Sort file:- Sevenoaks, January, 2023.

Page Updated:- Thursday, 12 January, 2023.


Earliest 1867

Elephant's Head

Closed 2009

104 Seal Road (Greatness 1876)


Elephant's Head 2008

Above photo 2008 by David Anstiss Creative Commons Licence.

Elephant's Head sign 1987Elephant's Head sign 1990

Above sign left, 1987, sign right, August 1990.

Elephant's Head sign 1992Elephants Head sign 2001

Above sign lest, June 1992, sign right 2001.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Elephant's Head sign 2002

Above sign 2002.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


Information taken from accessed 15 October 2020.

Elephants’ Heads and Tales.

Probably in 1867 (the earliest reference traced) a public house was built on Seal Road, Greatness, on land neighbouring Camden’s Wildernesse estate, and was named The Elephant’s Head in deference to the Camden family. (In fact the estate’s latest owner, George Charles Pratt, 2nd Marquess Camden, had died in 1866 and it was leased to Charles Mills {later Lord Hillingdon} who bought it in 1885).

The remarkable picture below (used courtesy of the Ed Thompson collection) was taken by local photographer Mr Fielder. The identity of the elephant is not known for certain, but it has been suggested that this more unusual visitor is Lizzie. Her tale is a sad one. Lizzie and the pony – her constant companion, Dannie – were owned by Tom Fossett who ran a circus which had its winter quarters in Lenham in Kent. At the start of the war in 1939, the circus stopped touring and the pair were sold to Sir Arthur Tyrwhitt-Drake, owner of Maidstone Zoo. When the circus came off the road it was in Wales and so the elephant, pony and keeper made the walk from Wales to Maidstone – pausing, appropriately, at The "Elephant’s Head." (Sevenoaks.) However the trek was too much for Lizzie. Little more than twelve months later she suffered a massive heart attack and died.

Elphant's Head 1939

A notice of auction of February 1868 stated that the pub was also an inn, with “a capital supply of good water”, four bedrooms, and stabling for three horses. The pub also hired out ponies, flys, traps and chaises – perhaps for the influx of visitors arriving by the new railroad at Bat and Ball station.

The pub closed in 2009 and the building is now a veterinary practice.

Former Elephant's Head 2016

Above Google image, July 2016.


From Kentish Chronicle 19 January 1867.


A Thorough good General Servant. Must understand plain cooking, washing, and ironing, and have a good character. Age about 22. Apply to Mrs. Rutter,

"Elephant's Head," Greatness, Sevenoaks.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 5 June 1874.

Sevenoaks Petty Sessions. Public House Cases.

Charles Checkland, landlord of the "Elephant's Head," was summoned for allowing beer to be drunk on the premises, during prohibited hours, on 26th April.

Mr. Dennis defended.

P.C. Holland, K.C.C., said that on the 1st inst., at about 12 o'clock, he visited the defendant's house, and in a stable at the rear he found two men. He saw one of them put something behind a basket, and on looking he found it was a quart pot full half full of beer. He asked them their names, and they refused to give them for some time.

In reply to Mr. Dennis, the constable said that it was the 1st May.

Mr. Dennis said that the policemen had sworn to a wrong date, and the Chairman said that was so, and the objections would be fatal.

The case was dismissed.


From Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser 17 June 1881.

Pony and Chaise to be let on hire on Moderate Terms.

Apply,- "Elephant's Head," Greatness, Sevenoaks.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 17 January 1941.


Donations were previously received to the amount totalling 29,060 0s. 4d.

Amounts included the following:-

8 1s. 6d. The "Elephant Inn," Sevenoaks per Mr. J H. Styles.

TOTAL 29,284 15s. 10d


The pub was closed between 2008 and 2018 and was then turned into the Sevenoaks Veterinary Practice.



CHECKLAND Charles 1871-74+ (age 50 in 1871Census) Kent and Sussex Courier

RUTTER Mrs 1876+

PEARCE George 1881+ (age 38 in 1881Census)

OWEN Emily T 1901+ (widow age 32 in 1901Census)

MASON Alice Mrs 1922+

STYLES John H 1930-41+

VAIA B 1988-90+

WELLS Emily to June/1902 Sevenoaks Chronicle

WELLS James June/1902+ Sevenoaks Chronicle

NOAKES Lewis William to Apr/1913 Sevenoaks Chronicle

MASON Herbert Apr/1913+ Sevenoaks Chronicle

MOODY ???? 1949-51



Sevenoaks ChronicleSevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser

Kent and Sussex CourierKent and Sussex Courier


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