Sort file:- Maidstone, December, 2023.

Page Updated Maidstone:- Saturday, 16 December, 2023.


Earliest 1798-

Rodney's Head

Latest 1870-

(Name to)

47 High Street



It was mentioned in the song, "The Maidstone Landlords" in 1798, but referred to as simply as the "Rodney."

I have also found reference in the Maidstone Telegraph of 1870 saying the pub changed name between 1830 and 1870 to the "Admiral Rodney" they are in fact the same pub and I believe was known by both names throughout that period.


Kentish Gazette 6 August 1819.

On Saturday last, and inquest was held at the "Rodney's Head" public house, in Maidstone, before William Henry Stacey, Esq., Mayor and Coroner, on view of the body of John Jacobs, who was found drowned on the preceding morning in the river Medway, near the bridge.

From the evidence of several persons, it appeared, that the deceased was the principal witness in the case of the three Jews, who were committed for being accessories in the burglary committed at Sheerness, and that he was also brother to David Jacobs, who was convicted with two others at the last March assizes for the said burglary.

It appeared that the deceased had lately been much dejected, particularly on Thursday last, when he would neither eat or drink anything; and he said to have laboured under considerable fear, he having been threatened to be murdered if he disclosed anything against the prisoners.

He arose at early hour on Friday morning, and giving his son, with whom he had slept on the preceding night, all the money he had, kissed him, took leave of him, and told him he should never see him any more, after which he left the house, and drowned himself by jumping into the Medway.

Verdict:- Found Drowned.


From the Kentish Gazette, 1 August 1843.


The town of Maidstone was thrown into some little commotion, on Thursday morning, by a report that a young woman, named Anne Young, a resident in the town, had been murdered the previous night. It appears that she was about seventeen years old, and had been for some time in the service of Mr Chittenden, a cabinet-maker and upholsterer, at Maidstone, and left her master's house about half-past seven o'clock on Wednesday evening, and nothing more appears to have been heard of her until her body was taken dead out of the Medway, about twelve o'clock at night.

It should seem that soon after ten o'clock a boatman, named Smith, was waiting for his skiff, which had been hired by a gentleman to go up the river, and while so engaged heard violent shrieks from a female voice at a short distance, and in the direction of the Old Palace, under the cliff. He listened for a moment, and almost immediately two men and a woman came towards him in a direction from the place where he had heard the screaming, and on the woman appearing to lag behind, as though she was listening, one of the men with an oath said. "Come along, she is all right now." This exclamation excited his suspicion, and he went towards the parties and asked them what was the matter? To which they replied, that they had just seen a woman throw herself into the river. They were then about to walk away, but Smith said they had better wait a little, and he gave an alarm, and Sunnock, one of the Maidstone borough police, came up, and the parties were taken into custody.

Drags were procured, and in about an hour and a half the body of the deceased was found and conveyed to the "Rodney Head," in the High street.

Mr. Leney, a surgeon, residing in the town, was sent for, and he promptly attended, and did all that was possible to restore the deceased, but from the length of time she had been in the water all his exertions were unavailing. Upon the body of the deceased being examined there did not appear to be any external marks of violence, but in her mouth there was a little grass and dirt, such as are found at the bottom of rivers. Near the place whence Smith, the waterman, imagined the screams to have proceeded, there were marks as if a struggle had recently taken place upon the spot, also a small quantity of blood, and upon the edge of the bank there was a deep indentation of a human foot. It appears that several other persons besides Smith heard the screaming of a female at the time in question.

On Friday, an inquest was held at the "Queen’s Head," on the body, before F. F. Dally, esq., coroner, and a respectable jury Additional evidence to the foregoing was given, as follows:—

George Chittenden deposed, that he was a cabinet maker and upholsterer, and knew the deceased, whose name is Ann Young; she was about seventeen years of age, and was in his employ as a workwoman for two or three months. He saw her last alive about half past six o'clock on Wednesday evening. On one occasion, when deceased was out of temper, she uttered such sobs as described by Dr. Sibbald. Deceased had said in his hearing that when her mother offended her she had told her she would drown herself.

From the evidence of Edward Hodges, it appeared that the blood in the path, alluded to by a previous witness, emanated from his nose on the night in question.

Susanna Chittenden, wife of G. Chittenden stated, that deceased left the house shortly after seven on Wednesday evening. Witness charged the deceased with having stolen some things. Deceased was called up stairs from her work, and on coming into the room, the mother of witness accused her of having stolen four pairs of stockings and a pair of gloves. Deceased said that she had not seen anything of them. Witness then charged her with stealing a silver spoon, and a chemise. Deceased replied that she had not seen it. Witness told her unless she produced the things she certainly must prosecute her. Deceased replied, let me do what I would, she could not help it. When deceased was in the room, witness produced to her two odd stockings and a chemise, which she got from Mrs. Gascoine with whom she lodged. She then asked deceased whose stockings she had got on? When she replied, "they are not yours, are they?" and on examining the top, witness discovered that she had on two pairs of stockings, one of which belonged to the mother of witness. Deceased afterwards produced the gloves from under some carpet where she had hid them. Witness had heard her say within a week, that she had threatened her mother to drown herself.

Daniel Merrick (one of the parties in custody), in defence stated that he fell into the company of Tree and Collins not five minutes before they heard the shrieking of the deceased; and that on proceeding to give the alarm. Tree assisted the woman along the path, as she was fainting, but that he did not have his arm round her. He denied that either of them had said, "Come along—she's all right."

Charles Tree (another of the prisoners) gave a similar account.

The Coroner, in addressing the jury, remarked that, he had no doubt they would think, with him, that there was nothing in the evidence which had been adduced to implicate any parties in a participation in the death of the unfortunate deceased.

The jury immediately returned a verdict of "Found drowned.''

The prisoners were then taken before the magistrates and discharged.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 8 June 1841.


To be heard at Maidstone, in the county of Kent, on the 30th day of June, 1841, at the hour of ten in the forenoon precisely.


Late of the "Rodney's Head," High Street, Maidstone, in the county of Kent, licensed victualler and dealer in hay, corn and straw.


Southeastern Gazette, 12 April 1853.

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

Richard Virgo, a lad 17 years of age, was charged with stealing two sheets, the property of George Punnett.

Ann Punnett, wife of prosecutor, who is landlord of the "Rodney's Head Inn," High-street, stated that the prisoner came to their house to lodge on the previous Saturday. On the 5th April she missed two sheets from the room in which he had slept, but not off the same bed. Had since seen the sheets in the hands of the constable (which were produced by W. Sunnucks).

Henry John Flinn, pawnbroker, of King-street, stated that one of the sheets produced was pawned by the prisoner on the 4th April, which he took in. Believed the other was also pawned at his shop on the following day, with his assistant, who had since suddenly left his service. The prisoner gave the name of Richard Long.

Police-constable W. Sunnucks stated that in consequence of hearing of the robbery, he made enquiries, and obtained the sheets produced from the shop of Mr. Flinn. From the description given by Mr. Flinn’s assistant he apprehended the prisoner, who denied having pawned the articles, but on taking him to the shop he was at once identified as the person who pledged them.

Committed to the borough sessions.


South Eastern Gazette, 24 January, 1860.

Charge of Stealing a 5 Note and a Sovereign.

At the Maidstone Police Court, on Tuesday, before H. Argles and H. W. Joy, Esqrs., Robert Waters, 23, of Wharf-lane, Maidstone, and John Simmonds, 42, of the "Man of Kent" yard, Strood, were charged with stealing a 5 note and a sovereign, the property of Mr. W. Fanestt, Ashford-road, under the following circumstances:—

On Monday, about three o’clock in the afternoon, Mrs. Mary Ann Fancett, the wife of prosecutor, while going round by the Fair-meadow, lost a shilling and a sovereign, wrapped in a 5 note. Thomas Toffery, a sweep, having heard that his child had picked up some money, and that the prisoner Simmonds had taken it away, went to him and asked for it; Simmonds, however, at first denied having taken any money from the child, but subsequently admitted that he had done so, and gave Toffery 10s., telling him that his child had picked up a sovereign and a 5 note. Toffery afterwards saw the other prisoner, who gave him 6s. Waters, it transpired, was present when Simmonds took the money away from the child, and obtained change for the note from Mr. Alldridge, of the "Rodney’s Head," stating that his master had sent him to do so.

Ann James also deposed to Simmonds having changed a sovereign at the "Who’d’ a thought it?" beer-shop, opposite the Fair-meadow, on the day in question. When taken into custody by Sergeant Hills, both prisoners denied having had the note.

In defence Simmonds said he was standing at the corner of Mr. Wright’s warehouse, when a respectable man came up to him, with several other men who were standing there, and said "That child (meaning Toffery’s) has got a sovereign and a 5 note; you had better take it to its father." He (Simmonds) took the money away from the child, and asked the other men what he should do with it. He afterwards gave the note to Waters to change, who did so, and the money was shared between ten of them. Toffery had the largest share, his child having found the money. The prisoners were remanded till Saturday, Alldridge becoming surety for both of them. On Saturday they were again brought up, but no one appearing to prosecute, they were discharged.


South Eastern Gazette, 12 March, 1860.


At the Maidstone Police Court, on Saturday, (before C. Arkcoll, Esq., in the chair, and E. Stacey, Esq.), Peter Collins, a vendor of fish, was charged with assaulting Louisa Roberts, on the 3rd inst. The prosecutrix, who had a vary black eye, said she was at the "Rodney’s Head" public-house on the above day, when the prisoner brutally assaulted her, without the slightest provocation. The defendant not appearing, a warrant was ordered to be issued for his apprehension.


From the Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 17 March, 1860. Price 1d.


Peter Collins, a vendor of fish was summoned at the instance of Louisa Roberts. The defendant did not appear and complainant stated that on the 3rd inst. she went with a friend named Jemima Russell, to a stall in the Fish Market, kept by the defendant's mother. While there she had a few words about the defendant, when Russell struck her. Complainant then proceeded to the “Rodney's Head,” where, shortly afterwards her friend came again and struck her. The defendant soon afterwards came into that house and without any provocation struck her a violent blow on the eye. A warrant was issued for the apprehension of the defendant.


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 19 May 1860. Price 1d.


On Tuesday an inquest was held at the "Rodney's Head," on the body of a female found in the river Medway, on the previous day. The evidence elicited upon the enquiry was that about two o'clock on the day in question, a body was seen floating down the river opposite Messrs. Smythe's wharf, by T. Smith, when it was conveyed to the above-named house. It having been ascertained that a female named Margaret Tapsfield, aged 35, a daughter of Mrs. Tapsfield, residing at Coxheath, had left her home since the beginning of January last; information was forwarded to the party, and the clothing upon the body was examined and found to be of the same material and of the same description as that worn by Margaret Tapsfield, when she left her home. The initials “M. T.” were also marked on the linen.

Francis Tapsfield, the sister of the deceased, and also her brother said that they had not the slightest doubt but that the body was that of their sister. It however, was very much decomposed, and had the appearance of having been in the water for two or three months. The body has been measured by police-sergeant Hills, and this witness was of opinion that deceased when alive, stood about 5ft. 7in., which was about the same height as Margaret Tapsfield. The body could not be identified in any other way than by the description of clothing, a portion of which was dried and found to be of the same colour material as that worn by deceased, when she was last seen alive. The Coroner (T. Kipping, Esq.) observed that from the evidence elicited he should have had no hesitation in coming to the same conclusion as the two former witnesses, but for the observations of one of the gentlemen of the jury; if however, they were not satisfied, he would adjourn the inquest, and a post mortem examination should be made on the body, to endeavour to ascertain whether she had met with her death from any other cause than by drowning. However, the great majority of the jurymen were unanimous in their opinion, there being only one dissenting voice, who, after taking a second look at the body, apologised to the coroner, and a verdict, after a lengthened enquiry, was returned of "Found dead in the river.”


South Eastern Gazette, 5 June, 1860.

Charge of Robbery from the Person.

At the Maidstone Petty Sessions, on Tuesday, before H. W. Joy, Esq., in the chair, and R. Cooper. Peter Collins, a returned convict, was charged with robbing a labourer, named King, of 11s. 6d. The prosecutor, it seemed, was keeping up the Whitsuntide holidays at the "Rodney’s Head" on the previous day, when he became so much intoxicated that he fell asleep, and rolled on to the floor. Whilst he was in that position, a girl named Chrisfield saw the prisoner put his hand into the right hand pocket of prosecutor’s trowsers, and heard some money chink. The girl informed Mr. Alldridge, the landlord, who charged the prisoner and his two companions, one named Matthews and the other described as a "duffer," with having robbed King, who was minus all his money, consisting of four half-crowns, a shilling and a sixpence. They all denied having any knowledge of the money, and one of them got King out of the house, but information was given to the police, and Collins was taken into custody. On being searched one half-crown, a shilling, and 7 1/2d. in copper were found upon him. He was committed for trial.


South Eastern Gazette, 10 July, 1860.


These Sessions were held at the Town-hall on Friday last, before Sir W. B. Riddell, Bart., Recorder.

Alleged Robbery from the Person.

Peter Collins, 24, labourer, for stealing 11s. 6d., the money of George King, from his person, at Maidstone, on the 28th May. Mr. Addison was for the prosecution, and Mr. Ribton defended the prisoner.

The prosecutor, a labourer, was keeping up the Whitsuntide holidays at the "Rodney’s Head," and getting intoxicated, he fell asleep there. While asleep, according to the evidence of a young woman named Chrisfield, the prisoner Collins (who was in company with two other men) put his hand into the prosecutor’s pocket, and the witness heard some money jingle. She left the room to communicate what she had seen to the landlord, and on the prosecutor awaking he found that his money (consisting of four-crowns, a shilling, and a sixpence) was gone. Mr. Alldridge, the landlord, went into the room, and charged the men with stealing the money. Prisoner denied it, and one of the other men said "I’ll let you know about this another day." They then all went out of the house, and information being given to a constable, the prisoner was taken into custody, when a half-crown, and 1s. 7d. in other money, was found upon him.

Mr. Ribton urged that the whole case rested on the unsupported testimony of the girl Chrisfield, on which it would be unsafe to convict the prisoner.


The Recorder ordered the expenses of the prosecutor and the witness Alldridge to be disallowed, as the former was drank, and he considered the house kept by the latter to be of a discreditable character.


South Eastern Gazette, 31 July, 1860.

SATURDAY. CROWN COURT. Alleged Perjury at Cranbrook.

Horace Fuller, a decently-dressed young man, was indicted for having committed wilful and corrupt perjury, at Cranbrook, on the 16th December. Mr. Barrow was for the prosecution, and Mr. Ribton defended the prisoner.

The charge arose out of an affiliation case which came before the magistrates in petty sessions at Cranbrook, on the 1st December, when Arthur Fuller, brother of the prisoner, was alleged to be the father of the child of a young woman named Caroline Penfold. The prisoner, who is a horse dealer at Canterbury, was called as a witness for the defence, and swore that on the second night of the Maidstone fair, in October, 1658, Penfold stayed with him at an inn in Maidstone, which was the perjury now alleged against him. The summons, in consequence of this evidence, was then dismissed, but a fresh information was taken out, and the case re-heard on the 3rd May. The prisoner then repeated the above statement, but an order was made, and the magistrates directed the present proceedings to be taken against Fuller.

The young woman Penfold was now called, and stated that she was at Maidstone during the fair of Michaelmas, 1858, but the first night she slept at the "Papermakers’ Arms," Stone-street, and the second at the "Gardeners’ Arms," Earl-street; and that at the last-named place three women slept in the same room. Fanny Spice, Elizabeth Couchman, and Thomas Brooker, the latter keeping the "Gardeners Arms," were called to corroborate the statement of Penfold, with reference to her having slept at the last-named house.

Mr. Ribton urged that the prisoner had simply made a mistake, when before the magistrates, as to its being the second instead of the first night of the fair. In support of this defence he called Hepzibah Pooley, who stated that on the second day of the fair Penfold admitted to her that she slept with the prisoner on the previous night; Joshua Aldridge, the landlord of the "Rodney’s Head," who said that on the first night of the fair the prisoner slept at his house in the same room with two females, one of whom he believed was Caroline Penfold; and Richard Parritt, of Horsmonden, who stated that Penfold had asked him to swear that he saw her come down stairs at the "Papermakers’ Arms" on the second morning of the fair. William Farley, horse-dealer, of Goudhurst, also spoke to the prisoner as being a person of good character.

Superintendent English, one of the witnesses for the prosecution, was recalled, and said that on the 3rd May, in a conversation be had with the witness Aldridge, that person told him that none of the Fullers slept at his house during the fair in question; that one of them ordered a bed, but did not sleep there, and that no girl or stranger to him slept at his house during the fair.

The hearing of the case occupied the court several hours, and the jury ultimately found the prisoner guilty.

Sentence deferred.


Maidstone Telegraph, Rochester and Chatham Gazette, Saturday 20th October 1860.

Maidstone Petty sessions.

William Brown was charged with assaulting William Acott.

Complainant said he lived at Yalding, and on Wednesday last, between 4 and 5 o'clock, whilst waiting for the train, he went to the "Rodney's Head" Public House, High Street. After sitting down for a few minutes he fell asleep. Upon awaking he saw the defendant, who asked him to "stand a pot of beer." Another man named Smith was also present. He treated the man with the beer. The defendant then charged him with telling a gamekeeper that he had taken two hares, and an altercation ensued. Subsequently the complainant ordered a pint of beer for himself, when Smith took up the measure and drank a portion of its contents and handed it to other person's in the room, at the same time saying that if (he) the complainant did not like that he could have a punch of the head, and immediately struck him a violent blow. Complainant got up to defend himself, when the defendant and Smith both attacked him and severely knocked him about. He (complainant) took up an empty pint measure and in defence struck one of them with it. After this he was knocked down and beaten until rendered insensible. He was severely bruised about the head, and a portion of his hair torn out, the besides receiving two black eyes. Twenty shillings in silver and some coppers were taken from his pocket. On his complaining to the landlord (Mr. Aldridge) that have been robbed Smith again attacked him, knocking him down. Shortly after a man whom complainant new, living at Wateringbury, came to the house, and upon him telling him that he had been robbed and beaten, he accompanied him to the "Jolly Waterman," Earl Street, where he was put to bed, being too ill to go home.

A witness name Strood was called on the part of the complainant, who corroborated a portion of his evidence, but said he did not see what was going on in the passage of the house, where, it appeared, the complainant had received the most violent.

The case was adjourned until this day (Saturday), and a warrant granted for the apprehension of Smith.



SANDERS Samuel 1841+ (also dealer in hay, corn and straw, age 50 in 1841Census)

PUNNETT George 1853+ South Eastern Gazette

ALDRIDGE Joshua 1858-61+ (age 66 in 1861Census)


South Eastern GazetteSouth Eastern Gazette



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