DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Page Updated:- Saturday, 11 September, 2021.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1828-

Chequers Inn

Latest 1990's

 

Biddenden

Chequers Inn circa 1883

Above photo circa 1883. The "Red Lion" is also shown in the distance.

Chequers 1904

Above postcard, circa 1904, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers postcard

Above postcard, date unknown.

Chequers 1926

Above photo, circa 1926, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Chequers Inn 1928

Above postcard, date 1928, kindly sent my Mark Jennings.

View from clock tower

Above photo showing the village from the clock tower. Date unknown.

Chequers 1985

Above photo 1985, kindly sent by Michael Mirams.

Chequers

Above photo, date unknown.

Above sign left, march 1987. Sign right, March 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis www.innsignsociety.com.

Chequers card

Above card issued April 1955. Sign series 5 number 13.

 

Traced back to 1855, the original pub was demolished and rebuilt in 1892. The pub today unfortunately closed in the 1990s and at time of writing this (2014) is a Chinese Restaurant.

 

Former Chequers 2009

Above image from Google maps showing the former "Chequers" in 2009.

 

A newspaper cutting reported the following discovery during demolition of the old Chequers Inn in 1892: “a box between the beams near a staircase containing the remains of an infant - top of the skull, arm and jawbone clearly discernible, the rest crumbled to dust. Close by... a pot of paste labelled Poison.”

 

From the Maidstone Gazette and Kentish Courier, 5 April, 1842.

IN KENT. THE SUTTON BREWERY PROPERTY,

The "Chequers Inn," at Biddenden,

At the "Star Hotel," Maidstone, on Thursday, April 21st, 1842 at Four for Fire o’clock precisely, by order of the Trustees of the late Mr. Crisp, who have directed a positive sale of this remaining portion of his estate, in 4 lots.

The "CHEQUERS INN," at Biddenden, with stables, chaise-houses, outbuildings, and gardens.

 

Kentish Gazette, 10 February 1852.

Wholesale Case of Uttering Counterfeit Coin.

On Saturday week, two men of respectable appearance, named Robert Lambert, innkeeper, of Biddenden, and James Austin, shoemaker, also of Biddenden, were brought up in custody, before the Rev. N. Toke, charged with having feloniously uttered a number of counterfeit crowns and half crown pieces, at Smarden, Pluckley, Egerton and other places in the neighbourhood of Ashford.

Both prisoners reside at Biddenden, and have carried on business there, in their respective vocations, for some considerable length of time, bearing (we believe) a good character amongst their neighbours in the locality. At least, they were persons so situated as to be little open to suspicion of uttering base coin, a dangerous and criminal trade pursued generally by the very worst characters, who also usually move about rapidly from place to place in order to avoid detection.

It would appear, however, that the prisoners drove over in a light cart to the neighbourhood of Ashford on Wednesday evening, the 28th ult., and that at Smarden they pulled up at the house of Mr. West, the "Chequers Inn," where they called for and were served with a quartern of gin. They tendered half a crown in payment, and received 2s. change, soon after which they left the house. Subsequent to this time it would seem they drove through the maltman's hill gate, on the Smarden road, where they tendered a 5s. piece in payment of the toll of 4 1/2d., receiving the change and driving away. From this place they doubtless proceeded on their errand to several other places not yet discovered, because some two or three hours afterwards they returned through the same toll gate and on the pretext that they had lost the ticket given them, they paid toll again, tendering a half-crown piece and receiving the change.

In passing through Smarden a second time they visited the "White Horse Inn," and succeeded in passing two more half crown pieces, in payment for two quarterns of gin, each prisoner paying away one of the coins, and receiving 2s. in change.

At another period of the evening the prisoners called at the "Black Horse Inn," Pluckley, where they also had a quartern of gin, tendered half a crown and received 2s. change, with which they drove off. It is needless to state that in each of the cases mentioned, the coins uttered by the prisoners turned out to be bad.

From what we saw of them they are excellent counterfeits, being electro-plated with silver, and having an excellent ring when sounded, as also an accurately milled edge. They are much lighter, however, than the genuine coin, being in weight not heavier than two ordinary shillings. The toll keeper was the first to discover the trick that had been played off upon him, and the circumstances obtaining currency, several other parties who had been duped also found out their mistake, and made the matter know to the parochial constables, by whom the particulars were communicated to superintendent Gifford, at Ashford, late on Thursday night.

On the following morning that officer proceeded to make searching inquiries into the case, and the result was so far satisfactory, that he at length obtained what he thought a good clue to the offenders, and he at once drove , over to Biddenden, a distance of fifteen miles from Ashford, accompanied by constables Bennett and Allen. Arrived at Biddenden he apprehended Lambert and Austin, informing them of his charge against them; they, of course, stoutly denied all knowledge of the matter, although admitting they had been out together the previous evening in the neighbourhood of Ashford.

The persons and premises of both parties were searched, but nothing of a suspicious character was found in the possession of Lambert. In the workshop of the other prisoner, a very conclusive discovery was made, namely, a packet containing four counterfeit crown pieces, and an equal number of bad half crowns.

The prisoners were then conveyed into Ashford, and on Saturday they were brought for examination as before stated, when Mr. Dangerfield, solicitor, appeared to watch the case on their behalf. They were both committed for trial.

 

Kentish Gazette, 16 March 1852.

UTTERING COUNTERFEIT COIN.

James Austin, 42, shoemaker, and Robert Lambert, 23, landlord of the "Chequers" public house at Biddendcn, were indicted for misdemeanour, in having unlawfully uttered counterfeit coin.

Mr. Deedes and Mr. Dawson conducted the prosecution; Mr. Ballantine and Mr. Repton defended Lambert; and Mr. Charnock was counsel for the other defendant.

The prisoners lived at Biddenden. On the evening in question they took a trip round the country together in a horse and cart. At Egerton, Lambert went into the house of John Luck, grocer, and asked for half an ounce of tobacco, and paid for it with a counterfeit half crown. At Smarden they called at the "Chequers," where they asked for "a drop of gin," and Austen paid for it with a counterfeit half crown, they thence proceeded through Pluckley gate, where one of them paid the gate-keeper a counterfeit five-shilling piece, which was not discovered till next day. They then went to the "Black Horse," Pluckley, where they had a drop of gin and peppermint, for which Lambert paid. At Egerton they had a glass of brandy and water, and paid for it with a sixpence. At Smarden they went to the "White Horse," where they each called for a quartern of gin and peppermint, and each paid for it with a counterfeit half-crown.

Bonny Allen, constable, found over the window, on a shelf, in Austen's shop, four counterfeit crowns and four counterfeit half-crowns.

Several witnesses were called to their character.

The Jury found the defendants Guilty, but recommended Lambert to mercy upon the ground that they believed he had been partly led into the commission of the offence by the other prisoner.

Mr. Justice Coleridge sentenced Austen to be kept to hard labour for twelve, and Lambert for nine months.

 

Kentish Mercury 13 March 1852.

Passing counterfeit coin.

James Austin (42, imp) shoemaker, and Robert Lambert, victualler, were placed at the bar on charges of passing several pieces of counterfeit coin.

Mr Deeds and Mr Macy Dawson prosecuted, and briefly stated the case, from which it appears that both prisoners resided at Biddenden the prisoner Lambert, keeping the "Chequers" public house. On the 27th of January the prisoners drove in the country, and went into several places on the plea of purchasing goods and refreshments; Mr West, landlord of the "Chequers" public house, Smarden, said the prisoners came to his house on the 27th of January, and ask for some gin, and give him half a crown, which he afterwards ascertained to be bad.

Mr Charnock cross examine the witness on behalf of the prisoner Austin.

Mr Ballantine with Mr Ribton, appeared for Lambert, and elicited from West that on the following day we went to Lambert's house, but did not speak of receiving the bad coin, given as his reason for not doing so was because he had received it from Austin.

Everton, toll keeper of Pluckley-gate, proved receiving a bad crown peace in payment of the toll.

Evidence was also taken of the prisoners calling at the "Black Horse," Pluckley at Mr Heathfield's, the "White Horse," Smarden; and other places.

The constable of Biddenden said that he searched Austen's house, when he found four counterfeit crown pieces and for counterfeit half crowns.

Superintendent Gifford, of the Ashford District, produced the pieces.

Mr Ballantine cross examined the witness for Lambert, and he stated that Lambert, on being charged with the uttering, said he must have receive the coins in his business. Also that the passed a crown piece at the gate. On searching his cash box, witness found about 4, all of which were good.

Gifford said, in reply to Mr Charnock, for Austen, that he the prisoner did not say he received change for a 5 note from a travelling Hawker.

Mr Bartlett, silversmith of Maidstone, proved the pieces to be counterfeit- the four being from the same mould.

Mr. Charnock on behalf of Austin, addressed the jury, urging that he had received change for a 5 note from a travelling hawker, and that he passed the money ignorant of it being counterfeit.

Mr Ballantine urged the improbability of a respectable tradesman, like the prisoner Lambert, placing himself in such a culpable position of passing counterfeit coin. He would put it to the jury, from West's evidence, of his calling on Lambert a day or two afterwards making no mention of the matter, whether that was not favourable to the prisoner Lambert. No bad money was found on his premises, but beyond that a large sum was found, proving he was beyond the reach of want. He called on the jury to return the prisoner back to society to sustain at the honest livelihood and good character with which he appeared to have earned among his fellow men.

Several persons were called who gave prisoners an excellent character.

The learned judge then went through the evidence, and the jury, after a minutes consideration, delivered the verdict of "Guilty" against both prisoners, stating they recommended Lambert to the merciful consideration of the court, as they thought he had been drawn into the crime by the other prisoner.

One of the jurors said that was not his opinion.

His lordship directed the jury to reconsider their verdict - when they again turned round in the box, and almost immediately returned a second time a verdict of "Guilty," recommended Lambert to mercy.
Mr Deeds on the part of the prosecution, joined in the recommendation.

Mr Ribton, on behalf of Lambert, produced a memorial as to the character, signed by 60 inhabitants of Goudhurst.

His lordship, in passing sentence said, he could not listen to the recommendation as of that importance to justify any great difference in the offence. It was not as if the prisoner Lambert had not arrived at such an age to know the nature of the crime; he was aware of it - he had been a tradesman, and he therefore knew its mischievous and great injury to that class. There was another case in the indictment which had not been before the jury, and he had no doubt if it had been done, they would not have joined in the recommendations. They appeared to have had occasion to pass through another turnpike; and although they had no necessity to pay the toll, they did so, by again passing the counterfeit half crown. he should therefore direct the prisoner Austen to be imprisoned twelve months, and Lambert nine months - both with hard labour.

 

Kentish Gazette, Tuesday 16 March 1852.

Uttering Counterfeit Coin.

James Austin, 42, shoemaker, and Robert Lambert, 23, landlord of the "Chequers" public house at Biddenden, where indicted for a misdemeanor, in having unlawfully uttered counterfeit coin.

Mr. Deeds and Mr. Dawson conducted the prosecution; Mr. Ballantine and Mr. Repton defended Lambert; and Mr. Charnock was counsel for the other defendant.

The prisoners lived at Biddenden. On the evening in question they took a trip around the country together in a horse and cart. At Egerton, Lambert went into the house of John Luck, grocer and asked for half an ounce of tobacco, and paid for it with a counterfeit half crown. At Smarden they called at the "Chequers," where they asked for "a drop of gin," and Austin paid for it with a counterfeit half crown. They then proceeded through Pluckley gate, where one of them paid the Gate-keeper a counterfeit five shilling piece, which was not discovered till next day. They then went to the "Black Horse," Pluckley, where they had a drop of gin and peppermint, for which Lambert paid. At Egerton they had a glass of brandy and water, and paid it for it with a sixpence. At Smarden they went to the "White Horse," where they each called for a quarter of gin and peppermint, and each paid for it with a counterfeit half crown.

Bonnie Allen, constable, found over the window, on a shelf, in Austen's shop, four counterfeit crowns and four counterfeit half crowns.

Several witnesses were called to their character.

The Jury found the defendant Guilty, but recommended Lambert to mercy upon the ground that they believed he had been partly lead into the commission of the offence by the other prisoner.

Mr. Justice Coleridge sentenced Austin to be kept to hard labour for 12 months, and Lambert for 9 months.

 

Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Tuesday 26 October 1852.

Richard Wildish, labourer, 43, (N.). was charged with assaulting John Bonny Allen, a constable, while in the execution of his duty, at Biddenden.

There had been a party at the "Chequers Inn," Biddenden, and the constable was employed in clearing the house. The prisoner had been noisy and insulting to other person's, knocking an old man's cap off, and struck him for complaining, and when the constable arrived and exhibited his staff of office, he came in for a blow or two and much abuse.

Guilty:- The same sentence was passed as in the other cases of assault on constables, 12 months imprisonment, and to find sureties to keep the peace.

 

Sussex Agricultural Express, Saturday 8th January, 1898.

Transfers were granted by the Bench; "Chequers Inn," Biddenden, from M. Fairhall to F. W. More.

 

Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, Thursday 10 February 1898.

Biddenden Cottage Gardeners.

The monthly meeting of the Cottage Gardeners was held at the "Chequers Inn," on Tuesday evening. Mr. F. Steadman presided, and there were present Messer's A. Welle, C. Homewood, W. Bennett, W. and J. Parker, H. Pope, H. Goodsell, H. Murton, E. Carter, J. Whibley, &c.

 

Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 13 September 1901.

Licensed Victuallers convicted.

Frederick W. Moore, of the "Chequers," Biddenden, was charged with selling gin 3.91 below the legal limit, on 11th of July.

Defendant was fined 1 and 10s costs, and his licence was also endorsed.

Licensing business.

Superintendent Fowle stated that he opposed the "Chequers," Biddenden, on the grounds that five other tenants had a right of way
through the yard. The house, however, was well conducted.

Mr. Simpson (for the owners) stated that everything had been done to mitigate the abuse, but it was impossible to prevent the use of the yard by the adjoining owners.

The Bench granted a renewal of the licence subject to an endorsement as above.

 

The Chronicle and Courier, 16 September, 1921.

Lamberhurst Brewery Estate.

Important sale at Tunbridge Wells.

One of the biggest sales of licensed houses held in the provinces in recent years was conducted by Messrs. Wickenden and Sons at the Pump Room, Tunbridge Wells, on Friday, when the Lamberhurst Brewery Estate, comprising 68 lots, came Under the Hammer. The lots sold were:-

"Chequers," Biddenden 1,000

....

 

Kent & Sussex Courier, Friday 25 February 1972.

Mr. L. Brenchley.

Mr. Leslie Brenchley, landlord of the "Chequers" public house at Biddenden for the past 34 years died in the West Kent Hospital, Maidstone, on Sunday, aged 50.

Before moving to Biddenden to take over the "Chequers," Mr. Brenchley ran a successful haulage business in Yalding. He was president of Biddenden Football Club, a vice-president of the village cricket club and secretary of the "Chequers" darts club.

He leaves a widow, son and daughter and two grandchildren. The cremation service will be held tomorrow (Saturday) at Charing.

 

LICENSEE LIST

HARRIS John 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

WELLS Alfred 1832+

WEST William 1841+ (age 35 in 1841Census)

TOLHURST Thomas 1851+ (also farmer age 57 in 1851Census)

LAMBERT Robert to Mar/1852

SMITH G 1855+

BANFIELD Thomas 1858+

HUMPHRY John 1861+ (age 35 in 1861Census)

ELMSTONE Richard 1871+ (also farmer age 61 in 1871Census)

VANE John Henry 1881-82+ (age 25 in 1881Census)

CARR George 1891+ (age 50 in 1891Census)

FAIRHALL M to Jan/1898

MOORE Frederick W Jan/1898-1903+ (age 42 in 1901Census) Kelly's 1903

BEENHAM George John 1911+ (age 41 in 1911Census)

BROMLEY Edward 1913+

WRIGHT Frederick 1918+

Last pub licensee had HEWITT Walter 1922+

HEWETT Richard William 1930-40

BRENCHLEY Leslie 1938-Feb/72 dec'd

https://pubwiki.co.uk/Chequers.shtml

 

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

CensusCensus

Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903

 

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

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