servant of Mr. Fullager, of the "Green Lion," at Rainham, was killed by falling down a well. It appears that a large bucket was usually kept standing with water upon the well lids; and the deceased went with a pale in the dark for some water, but the lids having been left open the unfortunately young woman was precipitated into the well, and when taking out, life was found to be extinct.


From the history web site

My husband and I ran the "Green Lion" public house from 1968 to 1986 and during the many alterations we had there it was discovered that the building was at least six hundred years old, This was confirmed by an environmental officer who we called down and by looking at the roof timbers he confirmed it was fourteenth century; that was in 1969. In the cellar there is an archway bricked up and when the home in between the pub and the church was built the workmen uncovered a passageway that ran from the cellar to the church. When the tiles on the roof were removed in the 1970s workmen discovered a ‘priest hole' with several clay pipes and an old rickety bench in it. We assumed people hid there to escape the authorities, as the "Green Lion" was an old coaching house and this makes sense.

Annie Kitney, who used the pub from the age of eight years until she died well into her 90s, told us that the highwayman Dick Shepherd was captured in the bar of the "Green Lion" and a plaque was in the bar commemorating this but we never found it. We were also told he was hung at the top of Berengrave Lane.

In the first years of our tenancy we used to do overnight accommodation and one of our clients, on his first visit to us was convinced he had seen a ghost of a woman in his room and it frightened him so much that, although he stayed on several occasions, he would never go into that room again. In the end we called for someone to exorcise the rooms on the top floor but they always remained very creepy.

Before the Second World War the back of the public house was a bowling green. This was dug up to help with the war effort. In those days it was known as the "Green Lyon." When the front of the "Green Lion" was redecorated in 1973 they discovered a fire mark from Sun Alliance dated 28th February 1790. We wrote to the company and they sent us a copy of the original entry which gives the name of Peter Hard as the victualler. For his household goods in the dwelling part only and for the brick and tiled building the insured sum was 330.00. Utensils and stock therein only 30.00 Wearing apparel therein 30.00 Plate therein only 10.00 TOTAL 400.00 and duty on that sum 6d.

I think the "Green Lion" must be one of the oldest buildings in Rainham and I expect it could tell quite a few tales if only the walls could speak.

Hazel Staden



From an email received 27 June 2017.

Hi Paul,

It was very interesting to read the information from Hazel Staden who ran the Green Lion in Rainham, with her husband, from 1968 to 1986. However, I am rather puzzled how she says they discovered a fire mark from "SUN ALLIANCE" Insurance group dated 28th February 1790, as I started working for the Alliance in 1963 & they didn't join up with the Sun Fire Insurance until a few years later. Also, before I left work to have our 1st child, in 1973, they had also joined up with the London Assurance, making them the "Sun, Alliance & London"

It is most likely that the fire mark was just from the SUN FIRE INSURANCE GROUP. If not it would be fake or a "made up story."

Norma Coomber.


Kentish Gazette, Friday 12 April 1793.

Friday died Mr. Heard, master of the "Green Lion Inn," Rainham.


Kentish Gazette. Wednesday 3 December 1783.

William Simmonds, from Gillingham.

Begs leave to acquaint his friends, and the public in general, that he has taken the "Green Lion Inn," Rainham next Chatham.

Those gentlemen and ladies, who please to honour him with their company, may depend on the best of beds, likewise on the best of usage, exceeding goods stabling for the horses, the best of hay and corn, with careful attendance, and their favours gratefully acknowledged.


Kentish Gazette, Saturday 19 March 1785.

Came Astray.

Mr. W. Simmons, at the "Green Lion," Rainham, about a fortnight ago.

Two very handsome pointers, supposed to belong to some neighbouring gentleman.

Great enquiry has been made, but to no purpose.

Whoever is the owner of them, and applies to the aforementioned W. Simmons, given the description and marks, and paying the charges, might have them again.


From the Kentish Gazette, 13 January 1804. Price 6d.


He must be a good driver, understand well the care and management of horses, and furnish a respectable reference for a good character, and for sobriety.

Also a Ladies Maid.

She must understand dressing and waiting upon a lady, making pastry and sweet things for the table, and preserving, and something of mantua-making.

Enquire of Mr. Featherstone at the “Green-Lion,” at Rainham, Kent.


From the Kentish Gazette, 11 April 1837.


The "Green Lion," at Rainham, with early possession.

Apply (if by letter, post-paid) to Mr. Vallance, Sittingbourne.


East Kent Gazette, Saturday 25 January 1846.

Licences Transferred.

At the Petty sessions on Monday the following licences were transferred:-

"Lion," Rainham, to Mrs. Sarah Goodsell, from her late husband.


Faversham Times and Mercury and North-East Kent Journal, Saturday 20 September 1879.

Sittingbourne Petty Sessions.

The Bench then proceeded to the consideration of the licence in the cases in which there were complaints about the manner in which the houses were conducted, or in which the holders of the licences had been convicted during the last 12 months of offence against the Licensing Act.

These were John Hughes, "Cricketers Arms," Sheerness (convicted for permitting gambling on February 28th); Peter Newton Barlow "Shipwrights Arms," Sheerness, (convicted of a similar offence); John Bircham, "Highlanders Arms," Minster; Samuel Jarrett, "Cricketers," Rainham; Thomas Grewcock, "Green Lion," Rainham; Elizabeth Sayer, "White Horse," Rainham; Richard Charles Wallace, "Three King's," Sittingbourne; James Millington, beer house keeper, Borden, William Kitchenham, "Rose," Rainham; John Jordan, "Billet beer house", Milton.

The publicans having been cautioned, the Bench renewed each licence, with the exception of those of Bircham and Jarrett, Superintendent Mayne objected to the renewal of the licence to Bircham because of the manner in which it was conducted, owing to the drunkenness, &c., of his wife and frequent quarrels between them. Jarrett's house had also been conducted in a very unsatisfactory way. The bench refused to renew the licence to Bircham and Jarrett, but adjourned the question of renewal until September 29th, notice of which will be given to the owners of the houses.


Faversham News, Saturday 24 November 1883.


The "Green Lion," Rainham, from Patience Jarrett to Kennett Jordan.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 9 December 1944.

Tribute to Ex-Licensee.

At the annual supper, concert and prize distribution in connection with the Rainham Bowling Club, held at the "Green Lion," a striking tribute was paid by the Vice-President (Mr. J E Lewis) to the ex-licensee of that hostelry, (Mr. L A Bartlett, now of Kennington House, Cecil Park, Herne Bay, and who has just retired from business.

For many years Mrs Bartlett had presided over the "Lion," and had also taken an active part in the Bowling Club (Ladies Section,) of which he had been a captain.

Her many kindnesses towards the members will not soon be forgotten, and it was decided to send her a letter, wishing her every happiness in her well merited retirement.

Prior to going to the "Lion," Mrs. Bartlett and her late husband were in a similar business at the "North Foreland," Rochester.


East Kent Gazette - Friday 25 April 1952.

RAINHAM. License Transfers.

New Licensee.

Mr. A. H. Stapley, previously the licensee of the "Blue Boar," Rochester, has taken over the license of the "Green Lion," Rainham. He succeeds Mr. Blundell, who has left the licensed trade to take over a smallholding.


From a probate listing March 1963.

Hall William Henry of the "Green Lion Hotel," Rainham, Kent, died 28th March 1963.

Administration Glocester 30 July to Sydney Luke Hall, licensee.

Effects 1,188 8s.


From an email received 31 August 2023.

My wife's great grandmother Patience Eleanor Colver (before she married R G Hammond) worked as a barmaid for her aunt Patience Grewcock. The 1881 Census shows Patience Grewcock was widowed so she probably inherited the "Green Lion" from Thomas Grewcock. Family lore is that Patience Colver was raised by her aunt at the "Green Man" (sic) so this was likely the start of her lifelong involvement in the food/beverage/accommodation industry.


Gary Milks.


There is a bit of confusion here with this one as to when the "Lion" changed name to the "Green Lion." Perhaps there have been two "Green Lions" at different times, with the current Green Lion" being the "Lion" and another pub being the "Green Lion" at the same time.

Local knowledge definitely needed here.


From the  By Nicola Jordan, 17 December 2019.

Green Lion pub in Rainham put up for sale with Rightmove.

An historic pub in the heart of a town has closed and is now up for sale.

The Grade II-listed Green Lion in Rainham is believed to date back to the 14th century.

Green Lion 2019

The Green Lion public house in Rainham.

It is on the market with estate agents Rightmove with offers invited and a possible change of use for the former coaching house.

Workmen carrying out alterations in the 1960s, uncovered a passageway leading from the cellar of the High Street inn to the nearby St Margaret's Church.

When roof tiles were removed about a decade later, a "priest hole" was discovered with several clay pipes and an old rickety bench in it.

It is possible this was a hiding place for those escaping various authorities and persecution.

Before the Second World War, the back of the pub was a bowling green which doubled up as a tennis court, but this was dug up as part of the conflict effort.

In latter years, live music and functions were held and it also used to have overnight accommodation.

Part of the hostelry was converted into a Thai restaurant but the business no longer exists.

Former landlady Hazel Staden, who ran the pub with her husband between 1968 and 1986, has posted on social media: "I think the Green Lion must be one of the oldest buildings in Rainham and I expect it could tell quite a few tales if only the walls could speak."


I have just been informed by Riki Mercer that the pub has closed and is going to become a nursery. Date of closure was 30th November 2019.

Planning permission has been submitted as follows:- Listed building consent for change of use from public house (sui generis) to a children's day nursery (class E) with associated internal alterations, re-paint the front facade of the building, reinforce the existing fencing around the beer garden to create a secure children's play area and repairing damage to existing external pergola.


From the By Nicola Jordan, 10 September 2020.

Green Lion pub in Rainham, to become Hedgehogs nursery.

An historic pub is being converted into a children's nursery.

The former Green Lion in High Street, Rainham, has been taken over by Hedgehogs Childcare which has pre-schools in Rochester, Chatham and Hempstead.

Former Green Lion 2020

Green Lion in Rainham to become a nursery school.

It is hoped little ones will be enrolling from January where no doubt they might learn about the 14th century hostelry's rich history.

Refurbishment of the Grade II-listed building is under way and the company's spiky emblem now adorns the walls replacing the two green lion illustrations at the doorway.

Hedgehogs Childcare, which has a head office in Hills Terrace, Chatham, was founded by Eve Poynter and Laura Hollands.

Hedgehogs pre-school and forest school opened in 2016 and the day nursery started in March last year.

The Rochester site takes youngsters from three months to five year-old.

The nurseries in Hempstead and Chatham look after children from the age of two.

The former coach house closed at the end of last year.

Workmen carrying out alterations in the 1960s, uncovered a passageway leading from the cellar to the nearby St Margaret's Church.


From the By Nicola Jordan, 9 August 2021.

Former White Horse boss Tracy Besant wants to take over Green Lion, Rainham.

A landlady who misses her old regulars wants to return to Rainham to take over another pub.

Tracy Besant is interested in running the former Green Lion in the High Street which has been empty for more than two years.

She was previously the manager of the nearby "White Horse" but is now working at a hostelry in Hampshire.

The publican of 18 years says she is homesick and wants to come back to serving her locals – as well as being her own boss.

The mum-of-four said: “There’s a lot going on in Rainham with the housing developments all around.

“But there’s not many places for people to go at night time without travelling to Chatham or Rochester.”

The 58-year-old has managed numerous brewery-owned pubs but now wants to run her own business.

Green Lion 2021

The former Green Lion pub in Rainham is once again up for let after Hedgehogs nursery pulled out.

The former teacher decided on a career change after spending time travelling and ending up working in a bar and restaurant in Bali. When the Green Lion came on to the market she went for a viewing and fell in love with the place.

But the owner had sought planning permission for change of use because as a licensed premises it had failed financially.

The original plan had been to convert it into a Hedgehogs children’s nursery but this collapsed after the potential new tenants pulled out because of complications in getting approval from council planners and conservationists.

Businessman Nathan Plumley, who works for the building’s owner Totteridge Developments, said: “It’s been a pub and proved that doesn’t work, it’s been tested.

“But change of use has proved too difficult, the council doesn’t seem to want to see something new.

“So we are going to have to go back to somebody who wants to take it over as a pub or restaurant.”

Tracy, who is originally from Sittingbourne, said: “I have been in the trade a long time and know what works.

“I want to make the place my own and not be micromanaged. I would offer basic pub food, like scampi and chips and cheaper drinks.

“I’ve seen what works for customers.

“When I left the White Horse many of them said ‘why don’t I get another pub in the town and they would come over.”

She plans to speak to Mr Plumley to organise a new viewing.


From the by Nicola Jordan, 16 September 2021.

Green Lion pub, Rainham, in 100k microbrewery revamp.

An historic pub which has fallen into disrepair is set to be transformed into a 100,000 microbrewery.

The new owners hope to reopen the former Green Lion in High Street, Rainham, within a month after a full refurbishment.

The new venture in the heart of the town will prove popular with the increasing number of craft beer drinkers.

It will also breathe life into the vacant site which has been on the market for nearly two years and in recent months targeted by vandals.

The building is owned by north London-based Totteridge Developments, whose Nathan Plumley revealed the news.

He said: "It's exciting, the paperwork is about to be signed. The plan is to bring it back to its former glory."

He added the new tenants plan to spend up to 100,000 revamping the landmark hostelry.

The building was put back up for sale in July after a long-running plan to convert it into a children's day nursery fell through.

Business partners Laura Holland and Eve Poynter pulled out of the deal to open a branch of their Hedgehogs pre-schools after being deterred by restrictions required by council planners and conservationists.

Mr Plumley added: "Change of use has proved too difficult, so we have decided to revert back to it being used as a licensed premises."

Medway's first microbrewery – the Nelson Brewery – opened in Chatham Historic Dockyard 25 years ago.

Its craft ale brewed on site is available at Wetherspoon's pubs nationwide.

Last month we revealed how a former Rainham landlady had her eye on the Green Lion.

Tracy Besant wanted to use old favourites such as scampi and chips to entice locals back to the boozer.

A craft brewery or microbrewery is one which produces small amounts of beer, typically less than large breweries, and is often independently owned.

They are generally perceived and marketed as having an emphasis on enthusiasm, new flavours, and varied brewing techniques.

Details of the new owners will be revealed soon.


From the By Nicola Jordan, 24 August 2022.

Hopes Green Lion in High Street, Rainham, will trade again as a pub.

The owner of a landmark pub has set out his hopes for its future after a long-running and chequered planning history.

Businessman Nathan Plumley is adamant the former Green Lion in High Street, Rainham, should re-open as a community venue.

But first he is hoping to get permission to build a row of terraced homes in the rear car park of the historic grade-II listed building, which has stood in the heart of the town for 600 years.

Since he bought the site more than two year ago he has been "frustrated" as various proposals have collapsed.

He says this has been largely down to council officers "nit-picking" with their requirements.

Firstly, a scheme emerged to turn it into a children's nursery using the former pub garden as a play area for tots.

The experienced businesswomen behind the venture run a group of Hedgehogs schools across Medway and spent thousands getting surveys done which were required by council officers.

They were confident they had met all criteria and even had their logo stencilled on the outside in preparation to welcome the little ones they had already booked in.

Green Lion car park 2022

Homes are earmarked on Green Lion car park.

However, they pulled out after "a last-minute stipulation" from the highways department which they felt was "too much red tape", declaring "enough was enough".

Nathan, who runs his own development company in north London, was then approached by a group who wanted to convert it into a microbrewery.

It was felt the new venture would prove popular with the increasing number of craft beer drinkers as well as breathe life into the vacant site.

But this scheme was short-lived as "the goalposts kept moving".

KentOnline also revealed how a former landlady of the nearby White Horse pub had expressed an interest.

Tracy Bessant was keen to take it over and entice locals back to the boozer with traditional favourites such as scampi and chips.

Now Nathan has submitted an application through his company Totteridge Developments to build a terrace of six homes at the back in a car park which would normally accommodate up to 50 vehicles.

He says he has come to the conclusion the closed-down pub should come back as another pub, not least to appease the planning department.

He said: "It needs to be something a little different, like a gastro pub, not one that just sells cheap beer and meals.

"With all the new housing coming into the area, I think there is a need to provide more in the town.

"All I want is to return it to its former glory and make the place breathe again. It's a lovely building and it needs be open for the town."

He is now on the look out for either another business person or a brewery who'd consider buying the building off him.

KentOnline asked people in Rainham what they would like to see become of the Green Lion.

Street cleaner Matthew Gransden, 21, who has lived in the town for eight years, said: "I wouldn't mind if it was pub again. You can never get enough pubs."

Gran Dee Broderick, 65, said: "I remember going in when it was just known as 'The Lion' and it was a traditional pub. Most of the pubs round here are just for blokes.

"We could do with something a bit more upmarket where you can take the family. I'd no idea it had been there so long. It's a shame to see it so run down. Perhaps more could be made of its history."

Helen Bannister, 67, said: "I would like to see some independent shops in there, like you see in Whitstable and Tenterden. Not everyone wants a Primark on their high street.

"It's no good putting another pub or restaurant in there like you have in Rochester. We don't have the tourist catchment, there's no castle, cathedral or Dickens here."

Sanjay Panchal, 42, who runs Rainham Post Office across the road, said: "I want it to be a pub again and the sooner the better. When it closed my business went downhill a lot.

"People would come in here for lottery tickets and snacks. It was run smoothly as a pub. It would be win-win for me."

Marion McNealey, 79, said: "Anything but another coffee shop. We've got a Chinese and Indian the other end of the high street. Perhaps something different like a Mexican or nice steak house would be good. At the moment it looks an eyesore."




SIMMONS William Dec/1783-85+

HEARD Peter 1790-Apr/1793 dec'd

SNOSWELL Abraham 1826-28+ Pigots 1826Pigot's Directory 1828-29


FRID James 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

CURLING Phil 1930s+

GIBBS William 1839-45+ Pigot's Directory 1839Pigot's Directory 1840CensusPost Office Directory 1845

ALLSWORTH William Joseph 1847-51+ Bagshaw's Directory 1847Census

GOODSELL ???? Mr to Jan/1864 dec'd East Kent Gazette

GOODSELL Sarah Jan/1864+ East Kent Gazette

GREWCOCK Thomas 1879+

JARRETT Patience to Nov/1883

JORDAN Kennett Nov/1883+

Last pub licensee had BARTLETT Alfred pre 1944

KERCHELL Lawrence 1948+ Kelly's 1948

BLUNDELL H L 1951+ Kelly's 1951

Last pub licensee had STAPLEY A H Mr Apr/1952-57+ Kelly's 1953Kelly's 1955Kelly's 1957

HALL William Henry to 28/Mar/1963 dec'd

HALL Sidney Luke Apr/1963+

STANDEN Michael & Hazel 1968-74+ Kelly's 1971Kelly's 1972Kelly's 1973Kelly's 1974

STADEN Hazel 1986


Pigots 1826From the Pigot's Directory 1826

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

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

Pigot's Directory 1839From the Pigot's Directory 1839

Pigot's Directory 1840From the Pigot's Directory 1840


Post Office Directory 1845From the Post Office Directory 1845

Bagshaw's Directory 1847From Bagshaw Directory 1847

Kelly's 1948From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1948

Kelly's 1951From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1951

Kelly's 1953From the Kelly's Directory 1953

Kelly's 1955From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1955

Kelly's 1957From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1957

Kelly's 1972From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1972

Kelly's 1973From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1973

Kelly's 1974From the Medway Kelly's Directory 1974

East Kent GazetteEast Kent Gazette


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