Sort file:- Chatham, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1832-

Admiral Rodney

Latest ????

247 (154) High Street


Former Admiral Rodney 2017

Above Google image, April 2017.

Former Admiral Rodney 2017

Above Google image, April 2017.


The premises was classed as a Beer House in 1872.

Up to 1881 the address was given as 155 High Street, so I assume the street was renumbered some time after that date.

The premises in later years has been a Halfords shop and as of 2011 a Burger King.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 22 November 1853.

Rochester County Bench Wednesday.

Present. Rev. George Davies, Major Boys, and J. Smith Esq.

Samuel Taylor and James McBride were charged with stealing a pair of trousers, value 2s., and a handkerchief, value 6d., the property of Benjamin Barnard, at Chatham.

The prosecutor states that he keeps a shop in Globe Lane, Chatham. About half past four o'clock on the evening of the 14th inst., he missed the articles in question from a line in the middle of his shop. He had seen them safe half an hour before. He had been out in the meantime and missed them on his return. He gave immediate information to Constable Howse, who apprehended the Prisoner at the "Admiral Rodney" beer shop.

Morris Goldsmith stated that on Monday afternoon, between 4 and 5 o'clock, the prisoners came into his shop in Chatham, which is about a quarter of a mile from Globe Lane. Taylor had a pair of trousers under his arm, and asked him to buy them as they were too small for him. He gave him 1s. for them, and had since giving them up to Howse. They did not come into the shop, but stood at the door. The prisoners came together, and on leaving him went to the "Admiral Rodney." McBride did not say anything.

Sarah Reeves, wife of William Reeves, Ostler at the "Haunch of Venison," Maidstone, stated that she had gone to tea with Mrs. Barnard, in Globe Lane. They were upstairs, and as she was looking out of the front window, she saw the two prisoners walking to and fro the front of the shop. They afterwards went in. Mrs. Barnard went down in about two minutes, and witness saw them go out. They had nothing in their hands when they went in.

Constable B. Howse produced the trousers - the handkerchief had not been found. He apprehended the prisoners in the taproom of the "Admiral Rodney" between 4 and 5 on Monday afternoon.

The trousers were identified by the prosecutor, and the prisoners, who declined saying anything in their defence, were committed for trial.

Taylor is well known to the police, and has been previously convicted.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 10 March 1857.

Inquest. Disgraceful Occurrence.

On Monday se'nnight, an inquest was held by T. Hills. Esq., at the "Fountain Tavern," High Street, Chatham, on the body of an unfortunate female, named Ellen Williams, aged 24, who died from the effects of lockjaw, but whose death, it was alleged, had been accelerated in consequence of the negligence of George Parnell, the keeper of the "Admiral Rodney" beer house, Chatham, in which the deceased lodged. The jury were composed of several of the most respectable tradesmen of Chatham, and the inquiry attracted a great deal of interest. The jury having viewed the body which lay in a most miserable bedroom at the "Admiral Rodney" beerhouse, the stench from which seriously affected several of the jurymen.

The first witness examined was Mary Williams, a single woman, who stated that she had known the deceased about 3 years, during which time she had lived in various lodgings until she went to reside at the "Admiral Rodney," where she had been living about 3 months. Witness never heard deceased complaining of being unwell until Wednesday morning last, when she received a message from her, on which she went to the "Admiral Rodney," where he saw the deceased, who complained of being ill and seemed as if she would be choked. Deceased asked witness to write a letter for her to a marine, begging him to come and see her directly. No doctor had been sent for, and witness never saw the landlady go up to visit deceased while she was ill. The deceased died on Friday. Witness head often paid the landlord 1s., when she had a "friend" to visit her there.

Martha Clarke, one of the class of unfortunates, stated that she had known the deceased about 12 months, and had resided at the "Admiral Rodney" about six months. Deceased and witness, on first going to the house, had two rooms to themselves, for which they paid 3 s. 6d. per week. They continue to occupy the rooms until about 2 months ago, when Parnell, the landlady, would not allow them to have them any longer, and they then became what are terms taproom lodges. They had to pay 1s. each for sleeping in the room with anyone all night, and 3d. if they used the room for any short time during the day; sometimes the landlord, and sometimes his wife, took the money. Deceased was very well until Tuesday last, when she complained of having a bad throat. On the following day, deceased been much worse, witness sent to ask the landlord to send for a doctor, but he would not do so, and witness heard him say that for half a pin he would throw the deceased downstairs. The same day Mr. Steddy was sent for, but deceased got worse and died on Thursday night last.

In answer to the coroner and jury the witness entered into a statement of the disgusting practices reported to by the proprietors of the beer house. She stated that the landlord turned her out of the house on Friday morning, just after the deceased was dead, the landlady telling her that they had had trouble enough with the deceased. Witness was out in the street untill early on Friday morning, and as she had no "friend" with her, she did not like to return home, as a landlord always expected them to have a "friend" when they came home. Witness had just recovered from a long illness, which had been occasioned by having been refused to be let in, and kept waiting outside the door, by the landlord, from 2 o'clock until the house was opened in the morning, because she had not taken anyone home with her. It was raining all the time, and afterwards the only food she had from Thursday to Monday was a penny worth of bread and cheese, which she purchased, and a cup of tea giving her by the landlady. When witness was ill landlord sent for Mr. Steddy, who attended her.

Mary Chaney, a married woman, who gave her evidence with very great reluctance, said she was sent for by the landlord to atend the deceased, and was desired by Mrs. Parnell to come downstairs for anything she wanted. Witness remained with deceased until she died in convulsions, at about 4 o'clock on Friday morning. The smell in the room was so powerful than witness, at times, was obliged to go out. Witness ask the landlord several times to send for Mr. Steddy, and on the first occasion of her asking him he said "he'd see." Deceased begged that he might be sent for, and then it was done. She never heard Mr. Parnell use the words mentioned by the witness Clark. About two or three weeks before she died the landlord told witness that deceased was so filthy that she could not stop, and he then gave witness 6d. to clean out her room. About an hour before she died the landlady said something to witness about removing the deceased to the union, but she was then too ill to be removed.

Mr. E. A. Steddy said he first heard of deceased being ill between 11 and 12 o'clock on Wednesday night; he then went to her immediately, and found her suffering from lockjaw. Told both the landlord and landlady that deceased would die. The deceased had sores all over her body, and the odour was horrible. She died from the immediate effects of lockjaw.

The Coroner then summed up the evidence with great care, remarking that although there were certain courses which could be taken in law against the landlord, yet he was not to be held criminally liable for the death of the deceased, who was her own mistress, and who could have left when she pleased.

Mr. Harvey, the foreman of the jury, thought it right that they should enter their solemn protest against the conduct of the landlord who permitted such scenes in his house. The observations of the former appeared to give general satisfaction, and the jury unanimously agreed to the following verdict:- "That the deceased died from the effects of lockjaw; and the jury cannot separate without expressing a very strong opinion on the improper manner in which the "Admiral Rodney" beer house has been conducted, and think is a proper case for the interference of the parish authorities." During the enquiry the coroner sent for Parnell to inquire whether that individual wished to make any statement, but he declined to attend before the jury. The authorities of Chatham have commenced proceedings against Parnell.


Charge against the landlord of the Admiral Rodney.

George Parnell, proprietor of the "Admiral Rodney" beer house, Chatham, was placed in the dock on a charge of keeping a house of ill fame, in High Street, Chatham. The prosecution was instituted by the parish officers of Chatham, who were represented by Mr. Prall. The prisoner was defended by Mr. Stevenson.

Mr. Prall, having stated that the proceedings were taken by the parish offices, in consequence of the strong recommendation of the jury at the inquest which was held at Chatham on Monday, on the body of Ellen Williams, said that the charge was preferred under the 58 Geo. 3rd, cap, 70, and although under that act there was no necessity to call witnesses to support the charge at the present stage of the proceedings - the magistrates being only required to bind the prisoner over to answer the charge to the sessions - yet, under the circumstances, he (Mr. Prall) thought it better that the magistrate should be put in possession of the facts of the case.

Major Boys wished to state, before the case was gone into, that Mrs. Parnell and another person came to his private residence yesterday morning, and, as their business was not known, they were shown into his breakfast room, where himself and two ladies was seated, and commenced entering into the particulars connected with the charge against the prisoner. He, of course, stopped them and then and had them removed, but it was a most unwarrantable liberty for any person to go to the house of a magistrate in reference to any case, merely because the magistrates had signed the warrant, and he (Major Boys) requested that such a liberty would never be taken again.

The evidence of Mary Williams, who was submitted to the inquest, was then taken, but it is, of course, utterly unfit for publication.

It was stated that Martha Clarke, one of the witnesses, hade been intimidated by the prisoner's friends and prevented attending before the magistrates, one of the officers stating that she had been threatened with personal violence if she appeared against the prisoner.

Bridges, one of the Chatham constables, said he had known the "Admiral Rodney" ever since it was kept by the prisoner. He (witness) had frequently seen prostitutes and convicted thieves there. The prisoner had been convicted twice at this court.

In answer to Mr. Stevenson, Bridges stated that he had reported the house to his Superintendent, who had given him directions to watch it. On apprehending the prisoner, the latter said he had a 100 and would make it fly.

Mr. Prall said he did not intend to offer any further evidence, and he now called on the magistrates to bind the prisoner to answer the indictment at the next assizes.

The magistrates then ordered Parnell to enter into recognizance's himself in 60 and two sureties of 30 each, to meet the charge.

The bail were John Smith, at the Blacksmiths, in Chatham Dockyard, and Edward Terry, a beer-house keeper, Brompton.


Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 17 March 1857.

Keeping a disorderly house at Chatham.

George Parnell to keeping a disorderly house at Chatham. The Hon. G. Denman, who appeared for the prisoner, said he had looked very carefully into the case, and there did not seem to him to be any reasonable hope that the defence, which amounted to a discharge of the indictment on points of law, would be such as to exculpate the prisoner from the charge. The only question, therefore, was as to the amount of punishment his Lordship would feel it necessary to award the prisoner. He believed he was correct in saying that the object of the prosecution was simply to prevent a reoccurrence of the offence, and, under these circumstances, he submitted that the case would be best met by the sentence being respited for the present, leaving the prisoner liable to be brought up judgement at any future time.

Mr. Barrow, who appeared for the prosecution, fully concurred in leaving the case in his lordship's hands.

His lordship said the prosecution had been very properly instituted, with a desire to put down nuisances of this description.  Trusting, however, that leniency would not be lost upon the prisoner, and considering what had been stated before him, he felt justified in refraining at the present time from passing sentence, in the belief that the prisoner would not repeat the offence. He should order him to enter into his own recognizance's to appear to receive judgement when called upon, and, if he abstained entirely from such practices in future, he would hear no more of the matter; but if he continued them, the punishment he would then receive would be influenced by the leniency now shown to him.

The prisoner then entered into his own recognizance's of 50 to appear if called upon at any future time to receive judgement. He was then ordered to be discharged.


South Eastern Gazette, Tuesday 16 March 1858.

Sarah Cachal was sentenced to 3 months' hard labour, for stealing a quart pewter pot, the property of George Parnell, "Admiral Rodney" beer house, Chatham.

Superintendent Everist said this description of robbery was on the increase, the prosecutor himself having recently lost no less than 18 pots, all of which had been stolen.


Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 3 August 1858.

Passing bad money at Chatham.

John Johnson, 21, soldier, was indicted for offering to counterfeit 2s. 6d. pieces at Chatham.

Mr. Deeds prosecuted.

George Parnell said he kept the "Admiral Rodney" beer house at Chatham. On the 27th of June prisoner came in at 9 o'clock and called for a pint of porter, and gave him a bad half crown in payment. Prisoner was then given into custody.

By Prisoner:- I did not let the 2s. 6d. go out of my hand. I did not give you change.

P.C. George Baker produce the 2s. 6d. in question. He took the prisoner into custody.

By Prisoner:- I am sure it is the same half crown. It has not left my hand since I had it from the landlord.

Mary Garrett, wife of the landlord of the "Compasses" at Chatham, said:- Prisoner came in about 8:30 on the 27th of June, and ask for a pint of porter, tendering 2s. 6d. in payment. Shortly afterwards she saw prisoner pass the house in custody, and that induced her to take the 2s. 6d. out of the till, and found it bad. It was the only 2s. 6d in the till.

By Prisoner:- There was only one 2s. 6d. in the till. I gave it to my husband. The servant has access to the till, and so has my son, but he was not at home on the evening.

Mathias Garrett saw his wife go to the front door. The soldier went by in custody. Mrs. Garrett showed him the 2s. 6d. He gave it to P.C. Fisher.

By Prisoner:- I saw my wife take out the 2s. 6d. from the till. I kept it in my pocket for 2 hours.

P.C. Fischer produced the bad 2s. 6d.

By Prisoner:- I can swear to the 2s. 6d. It never left my sight at the magistrates' office.

Mr. Barling, silversmith, of Maidstone, proved that both half crowns were bad.

Prisoner read his defence from a paper, and showed considerable shrewdness in cross-examine the witnesses.

Guilty:- Six months hard labour.


Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 16 April 1880.

Wholesale shop robberies.

At the Maidstone Petty Sessions, on Tuesday, a serious charge of shop robbery against three women was gone into. The accused were Charlotte and Rose Russell, the wife and daughter of the landlord of the "Admiral Rodney Inn," High Street, and Charlotte Gilbert, a relative of the other prisoners, and the specific charge gone into was that of stealing a number of articles, value 14s. 10d., from the shop of Mr. Robert Shaw, draper, West Street, on the 12th April.

It appeared that for some time past the prisoners have been in the habit of visiting Mr. Shaw's shop, and every time they went there something was missed. On Saturday night one of them took a pair of boots, but, in consequence of prosecutor being very busy at the time, no notice was taken of it. On Monday night, however, they were watched, and were seen to take a shirt, while two pairs of corsets and two ladies' vests were afterwards found to have been stolen. The prisoners were taken into custody, and Mrs. Russell admitted that she had more things then she had paid for, but said she would pay Mr. Shaw.

At the police station several hats were found on the accused. The prisoners elected to have the case dealt with summarily, and were each sentenced to three months' hard labour.

After the trial the police made an examination of the premises at the "Admiral Rodney Inn," and at the house of the woman Gilbert's husband, and there they found an immense quantity of stolen property, which shows that a system of shoplifting must have been carried on by the accused for some time past. The property, which was concealed in various parts of the premises, and is estimated to be worth upwards of 50, comprises no less than 33 pairs of boots, drapery goods of all descriptions, umbrellas, sacks, brooms, brushes, handbags, and other articles. Many of them have been identified by various tradesman in Maidstone, and on Wednesday an officer of the South Eastern Railway also identified some of the property.

Superintendent Gifford has caused the apprehension of the husbands of Mrs. Russell and Mrs. Gilbert, and there is every reason to believe that various charges will be brought against the accused.

The affair has caused some excitement in Maidstone.



FONE John 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34 (134 High Street)

MOSELEY William 1851+ (age 45 in 1851Census)

PARNELL George 1857-62+ (age 38 in 1861Census)

WINCH Edward (Owner 1872)

WEBSTER George 1871-72 (age 36 in 1871Census) Licensing Records 1872

COPPEN Joseph 1872+ Licensing Records 1872

RUSSELL Mr 1880+

SKINGEL Mary 1881-82+

SPURLING David 1891-1903+ (age 26 in 1891Census)


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

Licensing Records 1872Licensing Records 1872



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